As always, Europe gets body styles and updated engines, while the US gets nothing.
Audi has just released the specs for the 2017 A3 and S3 models. On the exterior, the new models get a new fascia that will utilize headlights which look more like the new B9 A4. On the interior, all A3 variants will now be available with Audi's virtual cockpit display which replaces conventional gauges with an LED display. A3 variants will also receive some cool technology from more expensive Audi models including adaptive cruise control with stop and go, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high beams. European headlights will be matrix LEDs.
Cool headlights aren't the only area where European A3 models will be superior to US-spec models. In Europe, the S3's 2.0-liter four-cylinder has been bumped up to 310 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Europe will also get a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission which is better for highway cruising. In the US, the S3 continues to offer 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The S3 will start at $42,900 in the US. A3 models with Quattro will continue to be powered by a 220 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and will start at $34,200. Audi says that FWD and e-Tron models will be offered later, but may not retain the 1.8-liter four-cylinder. FWD A3 models may use a detuned 2.0-liter engine to save costs.
Audi has really disappointed us here. A virtual cockpit is nice and all, but we would love to get the same power update that Europe is getting. We also don't love the fact that we can't buy an S3 as a two-door hatch, sportback, or cabriolet like Europeans can. Meanwhile, we continue to wait for the rumored RS3 sedan that Audi is specifically designing because the word "hatchback" is poison for sales in the US. Audi can make up for a disappointing S3 update with the awesome RS3 which should have around 400 hp, but for now, Audi deserves a bit of a scolding.