Audi Q3 45 TFSIe S

tronic Black Edition

Audi Q3 45 TFSI e, 2020, front
Audi Q3 45 TFSI e, 2020, side
Audi Q3 45 TFSI e, 2020, rear
Audi Q3 45 TFSI e, 2020, interior
Audi Q3 45 TFSI e, 2020, rear seats
Audi Q3, boot

AUDI'S Q3 has long been one of its most popular models in both diesel and petrol format, but now there's a plug-in hybrid version to tempt buyers anxious to improve their environmental credentials.

And for business buyers the low emissions level it boasts - 44 g/km - means it makes good financial sense too as it can dramatically reduce their Benefit-in-Kind tax.

Like all plug-in hybrids the Q3 is designed to use a petrol engine mated to an electric motor for smooth, efficient and economical motoring. In this case a 1.4-litre TFSI engine and a 85kW electric motor.

And while the engine size might sound small to some potential buyers the electric backup means it develops a hefty 242 bhp giving it a sharp 0-62 miles per hour sprint time of just 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 139 mph.

As plug-in hybrids go I found the new Q3 one of the easiest to live with because of its varied and simplistic charging mode options.

In theory you're supposed to plug your Q3 into the mains on a regular basis to ensure you maintain optimum battery power. But if you are on the go all day a touch on the EV driving mode button allows you to use the car's touchscreen to programme it to either maintain a certain battery level or to charge it to its maximum using the engine.

And while other cars offer similar options the Audi is the most efficient I've come across.

With a full battery you can switch to electric power alone to give you up to 29 miles of emission-free motoring. Ideal for when driving through towns and cities.

And despite being a plug-in hybrid this car still comes with Audi drive select to allow you to toggle between comfort, auto, dynamic and individual settings for when you want to change your driving style, plus there are paddles behind the steering wheel for hands-on gear changing.

The car driven here is the Black Edition, which means the addition of a black styling pack to add even more kerb appeal to the already distinctive Q3.

The pack includes black door mirror housings, black side skirts and black highlights to the radiator grille, window trims and air intakes.

On the inside there's a black cloth headlining, piano blacks inserts on the dashboard and a nice combination of leather and suede seats - in black. Just one criticism though. With such a deep windscreen the sun visors too need to be deeper to guard against glare when the sun is low in the sky.

On the road there's plenty of instant power when running on both petrol and electric power and even when you run out of battery power the four-cylinder engine still packs a punch.

What is surprising is just how often you notice the revs drop back and you are running on the electric motor alone to ensure cheap motoring.

Put the accelerator down hard and the engine immediately cuts back in to give you optimum power, so giving you the best of both worlds.

FAST FACTS

Audi Q3 45 TFSIe S tronic Black Edition

Price: £45,700

Mechanical: 1.395cc four-cylinder petrol engine plus 85 kW electric motor producing 242 bhp, driving the front wheels via 6-speed S tronic automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 139mph

0-62mph: 7.3 secs

Combined MPG: 33

Insurance Group:44 g/km

C02 emissions: 2 %

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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