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New Audi A3 gets light facelift – in more ways than one

Audi’s updated premium hatchback gets a minor nip and tuck, with new, selectable lighting patterns

The facelifted Audi A3 will lead a powerful new-car onslaught for the German giant, comprising no fewer than nine distinct models with multiple bodystyles all due before the end of 2025.

After a quiet few years, Audi is gearing up for a series of quickfire launches, but first in line is an updated version of the big-selling Audi A3. Following in the footsteps of its facelifted Volkswagen Golf sister car, the A3 gets a subtly revised look, more technology and new interior trim. It’s on sale from April this year. 

Audi says the new car is “sportier than ever”, though that refers exclusively to the car’s aesthetic, as the A3 is unchanged under the skin. At the front, there’s a flatter grille design and large, angular air intakes, complimented by the new two-dimensional four-ring logo first seen on the Audi Q8 e-tron SUV. To the rear, the A3 gets new bumper and diffuser – elements that Audi says are “inspired by the RS models”. 

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Two new colours – District Green and Progressive Red – plus matte paint finishes, will be made available for the first time. The visual changes apply to both the Sportback five-door hatch and the four-door A3 Saloon.

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In addition, Audi will add customisable lighting signatures to the A3 range, selectable via the car’s infotainment system. Owners will be able to choose between four digital daytime running light signatures; cycling through the different options also influences the car’s start-up and close-down light sequences, which were “designed individually” for each setting.

Inside, the new A3 gets a few small design tweaks to separate it from its predecessor, though little has changed to the untrained eye. Extra chrome makes things like the air vents and climate control panel appear thinner, while the centre console has been updated with new trim. A central armrest is now standard, while cars fitted with the S tronic auto gearbox now get a more compact, flatter shifter.

Ambient lighting now runs across the aforementioned centre console, as well as the cupholders, in addition to the doors and footwells where it featured before. There are more sustainable materials, including a textured fabric made from recycled polyester, and suede-effect Dinamica microfibre for the seats and panelling. In addition, a new Sonos 3D sound system can be selected as an optional extra.

Tech takes a step up, too. All Audi A3s come with a 10.1-inch touchscreen and Audi’s Virtual Cockpit instruments. There are now two USB-C charging ports up front, another two in the rear and a wireless charging pad, all fitted as standard. The MMI infotainment system can be customised with a “wide range of applications” including Amazon Alexa. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also feature.

Order books for both the A3 Sportback and Saloon will open in April, at which point prices and exact UK specs will be announced. The new car will initially be offered in 35 TFSI petrol and 35 TDI diesel guise – both with a seven-speed automatic transmission. A manual gearbox will be offered in due course, while further engine options (including a TFSI e plug-in hybrid) will join the range later in the year.

Click here for our list of the best family cars...

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Deputy editor

Richard has been part of the team for over a decade. During this time he has covered a huge amount of news and reviews for Auto Express, as well as being the face of Carbuyer and DrivingElectric on Youtube. In his current role as deputy editor, he is now responsible for keeping our content flowing and managing our team of talented writers.

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