The fourth-generation Audi A3 Sportback hatch debuted earlier this month, and Audi doesn't plan to waste time getting the trunked version here, according to Car and Driver, which adds that the sedan likely shows in late 2020 as a 2021 model. The current U.S. lineup of A3, S3, RS 3 should continue, joined by a five-door hatchback model called the A3 Sportback E-Tron. The sedans will deliver everything we saw in the latest hatchback from the front fascia to the rear doors, picking up the brawnier looks and even sharper S line features. The new hatch grew about 1.2 inches compared to the third-generation; a small growth spurt for the sedan shouldn't come as a shock.
The engines in all three standard models don't change from the present units, but they will receive aid from 48-volt hybrid systems. As of now, our A3 lineup is broken into two models, a 184-horsepower Sedan Sport and a 228-hp Sedan S line. C/D says the 2021 version begins with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder putting out a whopping 240 horsepower in the entry-level trim. It's possible Audi's switching up the A3 offer to mimic the Q3, the crossover also coming in two trims — Q3 45 and Q3 S line 45 — both powered by the same 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder making the same 228 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. At 240 hp to start, Audi would be making a statement against the entry-level BMW 228i Gran Coupe, which will come with 228 hp. The Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class puts out 221 hp in base CLA 250 trim. The starter A3 will come in front- or all-wheel drive.
The 2021 S3 uses a similar 2.0-liter engine, but this time said to make 300 hp. Compared to the current model, that figure equals the same 12-hp bump envisioned for the top trim of the base sedan. Audi teased the new-generation S3 Sportback for the European market in February, the five-door producing 306 hp and 295 lb-ft., a 10-hp bump over the current European model making 296 hp and 295 lb-ft.
The RS 3 is said to rise to 400 hp, a six-horsepower increase over the present RS 3. That output would keep it ahead of the 375-hp AMG CLA 45 that we get in the U.S., and put it in the ring with the rumored 400-hp M2 Gran Coupe.
After this trio, C/D's source previewed the return of the plug-in hybrid A3 hatch, a model we haven't seen since the 2018 A3 Sportback E-Tron 1.4T S tronic Premium. It will supposedly return with another 1.4-liter engine and a total system output of around 240 hp, which would be 36 hp more than before.