Much of the upgraded technology and powertrain improvements for the 2017 Audi A4 are headed for the smaller Audi A3 and S3, at least in Europe to start. Goodies like Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, combined with more power and torque for the S3 and a new seven-speed transmission for all A3 models, will likely make it to U.S. showrooms to help the small sedan stay competitive against the recently refreshed Mercedes-Benz CLA.
Tech has been a major factor distinguishing the new Audi Q7 SUV and A4 sedan from the rest of their classes, so it’s no surprise to see that the A3 is about to get a similar treatment. European versions of the A3 will now offer Audi’s Virtual Cockpit 12.3-inch TFT screen in place of a standard gauge cluster, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking. The latest MMI infotainment system will be included, along with optional navigation powered by Google Earth, LTE connectivity, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are also offered.
Judging by how the Audi A4 packages things, we expect the higher-end gear like virtual cockpit and navigation to be offered as part of a tech package on Premium Plus trim levels.
2017 Audi A3 cabriolet European Spec side profile in motion 01
Aside from the added tech, there is a small visual refresh to ogle over as well. Up front is where you can make out the most changes, with its angular signature grille, flattened headlights, and wider intakes up front. Out back, the Audi A3’s taillights receive illuminated graphics and the diffuser has been reshaped. In Europe the A3 will offer five new colors, including Ara blue, Cosmic blue, Nano gray, Tango red, and Vegas yellow.
European examples of the Audi A3 will see lots of changes to the small-displacement gas and diesel powertrains, including a new 1.0-liter three-cylinder. But here in the U.S. we don’t expect much to change, although Audi isn’t yet confirming anything related to powertrain updates. Currently the A3 can be had with a base 1.8-liter turbo-four making 170 hp, a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 220 hp, or the 292-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four exclusive to the S3.
European models get an all-new 2.0-liter turbo-four, so we’d expect the new engine to come to the U.S. also. In the 2017 Audi A4 it makes 252 hp, so it’s very likely that same output will come to the new A3. The Euro S3 also gets a slight boost of 10 hp and 15 lb-ft of torque, which would up the S3 to just north of 300 hp and about 295 lb-ft of torque here in the U.S.
All new Audi A3 models, including the cabrio and hatchback, will also get a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to replace the current six-speed dual-clutch auto. This gearbox, again, is inherited from the A4, and although Audi isn’t confirming it, we feel confident these Euro upgrades will make it to the U.S. before too long.