Updated Audi A3 revealed with more power, tech

Audi’s entry-level model in the United States, the A3, has come in for a mid-cycle update.

The current-generation A3 still seems like it only arrived yesterday, but the car actually made its debut overseas in 2012 so is now at the midway point in its life cycle—and in Audi tradition that means it’s time for an update.

The changes made to the A3 are significant as they include not only exterior styling tweaks but also new tech features in the cabin and even some new powertrains. Currently we only have details on the European model but specifications for the United States should be released soon.

The big news is the addition of Audi’s latest turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. This engine already features in the 2017 A4. In the A3 the output is capped at 190 horsepower and 236 pound-feet. Those seeking more oomph can upgrade to the S3 which features the same engine but a more potent 310 hp and 295 lb-ft.

And for the eco-minded, there’s still the A3 e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrid which combines a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cyilnder with an electric motor to produce a peak 204 hp and 258 lb-ft. The electric-only range of this model as rated by the EPA is 16 miles. While the updated A3 will continue to offer diesel powertrains overseas it’s not clear if such an option will be available here as Audi’s Volkswagen Group parent is yet to provide regulators with a solution for its diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Also new to the updated A3 range is a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission in place of the previous 6-speed unit. A 6-speed manual transmission remains the standard option, though. Drive is to the front wheels as standard but all-wheel drive continues to be available.

You’ll be able to spot the updated A3 thanks to new lights at both ends and a more pronounced grille. There are also five new colors to choose from as well as new wheel patterns. The wheel sizes range from 16 to 19 inches in diameter.

In the cabin, Audi has added its digital instrument cluster, likely as an option. A second screen sits at the top of the dash and forms the heart of the car’s infotainment system. Audi has also updated the menu system of the infotainment system, known as MMI, so that it now operates more like a smartphone. Inputs are mostly done via a rotary dial located near the gear lever.

The digital instrument cluster isn’t the only new tech being offered on the updated A3. The car also gets some electronic driver aids including lane departure and cross traffic warning, automatic braking and a traffic jam assistant that works at speeds of up to 40 mph. Models overseas also get Audi’s Matrix LED headlights that enable you to leave your high beams permanently on. To avoid blinding other drivers, camera-based systems detect oncoming vehicles and actively block out parts of the light beam.

Sales of the updated A3 commence overseas this summer. Availability in the U.S. will be announced at a later date.

For more on the Audi A3, read the in-depth reviews over at The Car Connection.


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