Audi has unveiled its latest iteration of the A3 hatchback, designed to directly compete with industry giants like the BMW 1-series and Mercedes A-class. This fourth-generation A3, known internally as ‘8Y’, initially launched in 2020. The latest version brings an array of enhancements, including Audi’s most recent infotainment advancements, additional features, and a design influenced by the more performance-oriented S and RS models.

The exterior of the A3 sees significant updates, particularly at the front where Audi’s signature ‘single-frame’ grille sports a new mesh pattern. This is complemented by redesigned LED headlights and modified air intake vents. At the rear, the vehicle features updated tail lights and a more assertively styled bumper, giving it a sporty, almost hot hatch appearance.

The upcoming S3 variant, based on this new A3 and sharing components with Volkswagen’s Golf R, is also eagerly anticipated later in the year. It will boast an enhanced EA888 2-litre turbocharged engine, producing an impressive 328bhp and 310lb ft of torque. These upgrades enable the S3 to accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds. We’ve already driven the preproduction S3 and had a great time on the mountain roads of Oman!

For the standard A3 lineup, Audi is initially bypassing the three-cylinder 30 TFSI petrol model, beginning the range with the 35 TFSI instead. This variant utilises a mild-hybrid 1.5-litre engine with 148bhp, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The diesel offerings mirror this power output, derived from a 2-litre engine. Audi plans to introduce additional engine options, including a plug-in hybrid, later in the year.

The interior of the new A3 features a refreshed gear selector, fabric trim inlays, and a standard ambient lighting package that illuminates the doors and footwell. An optional enhanced interior lighting package offers a choice of 30 colours, controlled through the A3’s MMI infotainment system. This system includes a 10.1-inch touchscreen, DAB+ digital radio, and Audi’s virtual cockpit as standard. Additional features such as a navigation plus package and online app store functionality are available as options.

In a novel approach, Audi allows customers to activate certain features post-purchase, such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, high-beam assist, and dual-zone climate control. These can be enabled through monthly or yearly payment plans.

While UK pricing for the new A3 has yet to be announced, it is expected to be slightly higher than the current £28,600 Sport 35 TFSI model. With its sale date approaching, the new Audi A3 stands poised to make a significant impact in the competitive premium hatchback market.

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