GRR

The new Audi A3 is making its way to Geneva

07th February 2020
Bob Murray

It looks a bit like a patched-up repair from a particularly ropy bodyshop, but be assured there’s an all-new Audi A3 lurking underneath this distinctive black and white camo. That disguise comes off in just a few weeks’ time when this important hatchback newcomer has its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on 3rd March.

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This is the fourth instalment in the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform renewal. It started with the VW Golf Mk8 and, in Geneva, will be joined by the new Seat Leon and new Škoda Octavia. They all make for quite a family, with the new Audi taking up position at the top of the tree as a premium rival for the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series.

The new platform architecture is slightly bigger than before so we can perhaps expect a bit more room inside, as much perhaps as the A3 Sportback offers. There’s sure to be a new Sportback but it’s the hatch that’s shown here.

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The Golf 8, the only one of the group that has been driven so far, has had an enthusiastic reception for its all-round capabilities plus all-digital cockpit, suggesting that in Audi’s hands the new MQB A3 will be a contender able to regain ground lost recently to rivals like the Merc A-Class.

The cars shown here are all Quattro versions, showing how keen Audi will be to push the top versions of the new A3. As well as the latest all-wheel-drive system, with its electro-hydraulic multi‑plate clutch to distribute torque, the top versions are in line for adaptive dampers and progressive steering. This latter feature uses both variable ratio and variable assistance to combine agility with easy manoeuvring. At its most direct, it has a brisk 2.5 turns between locks.

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The cabin is sure to be a tech feast with big screens and touch controls, more autonomous driving features are likely and of course expect driver aids such as adaptive cruise assist, collision avoidance assist and park assist along with Audi’s signature matrix LED lights.

What will it look like? It’s clear that under the black and white patchwork camo is a car very much in the traditional A3 mould (although the car in the very light camo is badged ‘S3’), albeit one fronted by the latest Audi family grille. But as ever for Audi expect styling details, trim, materials and the level of finish to be deeply impressive.

  • Audi

  • A3

  • S3

  • Geneva Motor Show

  • Geneva 2020

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