Compact Audi gains updated infotainment system, more active safety features
Audi has revealed the refreshed 2017 A3 range, and the model’s exterior design has been subtly changed to bring it in line with the new A4 sedan’s styling. The most notable design change is the headlights, which now feature an LED lighting pattern similar to the A4. Meanwhile, the grille is broader and features sharper contours. Out back, the car’s taillights also come with a new LED lighting pattern and a redesigned rear diffuser.
The cabin is where the 2017 A3 received the most changes because it’s now available with Audi‘s Virtual Cockpit, a reconfigurable 12.3-inch TFT screen that displays relevant information such as speed, fuel level, navigation, your map, audio, and vehicle diagnostics. Audi’s MMI infotainment system also gains updates and can now give you information on your destination, parking, and weather via a 4G LTE service that requires a monthly fee. A 7-inch retractable screen is standard while the available navigation system will utilize Google Earth and Google Street View if you have 4G LTE connectivity. MMI’s connect app capability also enables online media streaming and transferring your calendar from your smartphone to car. Audi’s smartphone interface is also now included and can connect iOS and Android phones with a car via the phone box in the center armrest.
Available active safety features in the A3 received an update as part of the car’s refresh. Traffic Jam Assist has been added and can take over steering in heavy traffic on well-paved roads at speeds of up to 40 mph (64 km/h). The feature works in combination with adaptive cruise control and the Stop & Go function. Emergency Assist, an automatic emergency braking system, has also been added and can bring the car to a full stop if no steering activity is detected even after warnings.
Outside of the North America, the 2017 Audi A3 receives a new 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 114 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. The new 2.0-liter turbo-four from the 2017 A4 also finds its way into the refreshed A3 but tuned to 188 hp and 236 lb-ft. In U.S.-spec A4s, the 2.0-liter turbo-four makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft. A seven-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission that’s also found in the 2017 A4 replaces the old six-speed unit as the only gearbox available with the new 2.0-liter turbo-four. Front- and all-wheel drive will be available depending on the engine choice.
In addition to gas engines, diesel powertrains will also be available outside of North America. The A3 e-tron plug-in, on the other hand, will return with the same 1.4-liter turbo-four coupled to an electric motor for a total system output of 204 hp. A natural gas-powered variant called the A3 g-tron will be available with a 108-hp 1.4-liter turbo-four; however, it’s unlikely that it will be sold in the North America. For performance junkies, the S3 returns as the range-topping variant of the A3 range with a power boost. The 2.0-liter turbo-four now produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft, which is up 14 hp and 15 lb-ft over the pre-refresh model.
Elsewhere in the world, the 2017 A3 will be available as a sedan, convertible, four-door hatch and two-door hatch. However, in the North America, it’s possible that gas-powered A3s will continue only in sedan or convertible form. The A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid will likely remain the only hatchback available in the A3 lineup for the North Americans.