Audi‘s next-generation A3 Sportback is expected to arrive sometime next year, followed by the four-door sedan version in 2020. The fact that the three-door body was getting ditched is pretty much all we knew about Ingolstadt’s upcoming Mercedes A-Class rival.
Thankfully, that changes effective immediately because of these spy images. While this all-new A3 prototype is extremely well camouflaged, a close inspection of the exterior reveals quite a few interesting nuggets.
The main one, of course is the fact that it features a quad-exhaust setup, which as you know, has so far been intended only for the S3 models. We reckon that the only reason why this doesn’t look as beefy as an S3 is because Audi “neglected” to strap on sportier body parts such as the chunky rear diffuser or the larger wheels.
There is indeed an aggressive front spoiler hiding underneath the camo, although those can be had on S Line models too. Bottom line, this is likely the 2020 Audi S3.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Words to live by, especially if you’re an Audi A3 designer. It wouldn’t be overstating it to say that the next-gen A3/S3 Sportback is going to look quite a lot like the current model.
See what we mean? Nearly identical form factor, window line and side mirrors. And yet, you also don’t need to use too much imagination in order to see what’s changed. For starters, the roofline slopes downwards towards the rear, more so than on the current A3 Sportback.
Then there’s the shoulder line which is a little bit straighter than before. There also seems to be less of an indent in the profile design, pointing to more of a flush exterior aesthetic, similar to what Mercedes have done with their latest A-Class.
Put two and two together and we can say we’re looking at a slightly more stylish design for the A3 Sportback, which should definitely help it in its fight against its direct rivals..
Then there’s the tech
There’s little chance Audi won’t strap as much advanced technology as possible to the next-gen A3 Sportback, or at least enough so that it emerges as a segment leader. To that extent, safety, convenience and connectivity systems currently found on the likes of the A7 or A8 could trickle down to the A3.
As for what the overall design of the dashboard might look like, that’s still a big question mark. Right now, all we can see is the semblance of an Audi A7 steering wheel – judging by its bottom dual-spoke design.
Are we getting a full electric version?
This is another big question that needs answering. We know to expect a wide range of petrol and diesel units, however, it’s the e-tron version that might turn out to be the most interesting one. Realistically speaking though, it might be too soon for a fully-electric compact hatchback, which means a hybrid is more likely, at least in the coming years.
Then there’s the S3 version, which will probably put down a little bit more than the current model’s 310 PS (305 HP). Same goes for the RS3 – expect more than 400 PS (394 HP).
When can I order one?
Best case scenario, sometime next year, as long as you’re happy with the 5-door Sportback styling. Once the new A3 does go on sale, it will have to battle the likes of the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1-Series, as well as Volvo’s next-generation V40 hatchback, currently under development.
Update: We’ve added another batch of images depicting the regular A3 Sportback to the gallery below. That car can be seen without its sporty sibling’s quad-exhaust tailpipes.