Spotted here in five-door hatchback form, using the current car's MFA platform, the A3 will also have four-door saloon and five-door liftback variants. The latter is expected to take the Sportback name from the five-door hatchback, while that variant will be simply badged A3, as the three-door A3 was discontinued last year. Regular and S3-badged convertible models will complete the line-up, although, as is currently the case, there will be no RS3 drop-top.
The other variants will also gain S3 and RS3-badged models, meaning eleven cars will make up the A3 range. With competition from the BMW M140i and upcoming Mercedes-AMG A35 covering the 300-335bhp bracket, the S3 is expected to stay within these limits, with 325bhp mooted by sources.
If it follows the example set by the TTS, with which the current S3 shares an engine, it will get a petrol particulate filter. This has reduced power slightly to 302bhp, but a boost of 15lb ft has taken torque up to 295lb ft. The TTS ditched its six-speed manual gearbox for a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, too.
The RS3, meanwhile, will likely increase in power, with 400bhp-plus opposition from the Mercedes-AMG A45 on the way. Audi remains tight-lipped on its future plans, but it's expected to keep the 2.5-litre five-cylinder unit from the current car.
The styling of the new A3, as seen on the spied development car, will follow the rest of the Audi range with a more geometric front-end treatment and sharper tail-lights. Inside, there'll be Audi's Virtual Cockpit as standard, with a choice of two infotainment screen sizes.