Audi has finally lifted the wraps off its A3 Saloon and its racier S3 cousin ahead of its official debut at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Both models are underpinned by the same MQB platform doing service in the new A3 Sportback and measures 4 460 mm in length, 1 796 mm wide and 1 416 mm high with a wheelbase of 2400 mm.

This makes it marginally shorter, wider and lower than the Mercedes-Benz CLA at which it is squarely aimed. In the case of the S3 Saloon, the ride height is 25 mm lower still courtesy of a lowered and stiffened sports suspension pack.

Although it appears to share a great deal of its styling elements with the A3 model upon which it is based, it's believed that most of the saloon’s bodywork is all-new with the grille and headlamps being the items common to both cars. The S3 is differentiated from its standard cousin by deeper side skirts, a compact boot spoiler, aluminium-effect wing mirror caps, a quad-exhaust setup and sporty alloy wheels in an anthracite finish.

Audi has not yet divulged the on-board features earmarked for this A3 model but if the American specification is anything to go by, the car could be offered with leather upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, a panoramic sunroof and an MMI infotainment system a seven-inch display. Options could include LED ambient lighting, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and 4G/LTE connectivity.

The A3 Saloon engine line-up will comprise:

-       1,4-litre TFSI (103 kW/250 N.m)

-       1,8-litre TFSI (132 kW/250 N.m)

-       2,0-litre TDI (110 kW/320 N.m)

-       2,0-litre TFSI with as-yet-undisclosed outputs

The S3 Saloon is powered by a 2,0-litre TFSI unit tuned to develop 221 kW and 380 N.m. Mated with a choice of six-speed manual and S tronic transmissions, this engine will propel the S3 Saloon from standstill to 100 km/h in 5,3- and 4,9 seconds, respectively. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

The A3 Saloon should arrive in South Africa early next year.