Mike Stevens | Feb 23, 2012

Here it is, the next generation of Audi's volume-selling A3 hatch. Leaked online by Russian website ZR.ru, these latest images follow a run of concepts, spy photos and in-car display models.

Shown here in three-door form, sitting on Audi's familiar five-spoke RS wheels, the new A3's styling follows in the treads of its recent siblings.

Up front, the brand's new stepped headlight design and hexagonal grille makeover are the standout features, while the profile reveals a simple body-long character line and an angular roof and pillar design.

The theme continues at the rear, with the new A3's taillights and tailgate drawing their look from the A6 Avant wagon.

Like its more affordable Volkswagen stablemates, the design recipe in the Audi line-up continues to focus on uniformity and a "recognisably Audi" language. It's a sharp look, however: Audi's customers will not be disappointed with the evolution.

Technical details remain a secret for now, although it is known that the new A3 is built on Audi's MLB version of the Volkswagen Group's versatile new MQB platform, which will soon sit under everything from the A1, through to the A6.

Under the bonnet, expect a selection of 1.4 to 2.0 litre petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines, along with a more powerful option in the eventual S3 range-topper.

Watch for more details at next month's Geneva Motor Show.

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