Audi’s new rival to the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will arrive here later this year.

CLASSIER AND more tech-laden than before, the new 2021 fourth-generation Audi A3 has been unveiled.

Eight years since the third-generation car was first with us, the new model rides on an updated Evo version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. Familiar in design but adopting a larger grille, fascia and sharp MAtrix LED headlights, the new Audi hatch and sedan will land in Australia later this year to contend in the premium small passenger car segment.

Vehicles will arrive in Europe soon with a McPherson strut front and torsion beam rear-end suspension setup in entry models, while upper grades and cost-option packs bring a multi-link rear-end and adaptive dampers, including 15mm lower sports dampers. This is before we step up to hotter models such as the S3 and RS3 which are yet to be detailed.

Standard engine options in the A3 include a 1.5-litre petrol producing 110kW; 85kW and 110kW 2.0L diesels; and hybrid and plug-in hybrid options to come, all driving either the front or all-four wheels with Audi’s Quattro system. Higher up the range, the AWD S3 is expected to deliver around 225kW and 400Nm, and the (likely five-pot) RS3 will need to be near 300kW to compete with the Mercedes-AMG A45 S hot hatch.

2021 Audi A3 interior

Inside, the cabin features a shift in design to Audi’s new standard, with long horizontal air vents and an integrated twin-screen display. The latter incorporates either a 10.25- or 12.3- inch fully-digital driver’s display cluster with a 10.1-inch central infotainment system that touts “computing power ten times higher than that of its predecessor”. It has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and cellular data for things like hybrid DAB radio, satellite map imagery, and car-to-X services which can find free parking spaces and check traffic reports on the fly. There’s also a colour head up display available.

On the tech side, active safety will also be boosted with the latest Audi pre sense system, including swerve assist, lane departure warning, lane change and exit warnings, adaptive cruise, cross-traffic and park assist systems.

Growing slightly – 30mm longer and wider – interior dimensions increase and the boot brings 380-litres of space without a spare under the floor. Materials in the cabin include environmentally conscious options such as seat upholstery made of recycled PET bottles, along with usual leather cladding.

Australia will see the new, fourth-generation A3 land in dealership later this year.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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