The Audi A3 – What’s Changed?

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Since the first A3 entered production back in 1996, it’s been a favourite of executives across the world. Now in its fourth generation, which was unveiled online in May of 2020, it’s a hatchback that’s bristling with features, as well as a few design choices that set it apart from its predecessor.

If you’re in the market for an A3, you might be wondering whether it’s worth investing in the latest version, or whether it’s worth taking a look a the third-generation models available from second-hand sources like Jardine Motors.

Given the overwhelming popularity of the third-gen A3, Audi could be forgiven for playing it on the safe side. The new car is based on the same Volkswagen MQB platform as the old one (and as the Seat Leon and Volkswagen Golf), and the cosmetic changes appear to be a little on the restrained side.

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How many doors?

Perhaps the most obvious change concerns the number of doors. The third-generation A3 began life as a three-door car, with five-door models only creeping in later on. By contrast, the fourth-generation A3 will be a five-door car from the start.

LED Headlights

The newfangled LED headlights are no longer an optional extra: they instead come as standard, with each level of trip sporting a slightly different design. The grille is also slightly bigger.

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The Interior

Among the biggest complaints for this new model is the interior, which feels markedly cheaper than it did in gen-3. Panels can be easily wiggled around. Moreover, the infotainment system is now purely touchscreen, with the rotary dial dispensed with.

This makes addressing the system without looking at it that little bit more of a struggle. On the plus side, the car now comes with a digital cockpit as standard, meaning that you can view things other than the speedometer and rev counter, depending on your personal preference.


The new A3 offers excellent handling for an executive hatchback. It’s not quite as nippy as a smaller car like a Ford Focus might be, but it’s far more impressive than the competition within the same category.

Range of Engines

One thing that’s remained roughly consistent is that there’s a range of engines available for the new A3, including petrols, diesels and hybrids. All of them are impressively quiet, with most of the noise you’ll experience in the driver’s seat coming from the road beneath you.

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