In a market where it competes with four-door coupe designs like the Mercedes CLA and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, it was essential that this second generation A3 Saloon look a little more dynamic than its predecessor. It does. In contrast with the A3 Sportback, the Saloon's body line continues in a straight line up to the rear bumper. This emphasises its length - 15cms longer than the Sportback - and makes for elegant proportions in profile. The concave surface under the broad body shoulder further accentuates the shape's rear quattro 'blisters' and the lower sills, while the roof line, which tapers down from the B-pillar and finishes in a spoiler on the boot lid, draws inspiration from coupe design. This MK2 model A3 Saloon is sleeker than the old car (the aero Cd factor is down from 0.29 to 0.25). And it's a little larger than its predecessor too, 4cms longer at 4.5m in length, plus it's 2cms wider and 1cm taller. As usual with an Audi, the frontal focus point is the large Singleframe grille, flanked here by trapezoidal LED headlight units, under which are LED daytime running lights with specific light 'signatures' which differ by model.
You might not expect much change in terms of interior space given that the wheelbase is the same as the old car, but the slight expansions in width and height have improved elbow room and, thanks also to a repositioned driver's seat, added an extra 2cms of front headroom. As with the MK4 A3 Sportback, there are big changes in the cockpit, which gains the digitalised 'black panel' technology lately introduced into most of the company's other models. A 10.1-inch centre-dash MMI touch display is standard and can be used to adjust the settings of the media selection, navigation, and extensive connect services. Also standard is the 10.25-inch 'Virtual Cockpit' digital instrument cluster we first saw offered as an option on the previous model. A larger 12.3-inch version of this display is also available. In the rear part of the cabin, as before there's reasonably comfortable space for a couple of adults but there's slightly more shoulder room than before. Out back, boot space is much as before, offering a 425-litre capacity.