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Say hello to the new Audi A3 Saloon

Saloon-ified A3 is coming soon to a business park near you

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It’s no secret saloon-ified versions of hatchbacks exist mainly for the American and Chinese markets, but of course we get most of them over here too. Quite why you’d buy one over the equivalent better-looking, more practical, often cheaper hatchback is beyond us. But maybe the new Audi A3 Saloon will be the car that changes our mind…

For the most part the A3 Saloon – we simply refuse to call it a Sedan, as Audi’s press release does – is exactly the same as the new A3 Sportback. The engines are identical – from launch that’s a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol (with 48-volt mild-hybrid tech, if you get the auto) or 2.0-litre diesel – and so’s the technology.

Headlines include clever ‘Matrix’ LED headlamps, Car-to-X communication and the latest MMI infotainment system, which has ten times the computing power of the old A3’s setup. Unlike the new Golf, Leon and Octavia (which are all based on the same platform as the new Audi), the A3 keeps physical knobs and buttons for its climate controls.

The old A3 Saloon always looked a bit stubby to us, but this new one appears better proportioned. It’s 15cm longer than the hatchback and 4cm longer, 2cm wider and 1cm taller than the old car. Expect Audi to do a long-wheelbase version for the Chinese market, which values decent legroom above all else.

Audi claims more headroom than before for front-seat passengers thanks to a lower seating position, but the same 425-litres of luggage space. That’s technically more than the A3 Sportback, but obviously the boot isn’t as useful a shape.

Order books are set to open at the end of April, with actual deliveries from summer. We don’t have UK prices, but in Germany the Saloon is only a few hundred Euro more than the Sportback. Which one would you rather have?

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