Euro-spec Audi A3 gets revised look, new engines

The entry-level A3 is powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine.

Audi has given the Euro-spec A3 a mid-cycle update that brings a facelift, more efficient engines, and an array of optional tech features.

Up front, the A3 gets a minor nip-and-tuck that brings it in line with the new 2017 A4. It receives sharper headlights, a redesigned lower bumper, and a bolder rendition of Audi's trademarked singleframe grille. The sedan, hatchback, and convertible variants of the A3 all receive new-look tail lamps, while facelift-specific alloy wheel designs and additional paint colors round out the exterior updates.

The list of options now includes a virtual cockpit, which is Audi-lingo for a 12.3-inch configurable screen that replaces the traditional instrument cluster. Buyers can also pay extra for traffic jam assist, which allows the A3 to drive itself in a traffic jam, and emergency assist, a technology that applies the brakes if it detects a collision is imminent.

Mechanically, Audi has expanded the A3 lineup with a new entry-level model that's powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder TFSI engine. It sends 115 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, though whether it's bolted to a manual or an automatic transmission is anyone's guess at this point. Similarly, Audi hasn't published performance data for the first-ever A3 with a three-pot.

The next engine up is a 1.4-liter turbo four that makes 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Finally, motorists after a little more power can order a new 2.0-liter TFSI that makes 190 ponies and 236 pound-feet of twist. The 2.0-liter is the only gasoline-burning engine compatible with Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system.

The diesel-sipping TDI engine is alive and well on the other side of the pond. The A3 is offered with a 1.6-liter rated at 110 horsepower, and a 2.0-liter offered with either 150 or 184 horsepower. A gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid and a model capable of burning Audi's e-gas are also available. Finally, the S3's 2.0-liter four has been massaged to provide 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

The updated Audi A3 is scheduled to go on sale in Germany next month, and deliveries will start this summer. The U.S.-spec version of the A3 is expected to receive the same visual updates soon, though we won't see the three-cylinder on our shores.

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