Review: Audi A3 Sportback TFSI e
Until the driving range of electric cars improves and the charging infrastructure keeps pace with demand, plug-in hybrids offer the best of both worlds.
The A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e plug-in will potentially travel 41 miles before the petrol engine kicks in - perfect if you have a low-mileage commute and somewhere to plug in at both ends of the journey.
The petrol engine is a four-cylinder 1.4 TFSi which delivers 147bhp. When the electric motor is added to the equation this is bumped up to 201bhp. Transmission is by way of Audi’s S tronic transmission.
There are different driving modes, comfort, auto and dynamic plus individual profiles.
Using a domestic socket, it will take around four hours for the A3 to be fully charged, obviously this time will be drastically reduced when using a commercial charging station.
If the battery is charged up the vehicle will always start up via electric power and this can be maintained if the EV mode is selected - thus achieving zero emissions.
The A3 is a compact hatchback but is big enough to serve the needs of the average family, with plenty of room for driver and passengers and a decent sized boot of 280 litres.
Cramping three adults into the back may not be overly comfortable though as the sloping roof intrudes upon headroom.
The interior of the A3 is smart and the seats comfortable. Driver and front seat passenger get snug sports seats with leg support and four-way lumbar support.
There is plenty of storage, two cupholders and two USB-C charging points at the front and a 12v socket in the rear.
The majority of on board functions are accessed via the 10in touchscreen except for climate control and driving mode which have physical buttons for ease of use while on the move.
The subscription service Audi connect includes a wifi hotspot ,navigation system with images from Google Earth that predicts ongoing traffic situations.
Smartphone integration is included and wireless charging is an added feature which replaces Bluetooth connectivity.
The boot configuration is very practical. The rear seats fold flat to bump up the loadspace to 1,100 litres and the load cover can be stored in the space under the two-position floor.
The first time you drive the A3 the braking may catch you off guard. The electric motor comes into play initially and recoups some of the energy before the hydraulics will kick in if more forceful braking is needed.
Our S Line spec model came fitted with the rather smart 18in alloys but 17in ones can be specified as an option so business users can take advantage of the six per cent BIK.
There is a range on assistance systems including traffic sign recognition, park assist and adaptive cruise control.
Audi A3 Sportback TFSI e
Price: £40,290 (£43,405 as tested)
Engine: 1.4-litre petrol plus electric motor
Transmission: six-speed S tronic
Top speed: 141.1mph
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
CO 2 emissions:25g/km
EV range: 41 miles