New fourth-gen Audi A3 Sedan grows bigger, tech-ier, and looks like it will give the A-Class Saloon and BMW 2 Gran Coupe a tough fight
SINGAPORE – The fourth-gen Audi A3 will be launching in Singapore in late 2021, says Audi, and that will include the Sportback (five-door hatch) and the four-door Sedan model.
The Audi A3 Sedan is/was one of the most popular Audi models here, and it’s best-selling four-door for some very clear reasons: Singaporeans love luxury cars that don’t cost the sky, they love sedans, and they prefer to buy less-powerful Certificate of Entitlement (COE) Category A cars.
Our test drive of the 2014 Audi A3 (the current-gen model shown above, beofre its facelift in 2017) explains why it was good enough to become a popular choice.
We’ve already delivered an in-depth report on the new 2021 Audi A3 Sportback below, which has become more spacious, gained lots of technology both inside and under the bonnet.
That all applies to the sedan as well, so that story is well worth a read if you’re more interested in the four-door (this is Singapore, we know you are).
Visually, the front end resembles the new face of the small Audis, first seen on the Q3 SUV, with new downwards-slanted headlights (shown with Matrix LED tech, though unconfirmed for Singapore) with an extra bump on the outside, and the Audi Singleframe grille flanked by angular, tall air intake sections. There’s also the figure lines on the bonnet that give the car a forward-aiming character, like the A5 Coupe.
From the rear the sedan resembles the facelifted A4 at first glance, though its taillamps have an additional facet and appear more jewel-like. The car’s flanks are extra sculpted – see the pushed out fenders and angular character lines above each wheel. When Audi amps up the styling for the inevitable S3 and RS 3 models, it’ll look pretty badass.
It’s certainly more modern and sporty looking than the A-Class Saloon, which aims for the more classical Mercedes elegance that (in our opinion) doesn’t work as well on smaller sedans.
The car’s dimensions have increased overall: At 4,500mm long, 1,820mm wide, and 1,430mm tall, it’s 40mm longer, 20mm wider, and 10mm taller.
Notably the wheelbase remains the same, at 2,637mm. That is a small cause for concern, as the limited legroom of the current model we noted was one of its drawbacks, and smaller than the Mercedes’ 2,729mm, and closer, but still shorter, compared to the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe at 2,670mm.
At least the cockpit has plenty of wow to drown out the (potential) cries of the rear seat occupants. Like the new Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia (all of these cars run VW Group’s MQB platform), the cockpit loses the gearshifter entirely (there’s a manual version, but it’s very unlikely to be sold here) thanks to shift-by-wire controlling the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The cockpit displays consist of the 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit instrument panel and a 10.1-inch Audi MMI Touch infotainment system. Like the Q3, the latter is high-mounted and looks to be within easy reach, with AC controls and more spanning the rows of buttons below.
Powering the car is a 1.5-litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine. In European spec it makes 150hp, has cylinder deactivation technology and a 48V mild hybrid system which adds a 50Nm torque boost from the e-motor.
This exact model may or may not come to Singapore as we’ve seen with the Q3, which has the same 1.5-litre engine, but was launched here with the older 1.4-litre engine without cylinder deactivation tech, though with the same horsepower.
Audi says there are two gasoline engines for Europe, though it doesn’t mention the other power unit, we’re fairly certain it’s the 1.0-litre turbo unit that already powers the current A3 Sedan on sale now, and the A1 Sportback compact hatchback.