Fresh-faced new 2016 Audi A3 gets 3cyl turbo

Facelifted Audi A3 will get sleeker new look and more technology when it goes on sale in May

A facelift for the popular Audi A3 will add new petrol engines and a raft of posh infotainment and safety features when it goes on sale next month, along with a slight nip and tuck on the outside, too.

The visual changes to the big-selling hatch, Sportback, Saloon and Cabriolet may seem isolated to a slightly wider grille, narrower headlamps and a wider-looking tailgate, but most of the work has been carried out under the skin.

The engine line-up now includes a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder for the first time, pinched from the smaller Audi A1. This small unit delivers 114bhp and can access its 140Nm of torque from just 2,000rpm. It will likely power the entry-level edition in the UK, with a starting price of around £18,000.

An all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine sits at the top of the mainstream A3 fleet, delivering 188bhp and 320Nm of torque from only 1,500rpm. While the outgoing A3 2.0-litre TFSI used a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, the new model gets a seven-speed box. The 2.0-litre TFSI is the only A3 (aside from the red-hot S3 variants) available with the option of the brand’s quattro four-wheel drive.

In between the two extremes, there is a 1.4-litre turbo engine with 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. It also has the ability to shut down two cylinders to save fuel when the power demands are light.

The diesel range now begins with a 1.6-litre TDI with 109bhp, rising to a 2.0-litre TDI with 148bhp. There’s a stronger, 181bhp version of this engine waiting in the wings; it’s due about six months after the rest of the range arrives.

The hot four-wheel-drive S3 gets a small performance gain. Its outputs climb by 9bhp and 20Nm, to deliver 306bhp and 400Nm of torque. The A3 e-tron hybrid remains mechanically unchanged, though, with an electric motor that can run for about 30 miles before the 1.4-litre petrol kicks in.

Future of Audi interiors unveiled

Audi has yet to claim any fuel economy or CO2 emissions for the revised range. Safety packages include improved lane-assist and pre-safe braking systems, along with predictive pedestrian protection (autonomous braking) and cross-traffic warnings designed to make it easier to reverse out of parking spaces.

The biggest change in the A3’s cabin is the option of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit set-up. The digital instrument panel’s 12.3-inch TFT screen has been slightly upgraded, while the standard seven-inch retractable multimedia screen has the option of either navigation or Navigation Plus, which connects it to Google Earth and Google Street View.

Does the new facelift make you want an Audi A3? Let us know in the comments below...

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