Audi-A3-e-tron-002MR is driving the Audi A3 e-tron and has been sitting down with the notepad and reflecting. Here were our thoughts as we sipped our coffee…

  1. The A3 e-tron is based on the Audi A3 Sportback, the version with five doors and winner of the 2014 World Car of the Year Award.
  2. It’s a “plug-in hybrid” which means it combines a petrol engine with a battery that is charged by the engine, by plugging in at home or at public charging station.
  3. Audi claims the A3 e-tron will cover up to 31 miles on battery power alone – twice the distance of a Toyota Prius plug-in.
  4. The petrol engine is a 1.4-litre unit with a turbocharger, producing 150hp. The electric motor, adds another 100hp. So the Audi A3 e-tron is powerful and fast when both are working in unison.
  5. There are four driving modes that range from making the most of the electric power, to saving it for later. You choose.
  6. The A3 e-tron can be driven at up to 80mph on electric power alone. But at that speed the range may be just 10 miles before automatically switching over to petrol power.
  7. Automatic transmission is standard.
  8. It takes four hours to recharge the battery from a domestic socket, two hours and 15 minutes from a dedicated charge point.
  9. It’s very difficult state a definitive fuel consumption figure – everything depends on the length of your journey. Short trips on electric power alone give the lowest running costs.  If you max out the possible range on one trip – 584 miles – the actual economy is just 66mpg – and that’s not accounting for the cost of charging the battery before you leave. Pretty much the same as the Audi A3 2.0 TDI, then.
  10. The official figure for the A3 e-tron is 176mpg. That compares with 68.9mpg for the Lexus CT200 hybrid, which isn’t a plug-in, and 470mpg for the BMW i3 range extender model. CO2 of the A3 e-tron is just 37g/km – great for low business car tax.
  11. Inside it is pretty much regular Audi A3, though the luggage space is down by 25%.
  12. There’s plenty of equipment on the Audi A3 e-tron that is extra cost on other A3s. Like satellite navigation, sports seats, rear parking sensors, DAB radio, LED headlights and a host of special styling features.
  13. The £34,950 price tag is £10k more than the A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI. But with the £5k government grant, plus all that additional equipment, the A3 e-tron is really not that much more expensive than the diesel.