The new Audi A3 40 TFSI e shares its powertrain with plug-in hybrid versions of the new Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Superb; the 1.4-litre petrol engine works alongside an electric motor to produce a total output of 201bhp which, S3 aside, makes it the most powerful powertrain option in the current A3 line-up.
The petrol and electric units produce maximum torque figures of 250Nm and 330Nm respectively, though both produce their peaks at different points, resulting in a total combined output of 350Nm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.
The A3 40 TFSI e accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds – 0.8 seconds quicker than the 148bhp A3 35 TFSI petrol auto.
A 13kWh battery pack promises a range of approximately 41 miles between charges. CO2 emissions are rated at 31g/km, while it achieves 282.5mpg on the WLTP testing cycle – though this will vary based on the type of journeys undertaken.
The car starts in electric mode by default, and the driver can choose to run in an electric-only mode, at which point the 107bhp motor can take the A3 up to a zero emission 87mph top speed. A regular hybrid mode allows the car to figure out what it deems to be the most efficient use of petrol and electric energy, while a hold function keeps a certain level of charge in the battery – ideal for saving some battery life for a low emission zone later in the journey.
Much of the braking force in everyday driving is taken care of by motor regeneration. Instead of grabbing the regular brake calipers, any deceleration of up to 0.3 g uses the motor to send up to 40kW of energy back into the battery to prolong range.
When parked, the battery can be charged through a Type 2 connection. From empty to full, the process takes four hours, and drivers using the myAudi app can schedule the charge time to make the most of cheaper electricity tariffs.
The need to accommodate a fuel tank and the hybrid tech has compromised practicality; boot space drops from the standard A3’s 380-litre volume to 280 litres. With the rear seats folded, this figure rises to 1,100 litres.
The A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e will be offered in two trim levels. Sport models get 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights (matrix LED units are optional) dual-zone climate control, leather seats, and safety systems like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, turn assist and swerve assist.
S-Line models get 18-inch alloy wheels, but due to the fact that these increase the CO2 emissions slightly, Audi offers smaller 17-inch items as a no-cost option. Other additions include LED rear lights with scrolling indicators, privacy glass, front sport seats with contrast stitching, and different interior trims.
Click here to read our review of the new Audi S3 Sportback…