WORLD PREMIERE: 2020 Audi A3 Sportback — Fourth Time’s the Charm?

Since 1996, the Audi A3 has been one of the best everyday hatchbacks on the market, bringing a premium feel to a normally pragmatic segment. So this new fourth-generation A3 has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it seems like this new 2020 Audi A3 Sportback is going to be the best of them.


While it isn’t radically different looking, it is better looking than before and it’s sportier looking than ever. It has a very aggressive front end, with a massive Singleframe grille, angular headlights and large front air intakes (which we hope are real). Its back end is sharp looking, too, with slim taillights and flared rear wheel arches.


The best part of the new Audi A3’s design is its flanks, though. Down the sides of the car, it gets a sharp shoulder line and muscular, sculpted fender flares. Its looks far more butch and brawny than before, giving it more character than it’s ever had. In fact, this could be the best looking A3 yet. So while it’s not a massive leap forward in terms of design, every little design change adds up to make a far better looking package than the previous gen.


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Inside, the 2020 Audi A3 Sportback is very familiar for anyone that’s driven the new Audi Q3. It has a similar dash layout as its crossover sibling, though it’s sharper and more angular and it has air vents that flank the Virtual Cockpit. Also, its climate controls are a bit different than the Q3’s, using buttons rather than dials, but they’re still physical and not built into a touchscreen.


Virtual Cockpit and Audi’s new Touch Response MMI system remain, though, and look as good as usual. Those two combined give the A3 one of the most tech-forward cabins on the market, even if it does face some tough competition from the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sand BMW 1 Series.


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Side note: Audi gets credit for using an A3 with a manual gearbox for its press photos. Even if the actual gear knob is a bit weird looking. Kudos, Audi.


At market launch, the 2020 Audi A3 Sportback will come with either a 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine or a 2.0 liter turbocharge four-cylinder diesel engine. The former will make 114 hp and the latter will make 147 hp. Both engines will have either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to choose from. Front-wheel drive is standard and the only option for now but all-wheel drive will roll out soon.


While those are the only two engines available at market launch, more are on the way, including a plug-in hybrid variant.

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As for its suspension, the new Audi A3 will now get a four-link rear suspension on models with the 2.0 liter engine and up. Adaptive suspension is optional and lowers the ride height 10mm, while a sport suspension is also optional and lowers the body 15mm.


We’re very excited about the all-new 2020 Audi A3 Sportback. Admittedly, we’re also a bit sad, as it won’t make it to the US market. We’ll have to wait for the A3 Sedan to be released, which will be the only A3 model sold in the ‘States. Still, the Sportback should be an excellent premium hatchback for the European market an we can’t wait to see how it stacks up against the 1 Series and A-Class moving forward.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.