Audi to expand A3 range with three new models

The A3 range is set to grow by 2018.

The Audi A3 family is set to grow in the coming years with as many as three new model variants. Audi's next-generation A3 is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2018.

Globally the A3 range current includes a three-door hatchback, a five-door hatchback, a two-door convertible and a four-door sedan. The U.S. misses out on the three-door hatch, but that model is slow selling even in Europe and isn't likely to survive through the next generation.

With those three core models likely set to return for the next go-around, Audi is considering adding three new models when the range is redesigned in 2018 -- a high-riding crossover, a four-door coupe and even a seven-seater van.

With the crossover market as hot as ever, Audi will look to tap the segment's popularity with a high-riding A3 Sportback Allroad. Following the same general blueprint as the Allroad already for sale in Audi showrooms, the A3 Allroad would feature a raised suspension, added body cladding and a toughened running gear. Audi reportedly considered a traditional wagon body style rather than the Allroad treatment for the A3 but nixed the idea on the fear that a proper A3 wagon would cannibalize sales of the more profitable A4 Avant.

Next up, according to Automobile Magazine, is a sleek-roofed A3 four-door coupe that will essentially stand as a four-door variant of the TT sports car. Tentatively called TTC, the four-door would offer a 2+2 seating arrangement and occupy the bottom rung of Audi's sporty car lineup.

It's possible that Audi could eventually offer a two-door, convertible version of the TTC. If that scenario were to play out, the current A3 convertible would be axed. Unlike the loosely related TT Roadster, the TTC would still offer seating for four.

Lastly, the next A3 could spawn a people mover aimed at vehicles like the BMW Gran Tourer. While such a model would never make it to the United States, Audi believes it could find some success in China.

"While there is no shortage of upmarket, compact-size four- and five-seaters, we believe that before long every leading premium brand will need a compact-size seven-seater,” an Audi insider told Automobile. "You see, while the executives always travel in style, the workers must follow in very basic people-movers like the best-selling Wuling Hongguang. Audi is thinking to smooth over this difference in style with a new model not unlike the BMW?Gran Tourer.”

Audi could preview its upcoming A3 range with design concepts as early as this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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