Audi has revealed that its new A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid will arrive in the UK market by mid-2014.

It's due to go on sale in Europe for approximately €38,000, meaning the e-tron should cost around £32,700 here.

Designed to offer the benefits of an electric vehicle with unrestricted range, the A3 Sportback e-tron features a conventional petrol engine coupled to an electric motor.

Its 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine delivers 148bhp and 184lb ft; the electric motor, which is integrated into the car's six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, can output 101bhp and 243lb ft.

Combined, the system can develop a total of 201bhp and 258lb ft. This grants the front-drive A3 e-tron a 0-62mph time of 7.6sec and a top speed of 138mph; more impressively it means a claimed average of 188mpg and CO2 emissions of just 35g/km.

The A3 can be charged from a domestic socket in around four hours. A faster dedicated charging point, capable of completing the same process in two hours, will be available for less than £1,000. 

With an 8.8kWh battery storing current for the electric motor, the A3 Sportback e-tron has a potential all-electric range of 31 miles.

Total range, if using both petrol and electric power sources, is stated to be in the region of 553 miles. As the A3 e-tron is a plug-in hybrid, you can also simply refuel the car and continue on your way, even if the drive battery is totally flat.

A variety of powertrain modes will be offered as standard, including a 'hold' function that saves the battery for when you want to drive on electric power alone, for example in city centres.

It's expected that the Audi A3 e-tron will take its place in the range with its own distinct trim level, which is reputed to offer a decent amount of equipment and various customisation options.

The manufacturer also states that the servicing regime will be comparable to that of a standard A3.

An Audi engineer said "The A3 e-tron will be the benchmark car for plug-in hybrids."