2020 Audi A3 family hatchback: everything we know so far

Audi's family hatchback will get plug-in hybrid power, a high-tech interior and a range of new bodystyles...

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Darren Moss
1 Nov 2019 09:00

On sale: Early 2020 | Price from: £26,000 (est)

The current Audi A3 has the sort of enduring appeal that would make most other brands jealous. It was our Car of the Year in 2013, and six years later is still counted among the best family cars you can buy, with a five-star verdict on our road test. Even among newer rivals including the Mercedes A-Class and the upcoming BMW 1 Series, the A3 can more than hold its own. So when it comes to a replacement, Audi had better get it right.

And Audi certainly has plenty of fighting talk about its new A3, aiming to make car the most technically advanced model in its class when sales begin early next year. To do that, Audi will give the A3 a high-tech interior, improved refinement and lighter underpinnings designed to improve agility. 

The new Audi A3 is one of 12 cars nominated for the 2020 What Car? Reader Award. To see all of the contenders and have your say on which is most exciting, just head over to the voting site.

The new A3 will also be slightly larger in all dimensions than the car it replaces, including having more space between its front and rear wheels in a bid to improve passenger and luggage space.

The car’s development hasn’t been without its hurdles, though – indeed, the A3’s launch is understood to have been delayed by more than a year due to the fallout surrounding the Volkswagen Group’s Dieselgate scandal. As well as that, Audi decided to focus on developing its electric model range ahead of the A3’s arrival.

Audi Q3 35 TFSI Sport

2020 Audi A3 interior

Inside, the new A3 will borrow its dashboard layout and design from the current Q3 family SUV. Expect to see an upgraded version of Audi’s now-familiar Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster, as well as plenty of connected features and advanced self-driving capabilities. In real terms, that means the new A3 should at the very least be able to tell you the price of fuel at petrol stations in your area, and control its own lane position, acceleration and braking on the motorway.

2020 Audi A3 Saloon

2020 Audi A3 engines

The new A3 will be offered with both mild and plug-in hybrid engine options, as well as conventional petrol and diesel units. Petrol options will include a 1.5-litre engine in both 128bhp and 148bhp forms, with a more powerful 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol further up the range. Both petrol engines will be mild hybrids, and will be able to offer small bursts of electric assistance for the engine, meaning you can get up to speed faster while also saving fuel.

The diesel engine line-up will feature a 2.0-litre engine in three states of tune, with power outputs ranging from 134bhp to 201bhp. Diesel versions of the new A3 could also be mild hybrids, receiving a new starter/generator system designed to improve fuel consumption by around 10% compared with today’s car. Expect a plug-in hybrid variant to arrive soon after launch, with an electric range of at least 30 miles.

A new all-electric A3 E-tron is also planned, and will borrow technology used on the larger E-tron electric SUV. For reference, that car managed a range of 196 miles on our Real Range tests.

Gearbox options will be a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic. A selection of engines will also be available with Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system.

2020 Audi A3 model range

2020 Audi A3 model range

The new A3 will only be available as a five-door hatchback initially, with no three-door version due. That means the current A3 Cabriolet will not be replaced, either, but there are a number of new A3 models on the way. First to arrive will be a new A3 Saloon due later in 2020, followed by the A3 E-tron and S3 hot hatchback – powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with up to 325bhp – later in the year.

Later on, in around 2021, Audi also plans to bring a new coupé-styled version of the A3 to market to challenge the Mercedes CLA. Later on that year, there will also be a new high-riding A3 Allroad, complete with four-wheel drive and muscular body cladding. A new version of the RS3 hot hatchback, featuring a 417bhp engine, four-wheel drive and mild-hybrid fuel-saving technology, will sit at the very top of the A3 line-up when it arrives early in 2021, ready to face rivals including the Mercedes-AMG A45 and BMW’s M135i.

And don’t forget, because of the degree of parts sharing within the Volkswagen Group, technology seen on the new A3 will likely also feature on next-generation versions of the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon respectively.

2020 Audi A3 spy shot

2020 Audi A3 price

Like today’s car, the new A3 won’t be cheap to buy, although Audi will look to make it competitive against its Mercedes and BMW rivals. While today’s A3 starts from £25,015, we wouldn’t expect the new model to cost much more than £26,000 when sales begin. As an example of what you could eventually save, What Car? New Car Buying can net you a discount of up to £2807 on the current A3.

Traditionally, too, strong residual values have worked in the A3’s favour, making it cheaper in some guises on a PCP finance deal than a Ford Focus.

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Best used family cars for less than £10,000

If the idea of a new Audi A3 has got you thinking about family cars, then you'll want to know which ones are worth considering, and which you shouldn't bother with. Below and over the next few pages we've set out our favourite used family cars, and the great news is that none of them will cost you more than £10,000

10. Nissan Pulsar

Nissan Pulsar

The Nissan Pulsar isn’t a car to set the pulse racing (pardon the pun), but if you’re buying family transport with your sensible hat firmly in place, it's worth a look. True, the dashboard plastics are a bit low-rent and the seats could be more supportive, but on the whole the Pulsar is remarkably well equipped, delightfully quiet at speed and fantastically practical. It’s also exceptionally cheap to buy.

We found: 2017 1.2 N-Connecta, 18,000 miles, £9995

Read the full Nissan Pulsar review

9. Kia Cee’d

2015 Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi 134 DCT review

The Kia Cee’d's trump card is its enormous warranty– you get seven years’ worth, although it’s limited to 100,000 miles in the last four of those. Granted, it's blighted by a range of slightly underwhelming engines and it's not that much fun to drive. But if you're not that fussed about those flaws, the Cee’d is a comfortable, spacious and well-built family car that offers you plenty of peace of mind. A new Cee'd, called the Ceed, was introduced in 2018, and we don't think it'll be long before the prices of these drop into this price bracket, which will make this Kia even more desirable.

We found: 2017 1.6 CRDi 2, 16,000 miles, £9995

Read the used Kia Cee’d review

8. Hyundai i30

Hyundai i30

The Hyundai i30's five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty isn't quite as lengthy as the Kia's, but it's slightly cheaper to buy, making it terrific value. With an example this new, you’ll still have the majority of that left, giving you peace of mind for longer than you’ll find with most rivals. The i30’s a good family car, too, with a spacious, robustly built interior, a comfortable ride and plenty of standard equipment, although like the Kia, it isn’t as satisfying to drive as its rivals and its engines aren’t particularly fuel efficient. Shop around and you might just find the latest version of the i30 too, introduced in 2017 and pictured above, and that's an even better car…

We found: 2017 1.6 CRDi SE, 16,000 miles, £9999

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