We're all for lifted hatchbacks built by a company with rally heritage.
Right now, Audi doesn't sell a hatchback in the United States. The closest thing we get to that is the Audi RS6 Avant. Aside from a hatch-like opening, it's about as far from the A3 as Audis get (R8 notwithstanding). However, that looks to be changing, and we could even see this model Stateside, though reports on that are unconfirmed for now.
Back in November, we first sighted this Audi A3 hatch testing in Europe when we thought this car would be known as the A3 Allroad. Since then, we've gotten confirmation from Audi via our spy photographers that the A3 Allroad will instead be called the Cityhopper. Now, we've got some more photos of this new Audi entrant, seen testing on and around the Nurburgring.
While the car doesn't look all that lifted in the photos, we assure you it is. Part of that comes down to the new, larger wheels you see on this prototype car. At a glance, they appear to be 19-inch wheels, likely offered on some sort of S-Line package, or even on a potential S3 variant. Given the camo placement, we can assume this car will also carry a refreshed front and rear fascia, likely to show up on all A3 models soon.
Notably, this car is not a hybrid, like the one we spotted back in November. That might as well confirm a few different engine options for the car. Here's hoping we get the RS3's rowdy 5-banger if this one comes to the States. Regardless, this prototype features standard Allroad fare, like different fenders and the obvious lift.
Given the lack of a charge port, we're betting this prototype is making use of Audi/VW's long-running EA888 2.0-liter turbo-four, likely mated to an 8-speed auto or dual-clutch gearbox. It should also use the same 48-volt mild-hybrid system that's now paired with that engine. We're also expecting around the same power as the existing A3, which means right around 201 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.
Because much of this car already exists somewhere in the A3 lineup (a hatch is offered in Europe) we expect a debut rather soon. Our spies say it could even be in the coming months. Once Audi starts dropping teasers, we'll know whether or not this A3 Cityhopper will come to the US.