New Audi A3 plug-in hybrid: prices, specs and release date

Audi A3 40 TFSI e available to order now, with more powerful 45 TFSI e slated for spring 2021

Order books for the new plug-in hybrid A3 are now open. Badged 40 TFSI e, the car shares its powertrain with the plug-in hybrid versions of the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia – a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor with a combined 201bhp. Like those cars, the A3 40 TFSI e is front-wheel-drive only and uses a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Prices start at £33,060.

Audi has also announced a more powerful 45 TFSI e plug-in version of the A3. This model uses the same powertrain as the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Cupra Leon e-Hybrid and Skoda Octavia vRS iV – a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric-motor combination with a total of 242bhp, with power fed to the front wheels. The 45 TFSI e has already gone on sale in its native Germany and has been confirmed for the UK in spring 2021. Prices are likely to start somewhere around £37,000. 

Claimed figures for the 40 TFSI e are 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds, 282.5mpg fuel economy and around 41 miles of electric range from the 13kWh battery, along with CO2 emissions of 31g/km. The car can drive at speeds of up to 87mph on electric power alone.

It's worth noting that the emissions and economy figures here are from NEDC measurements, an outdated system that has all but been replaced by more realistic WLTP figures more commonly quoted by most manufacturers. In both cases, the quoted range is from WLTP, however, and the claimed 39-41 miles is pretty competitive with other small plug-in hybrids.

The 45 TFSI e reduces the 0-62mph sprint time to 6.8 seconds and increases top speed to 144mph. NEDC figures of 201.8mpg economy and 31-34g/km of CO2 are quoted, but again, these are not representative of real-world figures – nor comparable with rivals for now.

Elsewhere, there's the usual array of driving modes to make the most of the hybrid powertrain, including a hold function to retain battery charge until needed later in a journey. The A3 TFSI e starts in electric mode automatically, while a hybrid mode allows it to switch between both power sources to maximise efficiency.

Charging is limited to a maximum speed of 2.9kW via a Type 2 cable; Audi claims a full charge will take around four hours, or around five when connected by a three-pin cable to a domestic supply. The car's batteries eat into boot space slightly when compared to its petrol and diesel counterparts, down from 380 litres to 280. Space with the rear seats folded is 1,100 litres.

The latest A3 fits into the German brand’s current design philosophy, adding an aggressive front end with a redesigned hexagonal grille, a set of exaggerated wheelarches and LED lights front and rear. It retains the model's familiar proportions, but is slightly larger than before – albeit with an identical height and wheelbase.

Inside, the A3’s interior gets the modern Audi treatment: a slice of metal-effect trim bisects the ergonomically designed dashboard, which itself houses a 10.25-inch infotainment screen as standard alongside Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dials. A 12.3-inch screen is standard on higher trim levels, while Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa functionality are included.

The Audi A3 40 TFSI e can be specified in two trim levels – Sport or S line. The former gets 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, leather seats and dual-zone climate control as standard, while S line cars add 18-inch alloys, scrolling indicators and sports seats, among other upgrades. Buyers can opt for no-cost 17-inch alloys if they want to keep CO2 emissions down. Exact specifications for the more powerful 45 TFSI e will be confirmed in due course.

All of the latest Audi A3 models benefit from a great list of safety and driver assistance equipment, which includes (either as standard or on the options list) collision-avoidance assistance, lane-departure warning and a range of up-to-date parking sensors and 360-degree cameras. An optional Driver Assistance Package adds even more systems, including adaptive cruise control and high-beam assistance.

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