Home: Motoring > Five door model to go on sale in China in 2020

Audi to launch new A3 liftback

From:Greg Kable 2018-11-14 20:16:35

Audi is preparing to counter the upcoming second-generation Mercedes-Benz CLA with its very own style led coupe in the form of a new five-door A3 liftback model, the most powerful version of which is described by officials from the German car maker as a spiritual successor to the original Sport Quattro.

The secret new Audi, granted production approval by former Audi chairman Rupert Stadler earlier this year, forms part of a future four-model-strong A3 line-up. When it goes on sale in China in 2020, it will sell alongside successor models to today’s third-generation five-door hatchback, second-generation two-door cabriolet and first-generation four-door sedan.

As well as rivalling the new Mercedes-Benz CLA, the new Audi A3 liftback will find competition in the form of the upcoming BMW 2-series GranCoupe in what is shaping up as a potentially lucrative market segment for the three German car makers.  

Recent rumours in Germany have suggested the new A3 model has been drafted into the line-up as a replacement for the TT, sales of which have plummeted in recent years as buyers have abandoned the compact two-door models in search of more versatile offerings. However, this is denied by highly placed Audi sources at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, who say the future of the TT coupe and its open-top roadster sibling remains open for the time being.

Like other new A3 models, the new liftback is based on a revised version of the existing A3’s MQB platform, providing it with the choice of a number of transversely mounted engines as well as either front- or four-wheel drive.

Details remain scarce at this early stage, but insiders have told Internet Info Agency that the A3 liftback measures over 4400mm in length. By comparison, the existing A5 Sportback runs to 4730mm in length.  

While more affordable versions of the new Audi set to run either a 1.4-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel engine in combination with a 48-volt electric system providing them with mild hybrid properties, Autocar has been told plans have already been drawn for a more powerful 2.0-litre model in the form of the S3 liftback. Set to rival to the Mercedes-AMG CLA35, it looks set to offer over 225kW as well as a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system as standard.

The most powerful of Audi’s new five-door models, however, will be an exciting new RS3 liftback planned for launch in 2021. Fitted with a revised version of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine that powers existing RS3 models with a particulate filter among other changes, it will go up against the upcoming second-generation Mercedes-AMG CLA45 with over 300kW.

In a move set to link the new liftback with the iconic Sport Quattro launched in 1983, the RS3 model is claimed to receive a number of traditional styling touches, including air vents within the leading edge of the bonnet, flared wheel arches and a pronounced spoiler within the trailing edge of an angled liftback style tailgate at the rear.

Together with the headlining S3 and RS3 models, Audi is also planning to provide its new liftback with a newly configured plug-in petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain offering an electric range of up to 50km as part of an extended range of new electrified A3 e-tron models.

Internet Info Agency has also been told a pure electric version of the new five-door based on the Volkswagen Group’s new MEB electric vehicle platform could also appear as a future Audi rival to the Tesla Model 3.

Editor:Greg Kable