The 2021 Audi A3 sedan has finally broken cover about one month after its hatchback sibling was unveiled in Europe.
The new Audi A3 hatch and sedan are due in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021 respectively, unless factory shutdowns during COVID-19 lockdowns delay those plans.
In addition to adopting the Audi A3 hatchback's bold lines, the Audi A3 sedan will also share engines and technology.
Under the skin is the same, updated version of the Volkswagen Group’s familiar MQB modular architecture.
Exterior dimensions are 4.5 metres long, 1.82 metres wide and 1.43 metres high, making the new model around 40mm longer, 20mm wider and 10mm taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase remains unchanged at 2636mm.
The result is an additional 20mm of headroom for front passengers and increased elbow room for those in both front and rear seats.
However, the outgoing model’s 425-litre boot capacity remains unchanged – 40 litres more than the hatch, but 5 litres less than the competing BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.
Design-wise the new Audi A3 sedan has a more distinctive, coupe-like appearance than its predecessor, with a look clearly influenced by the 2021 Audi A3 hatch unveiled in March.
Aside from the obvious changes at the rear and the addition of a boot, the hatch’s flared wheel arches – officially known as ‘quattro blisters’ – carry across to the 150mm-longer sedan body, as do the bold side body lines, ‘Singleframe’ hexagonal front grille and LED front and rear lighting package.
A higher rear end compared to the previous model, active grille shutters, aerodynamically-optimised mirrors and a large rear diffuser all combine to enable a drag coefficient of just 0.25Cd, or 0.04Cd less than both the related five-door hatch and the outgoing Audi A3 sedan. However, while impressive, it fails to match the slippery 0.22Cd figure claimed by rival Mercedes-Benz’s A-Class Sedan.
Inside, the new Audi A3 sedan’s cabin is virtually identical to that of the hatch,, featuring the same 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen integrated neatly into the dashboard, and the option of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (a 10.25-inch digital unit is fitted as standard).
Available interior comfort and connectivity features include leather trim, ambient LED lighting, satellite navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, DAB+ digital radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring capability.
The range of safety technologies on offer in the new A3 Sedan is equally plentiful. The list includes autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree camera.
Also available is Car-to-X, a system debuted on the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf allowing Car-to-X-equipped vehicles to communicate with each other within an 800 metre radius to share crucial information on hazards ahead and traffic conditions.
In Europe, two engines – both turbocharged four-cylinders, one petrol, one diesel – will initially be offered with the Audi A3 sedan.
The entry-level engine is the ‘35 TFSI’, a 1.5-litre petrol developing 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque. Drive is sent exclusively to the front wheels through a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.
The automatic comes standard with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which recovers energy during deceleration, improves acceleration at low speeds and allows the car to coast with the engine switched off in certain situations. The result is a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres in everyday motoring, Audi claims.
European customers looking for a more economical choice will be able to opt for the ‘35 TDI’, a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel sending 110kW and 360Nm to the front wheels through a seven-speed auto.
All models at launch are fitted with MacPherson struts up front and multi-link suspension at the rear. Fixed, comfort-tuned dampers are fitted as standard, though sports suspension and adaptive dampers can be had as an option which, if the hatch is any indication, will lower the Audi A3 sedan’s ride height by 15mm and 10mm respectively.
A range of drive modes will also be on offer, which alter the throttle response, steering weight and, if optioned, the adaptive dampers’ stiffness, depending on the driver’s preferences.
Audi has confirmed a less powerful petrol option will join the European range later in the year. While not officially confirmed by the German carmaker, it’s expected that more powerful and more frugal engines will join the lineup in the coming months – including a plug-in hybrid, and Audi S3 and Audi RS3 performance variants – alongside the option of ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive.
Audi Australia has confirmed the new A3 sedan will join the local lineup in the first half of 2021, joining the five-door hatchback that’s set to touch down before the end of 2020. Local pricing, engine options, and specifications will be announced closer to launch.