The fourth-generation Audi A3 has been spotted several times before, but this marks the first time it’s been caught completely undisguised. This prototype mule was spotted undergoing road tests in Africa, and word on the street is it will be offered in lesser body styles – the three-door hatch will be culled due to poor sales, and the fate of the A3 Cabriolet hangs in the balance as well.

This particular prototype is the five-door hatch, and the standard look will comprise of the angular headlights with a jagged lower edge, six-point hexagonal Singleframe grille, and a slim lower air inlet for better aerodynamics. The shoulder line, which is still masked, stretches from the headlights to the tail lights, just like the outgoing Typ 8V model.

On the side, the lower mouldings are more pronounced, and the new A3 will likely ride on 16-inch wheels as standard, with larger 19-inch units fitted onto hotter models such as the S3 and RS3. Over to the back, the tail lights are definitely new, and more expensive variants should get full LED units with dynamic turn indicators as well.

To date, there’s still no photos of the cabin, but it’s safe to assume that the interior will be wholly revamped to feature the company’s second-generation Virtual Cockpit. A centrally-mounted touchscreen infotainment system will be standard as well, either measuring 8.8-inch diagonally (with handwriting input as on the A8) or 10.1-inch MMI navigation plus system (as seen in the new Audi A1) with hybrid route guidance that draws from the cloud as well as Audi connect.

A range of petrol, diesel and hybrid (mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants are big possibilities) engines should be available, including the VW Group’s 1.5 litre EA211 TSI evo engine with Active Cylinder Technology. Existing engines are tipped to be carried over, albeit tweaked for better performance and improved efficiency. The S3 will likely get a highly-boosted 2.0 litre TFSI petrol engine, cranked to produce around 300 hp, matching that of the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic and F40 BMW M135i.

GALLERY: Audi A3 Sedan spyshot


GALLERY: Audi S3 Sedan spyshot