We were all so excited back in 2013 that the Audi A3 sedan was coming to America, that we made peace with the smallest Audi sedan getting the least styling. The 2021 Audi A3, though, finally looks like an interesting car, and I think we can thank Hyundai for it.
Again, we were jazzed that the A3 sedan was marking a return to actual compact sedans from Audi, like the original A4 from the ‘90s and turn of the millennium. All that was missing was teal from the paint options list.
We didn’t even mind that the A3 sedan of the second Obama administration looked like it had been actively un-styled—as if Audi’s design office was tasked with keeping the car from looking too interesting or exciting. Presumably Audi wanted Americans to step up the lease ladder to a Q5 or something.
But I get the feeling that Audi didn’t like its cars looking significantly less engaging than bargain-shopper Hyundais and Kias, which look wilder and wilder with each passing update here in the States. In 2013, we forgave an A3 sedan that looked like a bar of soap. In 2020, I think our minds have been warped.
It might be too much to single out Hyundai/Kia, as all cars in America have gotten significantly more baroque over the past few years. Pickup trucks in particular look all-but grotesque, and I don’t think the new Elantra or Sonata revisions have much to do with that.
In any case, the new A3 is based on the new VW Golf and is almost exactly the same size as the older A3 it replaces. Audi has only released European specs thus far, so we don’t know exactly what might come to the States. Full specs are up on Audi’s media site here, but Europe gets both manual transmission cars and a 48-volt mild hybrid. Sadly, you can’t get a manual hybrid version, but not all cars can be as cool as the old Honda Insight.