This will be the first time the A3 has been given the Allroad treatment.
The current-generation Audi A3 is only sold as a sedan in the US with the high-performance RS3 topping the range, but it's also offered as a Sportback in Europe. Now, our spies have spotted another new A3 variant in development. Audi has been caught testing a high-riding prototype of the A3 that will be positioned between the regular A3 and the Q3 crossover for those who want rugged off-road-focused looks but don't want to buy an SUV.
The high-riding A3 could be called the Allroad like its larger A4 and A6 Allroad siblings, but reports suggest it will be called the Cityhopper.
Audi has covered the prototype in camouflage to disguise the rugged A3's redesigned front and rear bumpers, flared fenders, and body cladding. Roof rails will be offered as standard equipment, and the grille will be tweaked to distinguish the A3 Allroad from its regular siblings.
The suspension has also been raised, giving the A3 more ground clearance for when you want to take it off the beaten track for some light off-roading. Judging from the charging port on the front left fender, the A3 Allroad prototype is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
This will be the same plug-in hybrid setup as the Audi A3 Sportback 45 TFSI, which pairs a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and an electric motor generating a combined 242 hp. Thanks to a 13 kWh lithium-ion battery, the A3 plug-in hybrid offers an electric range of 39 miles. The plug-in hybrid powertrain also suggests the high-riding A3 won't use Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system to keep emissions low.
Since this is our first prototype sighting, the new high-riding Audi A3 will likely debut sometime next year. As it's based on the A3 Sportback that isn't sold here, we aren't expecting the off-road-inspired Audi A3 Allroad/Cityhopper to be offered to the US market.