What is it?
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is the plug-in hybrid offering within the updated Audi A3 range. The entire line-up has had a nip here and a tuck here and here, while this Sportback e-tron model specifically has benefited from an injection of tech on the inside and a tweaked appearance externally, although it remains mechanically unchanged.
That means it still carries a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor in the front, driving through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while under the rear seats lives an 8.8kWh lithium ion battery. All that equates to a claimed - and extremely optimistic - official combined consumption figure of 166.2mpg and just 38g/km of CO2 emissions. This will be music to the ears of business buyers hoping to run a plush hatchback with low, tax-friendly monthly bills.
However, as with many hybrid options in the class – the Volkswagen Golf GTE and BMW 330e included – there are some drawbacks to the e-tron. Aside from its higher list price versus mainstream diesel A3s, it also has to lug around the extra weight of its electric motor and battery, which in turn impacts on its dynamic ability. Furthermore, fuel economy is typically never as jaw-dropping as the official figures suggest, and the electric-only range is often more limited, too.
Even so, the e-tron looks to have an enticing blend of performance, economy and practicality. Audi claims a total power output of 201bhp and a 0-62mph time of 7.6sec, which put it in line with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTD.