Audi Could Be Working On CLA-Rivaling A3 Liftback Coupe

The Audi A3 lineup could gain a new body style in the form of a five-door liftback to challenge the likes of the second-gen Mercedes-Benz CLA and upcoming BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe.

The new Audi A3 variant is expected to arrive in 2020 according to Autocar, and probably receive the Sportback nameplate, keeping in line with the larger Audi A5 Sportback and despite the same name being used on the five-door hatchback version of the A3.

Expected to measure more than 4,400 mm (173 in) in length, or some 330 mm (13 in) less than the Audi A5 Sportback, the A3 Sportback/Liftback will be powered by the usual four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, in lesser flavors. Thus, the 1.4-liter gasoline burner and the 2.0-liter diesel burner are believed to be part of the offering, albeit combined with a 48V electric system to form mild-hybris.

Electrified models said to join the four-wheel drive Audi Sport versions

The German car maker could launch an S3 version as well, with the 2.0-liter four-banger making over 300 PS (296 hp / 221 kW) combined with four-wheel drive, as an answer to the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

However, the true range-topping version is going to be the RS3, which will rival cars like the AMG CLA 45, featuring a revised version of the 2.5-liter five-banger unit rated at more than 400 PS (394 hp / 294 kW).

In addition to the usual ICE-powered derivatives, the Audi A3 Sportback/Liftback might gain a PHEV powertrain too, with a zero-emission range of up to 50 km (31 miles). A battery-powered version, underpinned by the VW Group’s MEB platform, could also be in the works.

Said to have been described by Audi insiders as the spiritual successor of the classic Sport Quattro, the sleek five-door coupe version of the A3 will probably gain a few special styling touches in this direction. So, a vented bonnet, flared wheel arches and special bumpers, could do the trick for it.

Note: Audi A3 Saloon pictured

more photos...
  • Ben

    We’re calling them “liftbacks” now?! We honestly need to come together and review the nomenclature in the automotive industry….its getting out of hand.

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      Hatchback, sportback, liftback, I’llbeback.
      How many names do they need for a type of body?

      • Ben

        This guy sees the problem.

    • Dude

      It’s a good differentiator. A hatchback is something like a Golf or Fit with a more vertical rear. A sportback/liftback has a sloping roofline like a Stinger or Model S.

      • Ben

        Just call them sedans. Believe me, nobody is going to confuse an A7 with a GTI. In my opinion, there isn’t a functional difference to require the distinction between a sedan and “liftback”.

        • Dude

          Liftbacks have slightly larger cargo areas because there’s no partition between the trunk area and the seats (no shelf under the rear window, larger opening when seats are folded down). And it’s easier to get things into the larger opening made by the hatch.

          Since it’s often hard to tell that such cars have a hatch at a glance (like the Buick Regal or 4 series gran coupe), automakers use the term to help people. You could call all cars with a hatch hatchbacks, but americans don’t like hatchbacks very much so that’s the other reason for these new terms. It’s half marketing and half function.

  • Zandit75

    So the TT 4dr rumour got canned, they’re now trying to apply the same rumour to a liftback A3??!!

  • eb110americana

    I really want to like the A3/S3/RS3. In person, it looks pretty sharp from the rear. But I really want the styling to be less jelly bean in the front. That said, a Sportback model could be just the right flavor, especially with some actual shape to the nose.

  • Miknik

    Of course they are; Mercedes has the CLA, BMW is already testing the 2 series Gran Coupe hatchback, so naturally they will copy a niche as soon as it is successful and occupied by their competition…

    • Audi isn’t jumping on niche market as it sometimes should.

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