Audi has pushed back the arrival of its next-generation A3 by one year as it tackles the development of several other all-new models such as the A1 hatch and Q3 soft-roader. Originally slated to arrive at the end of the year, the new 2012 Audi A3 will now hit the market early next year in basic three and five-door hatchback models. Further down the track Audi will add a new Cabrio model and Sportback wagon, and according to previous reports there could even be a four-door coupe as well as an Allroad soft-roader.

The move is designed to help the next A3 compete with BMW’s 1-series range as well as a family of sporty models based on the next-generation Mercedes A- and B-Class. The new A3’s underpinnings will once again be shared with Volkswagen’s Golf, which means Audi’s latest modular platform design has been ruled out. Compared with the current model, however, the new A3’s footprint will grow in size and its profile is expected to be sleeker.

Previous spy shots of an A3 test mule hidden under the sheet metal of a Volkswagen Golf revealed that the next A3 will have a slightly wider track than the current MkVI Golf, confirming that the new model will be growing in size.

Likely engine options for the A3 range of cars include a series of four-cylinder powerplants ranging from 1.2 to 2.0-liters in displacement. The base engine will be a 1.2-liter TFSI with 105 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque, and this will be followed by a 1.4-liter TFSI with 125 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque as well as a 1.8-liter TFSI with 160 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. Rounding out the four-cylinder family will be a 2.0-liter TFSI with 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For the performance S3 model, expect to see a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine.