Audi has released a batch of official design sketches revealing the new 2012 Audi A3. This is our first glimpse of the new A3 hatch, A3 Sportback and A3 saloon. There will be another A3 cabriolet, but no renderings have been issued yet.
This is the planned roll-out of the new third-generation Audi A3 range, starting at the 2012 Geneva motor show:
• A3 three-door hatch, 2012
• A3 Sportback five-door hatch, 2012
• A3 saloon, 2013
• A3 cabrio, 2012
• A3 Allroad Quattro, date tbc
What else do we know about the new Audi A3?
The A3 hatch will be lower and sleeker than today's car. We'd heard that before we saw this OTT sketch, which is presumably designed to communicate its sportier brief. Internally Ingolstadt types have dubbed it the Shortback. An S3 performance version will be available while an RS3 has been worked upon although not yet approved.
The A3 Sportback will stick with its taller, roomier brief, whereas the saloon - called Slantback by insiders - is positioned more as a saloon/four-door coupe mash-up. The cabrio will be based on the notchback, not the hatch.
Audi A3: the new tech
Underpinning the new 2012 Audi A3 is the VW group's highly flexible MQB modular transverse architecture. It brings a plethora of tech and engine options, plus the choice of front- or four-wheel drive. The petrol options will include:
• 105bhp 1.2-litre TFSI four-cylinder
• 122bhp 1.4 TFSI
• 140bhp 1.4 TFSI
• 180bhp 1.8 TFSI
• 211bhp 2.0 TFSI
• 280bhp S3, S-tronic
• 350bhp RS3, based on the Sportback
And the diesel A3s?
• 1.6 TDI with 90 or 105bhp
• 2.0 TDI with 140 or 170bhp
A special A3 Eco model is due to showcase the A3's environmental credentials. Based on the Sportback, it will have special low-drag livery, a 1.4 TDI unit and an 'e-pack', bringing brake energy recuperation, a compact buffer battery, electric drive for most of the auxiliary equipment, start-stop mated to S-tronic transmission, a taller final drive ratio, an upshift indicator, low rolling-resistance tyres and the aero kit with selectively blocked air intakes. Word is, it'll manage 85mpg and 89g/km.
CAR understands a new generation of state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines are also coming. The A3 will be one of the first model ranges to get these.