Audi’s compact range is set to get a shake-up when the next generation arrives in 2019 with the automaker pursuing a more upmarket style for the A3 range to help it fend-off challengers from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Britain’s Autocar reports the regular A3 hatch is tipped to lose its ‘Sportback’ moniker, with the new five-door to be simply called the A3. However the Sportback name won’t be retired, with a sexier ‘fastback’ model planned to run alongside the regular A3.
In the same way the A5 Sportback and A7 ranges are adapted from their donor A4 and A6 counterparts, the A3 range will be revised to include a regular five-door hatch, four-door sedan, and a new coupe-styled liftback model that retains five-door functionality with a sportier profile.
Audi is also set to ditch the three-door A3 globally due to falling demand, although Australian buyers won’t feel the impact of that decision with the local arm having discontinued the three-door A3 range in 2011.
The change of lineup is set to help Audi stabilise costs as the greater Volkswagen Group looks to reel in expenditure in the wake of the ongoing diesel emissions crisis, putting the slow-selling three-door out to pasture whilst creating a more solid defence for vehicles like Mercedes-Benz’ next generation compact range which will again include a CLA four-door coupe and A-Class five-door hatch while introducing a new A-Class sedan for the first time.
To help differentiate the three-variant range, Audi is likely to apply the same styling treatments to the new A3 liftback as the five-door A5 Sportback meaning a premium presentation through the use of frameless door glass, a lowered roof, and a higher price tag to position the new A3 Sportback as an aspirational product next to the regular five-door hatch.
The next-generation sedan is expected to change somewhat as well, with a longer wheelbase and larger boot on the cards to increase the compact sedan’s appeal in key markets like China, where rear seat accommodation is a major buyer priority.
Audi will also apply its growing range of electrified drivetrain technology to the new A3 range, with an emphasis on electrically-assisted hybrids and full EVs joining the A3’s roster of internal combustion engines.
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