Falling in a class all of its own with regard to the Audi range, the A3 e-tron is the plug-in hybrid version of the standard A3 model.
As expected, only minor differences set apart this example from the stock compact, as it represent a departure point only with regard to the propulsion method employed.
The fascia features the signature grill that occupies most of the front bumper. Chrome detailing, as opposed to black plastic now adorn its surface. The headlamps contain LED day running lights that have a distinctive pattern when lit.
The side profile remains the same as the one from the A3 hatchback, but now the mirrors have the lower portion painted black and include slim, clear glass indicators. The 17 inch rims have a new design, but you’re not allowed to have a different one for free; instead, four other standard choices await, with prices starting from £250 up to the 18 inch versions which cost £995.
The Mythos Black metallic paint, costing a further £525, is by far the classiest choice you could make, as it gives the e-tron a distinct and elegant appearance, in tone with its extravagant name.
In the interior, there are 4 choices of upholstery from the Rallye Cloth range, but for leather and Alcantara you will have to pay extra, the cheapest being the black/titanium grey, at £795 and the most expensive one, Milano Orange at £2.250.
The e-tron trim line comes with only one engine choice. A 1.4 litre petrol engine developing 150 horsepower is coupled to an electric motor, the total output being 204 horsepower. The hybrid construction allows it to reach a top speed of 138 miles per hour, with the 0 to 62 sprint taking place in 7.6 seconds. There is only one transmission available, a tried and tested 7-speed S-Tronic, that offers short gear changes and doesn’t hinder the smooth ride in any way.
Having only 37g/km of CO2 emissions means that it’s free from both road and congestion tax and it complies with the strict Euro 6 regulations. The fuel economy is astounding, the mixed cycle reported by Audi being 176.6 miles per gallons, which justifies the high asking price of the car – £34,950, without any fancy extras such as leather upholstery.
You can either select to run on the TFSI petrol engine alone, on pure electric power or in hybrid mode, which combines both power plants. Push aside the front Audi logo and behind it lies a camouflaged charging point, to which you can connect a power plug. A full charge from a specialized charging station will be done in approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, whilst a normal charging socket will be able to top-up the battery is about 4 hours.