New Model News

Redesigned 2021 Audi A3 gets a fierce face, electrified powertrain

The looks of the Audi A3 now fall into line with the most of the rest of the automaker's lineup.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Striking new looks, a high-tech infotainment system, and an electrified powertrain are on the menu of the redesigned 2021 Audi A3. The model redesign makes the Audi more in line with its stablemates, nearly all of whom have already received upgrades of a similar nature.

Like others in the Audi family, the car now has a large Singleframe honeycomb grille at its noise. On either side are trapezoidal LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. Light signatures vary by model.

2021 Audi A3

2021 Audi A3

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

The exterior design differs form the previously shown 2021 Audi A3 Sportback, with body panel lines emphasizing the length of the car. It is 5.9 inches longer than the Sportback. The German automaker has made the four-door car longer than the 2020 model by 1.6 inches but other dimensions, including the interior ones, haven't changed much but the car does offer slightly more head- and elbow room. The wheelbase stays the same in the 2021 model.

Gone are the Givenchy x Madonna era circular vents in the dashboard. The much upgraded interior features streamlined design that's sleek and modern - an overall theme that transitions well from the Audi RS 7 to the A3. Audi's third-gen operating system allows for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, 4G LTE Wi-Fi service, and navigation, among other features. The new system runs 10 times faster than the second-gen.

Information on what will power the A3 in the U.S. hasn't been released. In Europe, three power plants are available including a diesel option. One of the engines, a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder unit, features a 48-volt mild hybrid system similar to what you'll find in the Ram 1500 and many modern Mercedes-Benz models. Audi says that the mild hybrid engine can achieve 50.4 mpg when paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Europe gets the Audi A3 first, starting this spring. It's slated to arrive in the U.S. later this year and pricing is expected to stay similar to the 2020 model, which started at $33,300.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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Refreshed luxury crossover

2022 Lexus NX earns Top Safety Pick +

The 2022 NX earned a Top Safety Pick + award.

Lexus

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX just got its crash test scores, and they're strong. The new crossover picked up a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's top award. It's the NX's fourth consecutive Top Safety Pick + award, and before that the vehicle earned Top Safety Picks.

2022 Lexus NXThe NX has picked up top awards for several years in a row. Lexus

The 2022 NX picked up top scores in testing, earning a "Good" rating in all crash-test categories, a "Good" score for headlights, "Superior" scores for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention, and a "Good+" score for LATCH system ease of use. Though the 2021 model also picked up a Top Safety Pick + award, it scored lower for its car seat anchors.

Lexus offers the new NX with a whopping four propulsion options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 203 horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 275 horsepower, a 2.5-liter hybrid with 239 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. The two gas engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, while the two hybrids both get all-wheel drive.

2022 Lexus NXLexus offers the NX with four powertrain options. Lexus

Pricing for the 2022 NX starts at $39,025 for the base NX250. Moving up the line, the NX350h starts at $42,125 and the NX450h+ starts at $56,725.

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