While Europe enjoyed an extensively updated Audi A3 model, US buyers spent the last year stuck with the older generation. That changes at the upcoming LA auto show, when the A3 makes its US debut.
At a meeting with CNET, Scott Keogh, president of Audi USA, said the company wanted to wait for the sedan version of the A3, which only came out this year, as opposed to the Sportback version currently on sale in Europe. Keogh also mentioned that there would be big announcements concerning Audi Connect, the connected feature package Audi offers in its various models, which includes Google Earth integration in the navigation system.
While talking about Audi's successful partnership with T-Mobile in equipping cars with an always-on data connection, Keogh noted that some drivers might prefer another data provider. The new A3 will feature the company's first 4G LTE-connected car, and will not only highlight its Los Angeles auto show exhibit, but also show up at next year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), scheduled for the week of January 6 in Las Vegas. Audi previously used CES to show off the A3's infotainment package before the actual car's unveiling.
While no specifics were offered, Audi's upcoming announcements seem likely to involve data choice for owners. Mobile data providers would not only be able to expand their footprint into the car, but would also be able to offer subscribers bundled plans for mobile phone and car.
Audi implements its connected features through a simple T-Mobile SIM chip plugged into a car's dashboard. Owners should be able to simply swap out SIMs with any approved data provider.
The first of the new-generation A3 models, shown at the 2012 Geneva auto show, was a three-door hatchback. Keogh said that model would not be coming to the US because the body style's lack of popularity here. The A3 sedan will give Audi an entrant into the trending premium compact segment, competing with cars such as the Mercedes-Benz CLA-class.
A five-door Sportback A3 will make it to the US next year, but only as a plug-in hybrid model. Audi will also field a cabriolet based on the A3. A Q3 compact SUV model is also slated for the US.
CNET will cover the 2013 Los Angeles auto show during a press preview on November 20 and 21. The show opens to the public on November 23.