It was 1996 when the compact C-segment, called Audi A3, debuted on the market with the first generation. 24 years have passed, millions of units sold and today we have reached the fourth generation, which definitively abandons the three-door version proposing exclusively the Audi A3 Sportback 2020. Let’s find out, after having touched it with our hand in our first contact, what are the novelties of the exterior and interior, what are the engines.
Aesthetically, the new Audi A3 2020 follows the path indicated in the previous generation, without particular distortions, even if there is some unusual element. This can be seen by observing the play of lines, with new stylistic elements such as the lateral line of the bodywork, which “unites” the front and rear light clusters. Speaking of lighting, the luminous signature offers the new Audi Matrix LEDs (not standard) on the top of the range, which vary their appearance according to the version, which are combined with dynamic direction indicators and spectacular luminous compositions when opening and closing of the car.
Staying at the front, the honeycomb grid with hexagonal single frame is predominant on the muzzle, a trait that helps to give sportiness to the front with large square air intakes, another novelty in a sporty key. In the rear area, the roof spoiler with a marked longitudinal development, the rear lights without overhangs, the extractor and the trapezoidal exits of the exhausts emphasize the car’s footprint. The rims range from 16 to 19 inches with tires that reach 235.
The length is 4.34 meters and the width also increases by 3 cm (1.82 meters without mirrors), improving the space for passengers. Height of 1.43 and wheelbase of 2.64 m (unchanged), complete the dimensions of the new Audi A3 Sportback 2020, which is proposed in a slightly sportier guise, even if very faithful to itself and to the family feeling of the Four rings.
Note the presence of the many closed air intakes and, above all, the beautiful rigorously fake exposed tailpipes. There are 12 colors of the Audi A3, including the brand new atoll blue, python yellow, turbo blue and Manhattan gray.
Looking at the interior of the new Audi A3 Sportback 2020, the Black Panel look is taken up both on the dashboard and on the console, and emphasizes the elegance of the dashboard, while new are the door release handles and the automatic gearbox selector, which incorporates that of the Golf, offers the hyper compact shift by wire selector on the central tunnel.
Another novelty is given by the movement of the side vents on the sides of the standard 10.25” digital instrument panel (the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit combined with the MMI Plus system is not standard) and can be customized as desired.
At the center of the dashboard dominates on all versions the 10.1″ touch screen which blends into the glossy black frame in the center of the dashboard and offers the new Mib 3 infotainment, 10 times more efficient than the previous one and capable of offering, but not immediately, the voice assistant “Hey Audi” and Amazon Alexa. Both the screen and the climate control panel are slightly oriented towards the driver for better readability.
As regards the seats, the A3 Sportback also proposes a green solution for the saddlery, obtained by recycling plastic PET bottles. The diffuse lighting that frames the entire dashboard and the door panels is very scenic, although it must be said that the materials in the lower part of the passenger compartment are all made of hard-to-touch plastics, which previously did not happen.
Overall, the combinations are still up to a premium car and the space on board has also increased for the rear passengers, as well as for the head of the front ones.
Finally, the trunk of the Audi A3 Sportback offers a capacity between 380 and 1200 liters, in line with most of the competition, but not too generous. The load threshold is not too high and the shape is regular.
Three engines are initially dedicated to the fourth generation of the compact four-ring engine: 35 TFSI with the 1.5 turbo petrol engine of 150 HP, 30 and 35 TDI with the 2.0 turbo Diesel with a power of 116 or 150 HP. The entry level, on the other hand, is represented by the 110 TFSI 1.0 CV (30 TFSI).
The traditional 1.5 petrol is also flanked by the 1.5 TFSI with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, capable of slightly reducing fuel consumption (-0.4 l / 100 km), giving a slight electric boost, activating the start and stop as early as 22 km / h and stop the engine while sailing at a speed between 40 and 160 km / h. In the future a new Diesel version (40 TDI 2.0 190 HP quattro drive), the 30 g-tron with the 1.5 turbo-CNG 131 HP and the 1.4 TFSI plug-in hybrid in two power levels, 204 and 245 HP will arrive. Obviously, the sporty S3 Sportback will also arrive.
Initially sold only with the front-wheel drive configuration, the quattro all-wheel drive will arrive, while for the transmission you can choose between a 6-speed manual transmission or an automatic S tronic 7-speed double clutch.
If you talk about A3, very often you also talk about the renowned 2.0 TDI with 150 HP and 360 Nm of torque (from 1,600 to 2,750 rpm), one of the most chosen combinations. This engine is now combined exclusively with the S tronic gearbox, the well-known double clutch from the VW group. With this engine, the A3 Sportback goes from 0 to 100 km / h in 8.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 224 km / h.
The S Line version we tested is equipped with all the sportier features such as the sports set-up, which offers a more rigid setting of springs and shock absorbers, with a reduced height of 15 mm from the ground (there is also an optional electronic control system). To this is added the Audi drive select, moreover, it is not only the driving modes (comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual) that are selected but also the engine delivery, the calibration of the S tronic gearbox and the steering as well as the setting of the adjustable shock absorbers (if any).
The result is a car that is at ease in the city, with not too rigid suspension, with a soft but fairly direct steering, and a docile and intuitive gearbox. Out of the urban context, leaving in auto mode or putting in dynamic, the A3 Sportback is able to sharpen, thanks to the set-up, the steering that becomes stiffer and heavier and the gearbox, more lightning-fast and manageable to the maximum of its possibilities with the paddle behind the wheel. Staying on the steering, overall one might prefer something even more direct and, above all, communicative, even if for the use that the A3 Sportback has in this engine the calibration is more than correct.
Speaking of trim, in front we find a McPherson, while behind, if the power exceeds 150 HP, as in our case, the rear axle is a multilink. The result is a car that is fun to drive and pleasant to test in a tight mix, where it is well balanced and responsive. The understeer is very scarce and the sound of the 4-cylinder turbo Diesel is almost pleasant. The prerequisites for the S3 sports version are certainly good, even if we expect even more involvement in driving and a more “bad” car than in the past.
Furthermore, at highway speeds the car consumes little and is rather silent, as well as being well assisted (not everything is standard) in driving. If the parking assistant independently manages the maneuvers entering and exiting the parking spaces, the Audi pre sense front prevents collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, and the collision avoid assist. There is also standard assistance for lane maintenance, while on request, other technologies are available such as lane change assistance, exit advice and adaptive cruise assist (up to 210 km / h and with stop-go).
The 35 TDI is also a certainty on the consumption front, with an approved figure in the WLTP cycle that ranges from 4.5 to 5.1 l / 100 km.