What should have been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, Audi has finally released its new marquee hatchback; the A3.
Similar in style and size from the outside, Audi has gone against wholesale changes and instead turned its attention to making an already standout car even better.
At first glance, you may struggle to see what’s changed. But on closer inspection, you’ll find delicate tweaks which truly take the new A3’s styling up a notch.
A more imposing front grille compared to its predecessor, all-new front and rear headlights – which add a touch of aggression to the German hatchback – and sharper edging in the bodywork, which certainly makes the new Audi look a closer match in size to the Q2 than the previous A3.
And when you break out the old tape measure, you’ll see the all-new Audi A3 is a touch higher and wider compared to the older shape, albeit with no change to the wheelbase.
Other alterations include a range of new alloy wheel designs to choose from and more options from the colour palette.
Inside, however, Audi has been busy. They’ve done away with the somewhat dated revealing infotainment system in favour of a sleeker built-in touchscreen console to bring the A3 up to date with other models across the Audi range.
Elsewhere, a more minimalist look across the cabin exudes quality and simplicity, which is only exaggerated through the plethora of expensive fabrics that line the cockpit.
A more interesting discovery is Audi’s retention of the physical climate controls – going against the Volkswagen Group’s more touch-sensitive direction which can be seen in the new VW Golf, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon.
In the previous model, the interior was where the A3 fell down against some of its competitors. However, in this latest reincarnation, Audi has addressed that issue, challenging anything Mercedes-Benz, BMW or anyone else has to offer.
Thanks to the increase in height and width, the 2020 A3 offers those inside a little more space and gives the driver a new, lower driving position – emphasising further the sporty side of the German hatch.
In the boot, you’ll have between 380 and 1200 litres of space; 10 and 20 litres more than both the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and five-door BMW 1 Series respectively when the seats are up.
On launch, you’ll have the choice of two engines – a 1.5-litre petrol, which comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, and 2.0-litre diesel, which is automatic. Both produce around 148bhp.
In the near future, there’ll also be a DSG automatic option for the petrol and a mild-hybrid alternative to help extend your driving range.
Later down the line, we also expect to see a tuned-up over-300bhp S3 model hit the production lines as well as further petrol and diesel options, four-wheel drive and a plug-in hybrid alternative.
Hippo’s Verdict: The Audi A3
With the new A3, Audi has addressed any areas where the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and BMW 1 Series may have reigned superior in the past.
Its styling, both inside and out, is now class-leading, and when the greater range of engines and gearboxes become available, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Once again, it’s the final hatchback to be revealed by the big German trio; Audi, BMW and Mercedes. But this time it’s slightly different, as, on first glance, the A3 seems to have outdone them both.
But we’ll be sure when we get behind the wheel later in the year.
Stay up to date with the latest Audi news and offers on our social media channels.