Audi has revealed its comprehensively refreshed A3 range, with the German luxury automaker's volume-selling small hatch and sedan set to receive substantial cosmetic and mechanical upgrades when it arrives locally at the end of this year.
Sheetmetal remains mostly unchanged, but the A3 update sports fresh bumper and lamp designs at front and rear. The sawtooth motif of the headlamps are a particularly noticeable change, and echo those of the new A4 sedan.
The S3 Sportback and S3 sedan get a more aggressive bodykit, while the eco-friendly A3 g-tron and A3 e-tron receive a slipperier set of bumpers.
There's also a multitude of new wheel designs ranging in size from 16-inch to 19-inches, and Audi's Matrix LED headlamps have finally trickled down to become optional on the A3.
Inside, certain models gain Audi's "virtual cockpit" reconfigurable LCD instrument panel, which gives the driver access to numerous infotainment functions - as well as a full-screen sat nav display - without having to use the central infotainment screen.
A 7-inch retractable infotainment display continues to be standard with three grades of Audi's MMI infotainment software available - two with sat-nav, one with touchpad input - while internet-enabled functions such as Google map and traffic data are also available.
Like the bigger A4, Audi has also upgraded the A3's infotainment package with the addition of the "Audi Smartphone Interface", which brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring for compatible phones. An inductive-loop phone charging pad also features.
A new three-spoke steering wheel further updates the A3's interior look and can be optionally heated, while an optional driver's seat with massage function offers big-car luxury in a small-car package.
The big news under the bonnet is the arrival of a 81kW/200Nm 1.0 litre turbo three-cylinder, the first triple-piston engine ever fitted to the A3. With so little engine mass, the A3 1.0 TFSI weighs in at just 1150kg making it the lightest vehcile in its class.
A new entry-level 1.6 litre diesel engine also joins the bottom of the A3 range with 81kW of power and a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The 1.8 TFSI engine has been replaced by a 2.0 litre turbo petrol unit, boasting 8kW more power boost and a massive 40Nm of extra torque, fora total of 140kW and 320Nm.
Peak torque is spread between 1500-4200rpm, promising enhanced tractability over the outgoing 1.8 TFSI. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox also replaces the 1.8's six-speed dual-clutch, bringing performance and efficiency benefits
The 1.4 TFSI petrol engine continues unchanged with 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque.
Meanwhile the S3 sedan, cabriolet and Sportback gain an additional 3kW of power and 20Nm of torque, with Audi boosting that model's outputs to 213kW and 400Nm. However, Audi doesn't mention what effect that has on the car's straight-line peformance.
The A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid continues as part of the range, with a 110kW/250Nm 1.4 litre petrol engine and a 75kW/330Nm electric motor, offering the ability to drive emissions-free on an 8.8 kWh battery pack that can be charged in just over two hours.
Updates for the top-dog RS3 have yet to be announced, though the arrival of an RS3 sedan variant is anticipated.
Audi will bring the updated A3 range to local showrroms in the fourth quarter of 2016, with prices, features and specifications to be announced closer to launch.
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