► PHEV previous-gen A3 examined
► Sizzling-hatch energy, eco financial system
► Closest factor but to an electrical A3
On the floor, the 2013-2020 Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron seems a lot the identical as another A3 from this period. However beneath it lies the beating coronary heart of a plug-in hybrid powertrain nicked from the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTE.
In case you look rigorously, there are a number of clues that spell out its zero-emissions functionality. Up entrance, there’s a chrome grille, around the facet are aero-friendly 19-inch alloys, and on the again is a refined e-Tron badge.
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How highly effective is the plug-in hybrid system?
Underneath the conservative pores and skin is a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol four-pot teamed with a 99bhp electrical motor, whereas underneath the rear seats – however, critically for boot area, forward of the rear axle – is a lithium-ion battery pack.
Complete mixed output? A helpful 202bhp – probably the most highly effective A3 of its time, barring the pumped-up S3 and RS3 – but with a claimed 188mpg and CO2 emissions of simply 35g/km, it’s supposedly extra environment friendly than a recent plug-in Toyota Prius.
With a 584-mile theoretical whole vary, and a promise of as much as 31 miles of propulsion underneath electrical energy alone, the e-Tron definitely competes nicely with even newer PHEVs. To this point it’s additionally the closest factor Audi has ever launched to a completely electrical A3 – in truth, Audi now reserves the e-Tron identify for pure electrical fashions, with its newest PHEVs badged TFSIe.
Charging the A3 e-Tron is a doddle, too, with a Kind-2 socket very neatly housed behind the 4 rings on the grille. It may not be as flashy because the drop down panel on the most recent e-Tron SUV vary, however the entry is extra handy.
What’s the A3 e-Tron wish to drive?
EV mode is the default setting if you set off, however you’ll be able to actively choose electrical or petrol drive on the transfer as nicely. Say you’re driving from Birmingham to London: it can save you the electrical energy for the capital’s congestion zone, sipping petrol as a substitute on the motorway, the place the engine is at its most effective.
The e-Tron will take such a journey in its stride, too. The driving place is an identical to the common A3, other than a number of buttons and the green-backlit devices.
The wheel-mounted shift paddles, not needed for gearchanges, can now be used to pick out the quantity of regenerative braking desired, so you’ll be able to prime up the battery as a lot as you need or use full energy. It’s not fairly one-pedal driving, however it may well scale back the frequency you name upon the brake pedal to all however probably the most abrupt of stops.
In EV mode there’s little noise, however the prompt torque is nice for gaps in site visitors. It’s a clean transition when the petrol engine takes over, however the excellent refinement (versus silence) is maintained. Right here the throttle’s responsive, and the A3’s fast, with a 7.6sec 0-62mph declare.
With regards to corners, the steering is responsive, however missing really feel – no change from another A3 of this period – whereas there’s a surprisingly cozy trip, good physique management and agency roadholding. Even within the moist it nonetheless grips nicely, but it surely feels heavier than an everyday A3 (it’s 349kg heftier, in truth) underneath throttle and round corners. In isolation it doesn’t really feel obese although.
It’s also possible to drive the e-Tron at correct speeds in EV mode: it comfortably manages motorway speeds with zero emissions no hassle in any respect, though doing so does sap the battery’s reserves fairly shortly. Mix in good ranges of refinement and Audi’s constructed a real, premium eco-hatch.
Is it value shopping for a used one?
So, the A3 E-tron was progress for Audi, however extra of a tentative step than a revolution, particularly given gross sales of this technology resulted in 2020 – the most recent A3 Sportback TFSIe is already on sale.
Nonetheless, it has the benefit of familiarity whereas being a refined execution fairly than a grandiose assertion.
Late fashions had been the darlings of leasing corporations. So anticipate finding a whole bunch of three-year previous vehicles with full service histories and low mileages flooding the used automotive market. If yow will discover one at a very good value and you’ll usually cost, the A3 e-Tron hybrid is unquestionably value a glance.
Learn our evaluate of the most recent Audi A3