Audi is reportedly planning to release a new version of the A3 early in 2011, and, for the first time ever, the German automaker's entry-level model is slated to get a four-door sedan variant tailored specifically for the U.S. market. While we're big fans of the current A3's mini-wagon hatchback shape, our fellow American buyers have consistently shown a propensity to choose a trunk over an arguably more useful rear hatch when given the choice.

According to Autocar, the 2011 A3 will use a version of parent-company Volkswagen's next-gen Golf architecture. Not surprisingly, then, the A3 is likely to be similar in size to the VW Jetta – itself a sedan variant of the popular hatchback. Suspension bits will consist of struts up front and a multilink arrangement out back.

Expect the next A3 to wear sheet metal with "clear links to the existing A3." Unlike the staid profile of the current Jetta, the A3 sedan is poised to get the currently en-vogue "four-door coupe" roofline. In Europe, the next A3 will sport a range of four-cylinder gas and diesel engines, but we'd be surprised if Audi sees fit to offer an oil-burner in the U.S. market. In any case, we'll surely see quattro all-wheel drive and a choice of manual, automatic or DSG transmission options.

[Source: Autocar]