Update: ‘Specifications’ and ‘Audi A3 sales’ sections updated.
Audi plans to exclusively launch pure-electric models from 2026. Some of the brand’s next-generation cars will be electric-only to cater to the adoption of zero-emissions vehicles in key markets like the USA, Europe, and China.
While Volkswagen will introduce the next generation Golf with an internal combustion engine, its sister model, the Audi A3, is going entirely electric. A report Automobilwoche published on June 18, 2021, states that the Audi A3 “will no longer have a successor as a combustion engine.” As Audi did for the combustion-engined A3, it will leverage Volkswagen Group’s extensive pool of resources for the car’s electric successor.
According to a report Autocar published on September 4, 2023, the next-gen Audi A3 would be an electric-only model. Following the brand’s new nomenclature, where models with internal combustion engines have odd-numbered names, and electric models have even-numbered names, the A3’s successor could be introduced as the Audi A2 or Audi A2 e-tron.
Audi A3 electric successor confirmation
During Audi’s 2023 Annual Media Conference on March 16, 2023, CEO Markus Duesmann said that the company plans to offer an EV in all the segments in which it is present. Further, Duesmann confirmed the launch of an electric car positioned below the Q4 e-tron.
By 2027, we seek to offer an all-electric vehicle in each core segment in our portfolio. According to the current product planning, we will then have a line-up of over 20 electric models. So, within the next five years, we will be significantly expanding our e-portfolio. As part of these efforts, we recently decided to launch an additional electric entry-level model below the Audi Q4 e-tron as well.Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (2023 Annual Media Conference on March 16, 2023)
Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council of Audi, revealed during an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine on December 17, 2021, that an electric Audi A3 is in the pipeline, according to Der Spiegel. Mosch added that the company would begin manufacturing the “electric successors to the current A3 and A4” at the Ingolstadt factory in Germany by 2029. The Ingolstadt plant would start EV operations with the Audi Q6 e-tron this year, followed by the Audi E6 (Audi A6 e-tron).
Next-gen Audi A3 e-tron/first-ever Audi A2 e-tron to be the entry-point to the range
At the start of 2022, Audi announced that the A1 would be discontinued and the current generation of the Q2 would be its last, hinting that more premium Audi models would be the entry point to the brand. During the 2022 Audi Annual Media Conference, Auto Express asked Duesmann about the A3’s electric successor and the future entry-point to the Audi range. Here’s what Duesmann said:
Let me say that we are many brands in the corporate group. We are four brands that represent the volume segment in an excellent way. Audi will strengthen the upper range. When it comes to the entry level, I can commit that the A3 or its successor will probably be the entry level.Markus Duesmann, CEO, Audi (Audi Annual Media Conference in March 2022)
Audi hasn’t revealed details about the A2’s design and we haven’t seen prototypes on test yet. However, some design elements can be expected from recent Audi concepts. As previewed in our rendering, the Audi A2 e-tron could have split headlights, a feature that’s trending particularly in China, which could be a crucial market for the model. Expect wedge-shaped positioning lights on the top and the low and high beams to be in a separate, rectangular housing above the side air intakes.
The Singleframe grille may not be necessary, but given that it’s an unmistakable signature of the four-ringed brand, there’s no doubt it would dominate the face of all future Audi EVs, with adaptations. On the A2 e-tron, we have shown a white octagonal piece with concave hexagonal inserts. A deep air intake below cools the drivetrain, brakes, and battery pack, and it features “e-tron” inscription in the center. On the sides, our render features camera-based virtual mirrors and large aero wheels.
The future model will have different proportions. Expect an extended wheelbase providing improved cabin space and shorter overhangs, a lower and shorter hood line, and larger wheelhouses paving the way for sporty styling.
Audi R&D chief Oliver Hoffmann told Autocar at IAA 2023 that the company will use Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform in A-segment models. Based on his statement, we think the A3 electric successor could sit on the MEB+ platform, an updated version of the MEB. In the current line-up, the MEB underpins the Audi Q4 e-tron.
Range & Performance
According to the Autocar report, the Audi A3 electric successor will be available in single-motor RWD and dual-motor AWD variants. Its power outputs could range from 147 hp to 389 hp. The dual-motor powertrains could be exclusive to a performance-oriented S variant and an even sportier RS variant. The RS variant could have a sub-3.8-second 0-62 mph acceleration time, as per the Autocar report.
Charging from 10-80% using a DC fast-charger could be a matter of just around 20 minutes. The most range-focused configuration could travel around 400 miles (WLTP) on a full charge.
The next-gen A3 e-tron will come in five-door hatchback and four-door sedan versions, but we only expect the latter in the U.S. market. The Autocar report says that the next-gen A3 will be bigger than the current A3 in both versions.
For reference, the U.S.-spec current A3 Sedan measures 176.9 inches in length, 71.5 inches in width, and 56.2 inches in height. The current S3 Sedan has the same width, but its length and height are 177.3 inches and 55.7 inches, respectively. The current RS 3 Sedan has the same width, too, but is even longer and lower, measuring 178.8 inches in length and 55.6 inches in height. The standard car’s wheelbase measures 103.5 inches, while the performance cars share a slightly longer, 103.6-inch wheelbase.
Production & Release Date
According to the Autocar report, the Audi A3 electric successor will arrive by 2027.
Demand for the Audi A3 is growing globally. In 2022, Audi delivered 201,119 units of the A3 worldwide, 12.1% higher than in 2021 (179,399 units). The compact car ranked fourth on its sales chart for the calendar year.
In the U.S., with only 9,788 units delivered in 2022, the A3 was far behind core Audi models, including its SUV alternative, the Audi Q3 (25,066 units). However, there is potential to grow. In the first half of 2023, the compact car recorded 9,788 units in sales, marking a growth of 309% over the same period in 2022 (January-June 2022: 2,390 units).
When it arrives eventually, the Audi A2 e-tron/Audi A3 Electric should be one of the most affordable electric luxury cars from the old continent. While it might be a bit more expensive to buy/lease than the gasoline-powered A3, the the low running costs should make it a sensible choice in its segment. Being available in Sportback (hatchback) and Sedan versions, our experience tells us that it will suit customers in all hemispheres!
Audi A3 Electric/Audi A2 e-tron FAQs
When will Audi launch the next-gen A3?
The next-gen Audi A3 will reportedly be launched as an electric vehicle line-up by 2027.
Which models will the Audi A2 e-tron compete with?
The Audi A2 e-tron could compete with a range of models, including the next-gen 2024 Mini Cooper Electric.
What is the expected Audi A3 Electric price?
Audi could price the all-electric A3 at well under USD 40,000.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s render of the Audi A3 Electric (A2 e-tron).