By on January 30, 2017

Audi TT Sportback concept

“Four-door coupe.” The exasperating designation won’t go away, despite the best efforts from automakers to endow all sedans and five-doors with coupe-like rooflines. Did we forget to mention crossovers and SUVs? Yes, those can be four-door coupes, too.

In traditional use, a four-door coupe designates a sedan with a different roofline and an extra dose of luxury, though the dose is often mental, not physical. Not one to let an opportunity to pick up a few extra sales pass by, Audi is gearing up to bring the four-door coupe lifestyle to customers at the bottom of its product ladder.

Think of it as climbing an extra rung, but without paying for it.

According to Auto Express, Audi will offer the next-generation A3 in just such a configuration, slotted alongside a sedan and five-door Sportback. The automaker apparently wants to target premium-minded A3 buyers who don’t want to (or can’t) pay much more to look the part. However, those aren’t the only customers Audi has in its sights.

The automaker’s top German rival, Mercedes-Benz, soaks up a fair number of sales in the premium compact German sedan segment with its CLA. Consider the A3 four-door coupe as a direct rival. (Mercedes, of course, hopped on the four-door coupe bandwagon early on with its swoopy CLS-Class)

The redesigned Sportback is expected to be the first of the next-generation A3s, bowing in 2019. Riding on the same MQB platform as before, the model should grow slightly in length. Its sedan sibling should see evolutionary design changes. As the the four-door coupe, we shouldn’t be surprised that Audi choose to insert such a variant near the bottom of its lineup. The automaker premiered a similar concept — the TT Sportback (seen above) — in 2014, and has stated its goal of fielding 60 models by 2020.

Expect the upcoming model to bear a close resemblance to that earlier concept.

[Image: Audi]

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31 Comments on “Audi Poised to Bring the Four-door Coupe Downmarket: Report...”

  • avatar

    If Audi can pull this off with a useable rear seat and trunk, it will BE a supremely superior choice to the Mercedes CLA-250.

    Not only is the CLA250 obnoxious & cheesily styled in its quest to look like an authentic “Lordy, I jist bought me a Mercedeeeez-Benzzz” Benz, but the interior is not so great, the motor sounds exactly like a small diesel, the slush box is actually retarded AND schizophrenic, the suspension was unnecessarily harsh in any mode (on glass-smooth Nevada & Arizona roads), and by the last 2 days of my 5-day rental, it was already falling apart and having major components go berserk (the HVAC system would refuse to comply in Nevada 106 degree August weather, coming on immediately full blast or not at all, at completely random temperatures, which required having to turn off the vehicle 1 to 3 times, restarting it, in order to regain normal HVAC operation – the vehicle had 4,500 miles on it when I picked it up).

    • 0 avatar

      Damn, isn’t this exactly how Cadillac got on your sh*tlist, with a bad ATS rental? I can’t wait for years of anti-Mercedes rants! (not sarcasm)

      Actually, I’d love to know how the CLA250 compares to that infamous ATS. Rental review comparo, let’s make it happen!

      • 0 avatar

        The ATS has a better chassis & steering (and is rwd).

        The CLA250 has stronger 4 cylinder motor by far, way better gauges and switchgear (even though not great, GM’s are awful), marginally bigger back seat, bigger trunk (ATS trunk has 10.0 cubic feet and feels like 7), and no retarded CUE (which is the worst system ever implemented, even when it actually responds, which js maybe 60% of the time).

        Also, to be fair and honest regarding the Mercedes “durability” issues, I beat the CLA250 like a red-headed stepchild, and even took it off-roading for a bit near White Plains, AZ, by the Colorado River.

        It. Was. A. Bumpy. Detour.

        I treated the ATS gingerly by comparison yet it still was falling apart after several days (including what must have been a bad wheel bearing and and failing motor mounts as the car shook violently on every start up).

  • avatar

    There’s a lot of TT in that there CC. I like it, but I really wish we in the US could get an A5 Sportback with 3 pedals.

  • avatar

    The A3 already has such small proportions, not sure how this will work and have any functionality. Its a bigly why?

    How about making an actual A3 coupe without the extra doors? A downmarket A5?

  • avatar

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • avatar

    Color me intrigued.

    This doesn’t interest me as much as a 2 Gran Coupe though.

  • avatar

    Seems to make more sense to actually call it the TT Something, not the A3 Something.

  • avatar

    I wish Lexus would make a stylish and sporty car like this. No interested in having my car in the shop half the time.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. I always like Audi’s styling department that for the most part are not in the business of “How can our corporate look resemble Halloween masks even more” like, I’m looking at you, Toyota.

      My ideal sedan would be a car similar to the Dodge Charger, with Audi styling, and a Hemi, but with the rest of car engineered and built by Toyota.

    • 0 avatar

      Give me Audi interior/exterior styling, with a Toyota 1LR-GUE V10 under hood (or one of the better BMW inline 6s), with a Mazda or Honda manual gearbox, on an Audi A8 (D4 – 2011 MY+ which has 38,230 Nm/degree torsional rigidity) chassis, BMW E30 steering setup, built in Japan by Japanese humans and robots, with Japanese Tier I OEMs supplying all other interior and exterior components.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I would stick with the Audi interior components too. Their fit and finish is outstanding, and they last at least as long as the Japanese brands. I’ve been in too many Toyotas that had collapsed seat foam and flaking steering wheel rims.

    • 0 avatar

      Mine is just over five years old now. One single repair (rattling window regulator) to date, excluding the bodywork damage from a tire carcass on the highway. Otherwise it’s been strictly regular maintenance.

      The previous one (a 2004) wasn’t bad, either, maybe one repair trip per year for the seven years I owned it.

  • avatar

    This is the beauty of modern architectures like MLB and MQB: the marginal cost to put out a variant like this is very minimal, and they can charge more for the swoopy design.

    A7 Sportback sells for a premium over sister A6, and upcoming (for US) A5 Sportback will be priced similarly compared to the A4 sedan.

    This gives automakers an opportunity to be a bit more daring (though how ‘daring’ an Audi design could ever be considered is somewhat laughable) without alienating your core customer base.

    I wouldn’t be terribly interested, but clearly there are enough buyers to keep making these variants cost effective.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s beautiful, but in A3 format it’s way too small.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Just get the A4 and be done with it.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m very much inclined towards Audi’s design & aesthetics, as well as driving dynamics, fit/finish, gauges & switchgear, but would want a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty with $0mor low deductible to buy and own one for the long-term (I’m not of great faith in anything German long-term reliability/durability and know for a fact that any work required is complicated and replacement parts are expensive).

      Having said all of this, I have a perverted obsession with the MKV Jetta with the 2.5 liter 5 cylinder as reviewed by Jack 5 years ago:

  • avatar

    If it was a fastback hatch I might be interested, incredibly practical without looking like a station wagon (or indeed crossover/SUV). I put a deposit on a Skoda Octavia for this very reason.

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