New Audi A3: prices, specs and 2020 release date

The next-generation Audi A3 has been spotted undisguised ahead of its 2020 launch

The next generation Audi A3 is edging closer to launch. Our best look at the car yet came as our spy photographers caught the A3 completely undisguised during its ongoing development testing. The Volkswagen Golf, BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class rival will be officially unveiled soon, before going on sale in early-2020.

The latest spy shots reveal that the next A3 won’t undergo a dramatic design overhaul; instead Audi will focus on sharpening the hatchback’s look by adding a slimmer set of headlamps with new lighting signature, along with a new geometric grille like that seen on the recently updated A4 saloon. 

• Best hatchbacks to buy now 2019

Despite the rise of SUVs, including the recent expansion of Audi’s Q3 range with the new Q3 Sportback, the A3 will likely be offered again as a saloon to battle against the new Mercedes CLA. 

However, the three-door A3 looks almost certain to be dropped from the model’s line-up, following poor sales. In 2017, Audi produced 7,818 examples of the three-door A3, while 167,741 five-door A3 Sportbacks rolled off the production line at the brand’s Ingolstadt plant.

The new A3 will borrow its mechanicals from the new Volkswagen Golf, including the plug-in hybrid powertrain that’s lined up for the next Golf GTE. The Audi will also share the latest-generation Golf’s line-up of regular petrol engines, many of which will feature 12-volt and 48-volt mild-hybrid systems.

The previous A3 e-tron hybrid was dropped last November as a result of new WLTP emissions rules, but it will return to the fold with the fourth-generation model. It’ll be one of a new generation of VW Group plug-in hybrid models using the next evolution of the MQB platform, which could usher in plug-in hybrids with the battery capacity to unlock more than 40 miles of pure-electric running and claim around 150mpg economy under WLTP rules.

Audi also plans to reveal 12 pure-electric models by 2025, and a car the size of the A3 has already been confirmed as one of those products. However, the vehicle will be a model in its own right, pitched as a more upmarket alternative to the Volkswagen ID. 3 hatch and underpinned by the VW Group’s new MEB EV platform.

An A3 Cabriolet will arrive a few years into the new model’s lifespan, despite being a small seller. Another A3 Saloon looks likely, too, given its strong sales numbers, and Audi could even introduce a longer four-door coupe version of the A3, rivalling the new Mercedes CLA.

New 2019 Audi S3 caught on camera

Our spy photographers recently snapped an S3 prototype alongside an A3 mule during both models’ winter testing programme. The new S3 will sit towards the top of the upcoming A3 line-up, which ranges from an improved e-tron-badged plug-in hybrid to a fire-breathing RS model that will square up to the new 416bhp Mercedes-AMG A 45.

When it reaches the UK market in 2020, the new Audi S3 will act as a rival for the Mercedes-AMG A 35. We expect it to feature a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and four-wheel-drive. Power will probably be increased over the current car’s 296bhp, although the top speed is likely to remain the same, at a limited 155mph.

Our spied Audi S3 mule features a redesigned diffuser, a set of quad exhausts and a slightly reworked rear bumper. However, cosmetic revisions between this hot model and the standard car seem limited for the time being, so it’s possible that this mule is being used merely to test the new model’s powertrain.

Are you looking forward to seeing the new Audi A3? Let us know your thoughts below…

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