Audi A3 Sportback

e-tron 1.4 TFSI S


Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, front
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, action
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, front, action
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, side
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, rear
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, interior
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, rear seats
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, boot

BEING at the wheel of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is driving the future.

This is the first plug-in hybrid to join the Audi range and it promises great things - like a potential 176mpg.

The car offers versatile power options. You can plug it in to a home socket or garage point to charge its batteries, use it as a hybrid in conjunction with its 1.4 petrol engine, or use the petrol engine on a long run to charge up the batteries to give around 30 miles of urban electric power - especially useful in congestion charged areas.

It ticks the box of offering zero local emissions driving without sacrificing range, but the beauty of this car is the amazing speed at which it charges its own batteries.

The e-tron removes a number of the stumbling blocks associated with electric or part electric cars and takes the game way ahead of ordinary hybrids.

Priced at £34,950 (excluding UK government incentives which will reduce that by £5,000), this car is not cheap but it is so capable in a modern environment.

Electric power makes for amazing fuel economy and the scope for low CO2 emissions of 37g/km.

But the trick is that Audi has managed it all without compromise to performance. For instance a combined 204ps of system power and a good amount of torque adds up to 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds with a 137mph top speed.

And you don't have to keep the electric power for pussyfooting around town. This one gives a true 31 miles of electric power at up to 80mph which should be good enough to silence even the harshest critics of electric vehicles.

As the price would suggest there is little to suggest skimping on this model with LED headlights, HDD navigation and Audi connect Internet-based services setting the scene for some enjoyable driving.

The A3 is the perfect springboard for Audi to enter the plug-in hybrid fray.

Being the 2014 World Car of the Year ensures that the model has some powerful feathers in its cap as a spacious five-door compact hatchback.

For the next few years at least, plug-in hybrids should make the running with their complete freedom from range limitations.

The modified 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine features a peak power output of 150ps, and is linked by a clutch to a 75kw electric motor, which is integrated into a specially developed six-speed S tronic transmission sending power to the front wheels. Combined, the two power units generate 204ps.

There is also a function known as 'boosting' - by initiating kickdown of the S tronic transmission. In this mode the full 350Nm torque output is deployed for the strongest possible acceleration, but when the driver stops accelerating both motors temporarily deactivate, eliminating motor braking torque and allowing the car to glide to conserve fuel and recuperate energy.

Up to medium loads the motor can also function as an alternator, making a significant contribution to retardation and recovering energy which is fed into the traction battery. In this mode the wheel brakes only become active if the driver applies moderate force to the pedal.

Four key settings are available - the EV mode gives priority to electric drive, the hybrid auto mode is useful for long journeys as it engages the electric motor wherever possible, the hybrid hold mode preserves the electrical energy stored in the battery for later use and the hybrid charge mode uses the combustion engine as a generator to charge the battery.


Audi A3 Sportback e-tron 1.4 TFSI S tronic

Price: £34,950

Mechanical:204ps, 1,398cc, 4cyl petrol engine with electric motor driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 173

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 37g/km

Bik rating:5%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles


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