Audi promised to make its large touchscreen and digital dashboard standard in new A3 Sportback in Europe, giving the car a boost in its tense battle with the Mercedes-Benz A class and BMW 1 series.
Audi revealed the compact premium hatchback online on Tuesday in place of a physical unveil at the Geneva auto show after Swiss authorities last week prohibited large events from taking place to help stop the spread of the the coronavirus.The current A3 was Audi’s best-selling model in Europe last year with a volume of 123,591, putting it ahead of the A4 midsize premium car, according to JATO Dynamics.
The new A3 Sportback will come with a 10.1-inch touchscreen that delivers Audi’s Connect online services as well as satellite navigation and traditional media entertainment. Also standard is the virtual cockpit digital dashboard that connects to the central touchscreen to mirror satellite navigation maps. In the A4 the virtual cockpit costs 600 euros to add in Germany.
The new A3 Sportback goes on sale immediately with the choice of a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and a 2.0-liter diesel. Deliveries start in May. A mild-hybrid version of the 1.5-liter unit with engine deactivation will follow shortly after the launch, while a plug-in hybrid drivetrain with two power outputs will go on sale “a few months after launch,” Audi said when revealing the car. Further gasoline and diesel engines will also follow, Audi said.
The A3 Sportback will be joined by a new sedan model at a later date, Audi sales boss Hildegard Wortmann said during the car’s reveal. Also in the pipeline are performance S3 and RS3 models. Audi won’t make a three-door version of the car.
Technology in the car includes Car-to-X communication so the vehicle can share information with other vehicles and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights, where the technology exists. Examples of its use would include alerting the driver to empty parking spaces or giving information on traffic light changes.