2021 Audi A3 plug-in hybrid: prices, specs and release date
Audi A3 40 TFSI e and 45 TFSI e available to order now; plug-in hybrid powertrains only available in A3 Sportback, not saloon
The 2021 Audi A3 Sportback is available in plug-in hybrid form, with a choice of two powertrains: 40 TFSI e and 45 TFSI e. The plug-in hybrid hatchback is also available in three trim levels, with prices starting from £33,550.
The A3 40 TFSI e shares its powertrain with the plug-in hybrid versions of the SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia. This is the model we’ve tested; it features a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor that combined produce 201bhp. Like its SEAT and Skoda counterparts, the A3 40 TFSI e is front-wheel-drive only and uses a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Prices start at £33,550 for the A3 40 TFSI e in Sport trim, and £35,450 in S Line trim.
The 45 TFSI e is the more powerful plug-in version of the A3, and uses the same powertrain as the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Cupra Leon e-Hybrid and Skoda Octavia vRS iV. It uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric-motor combination that produces a total of 242bhp, with power fed to the front wheels, too. The 45 TFSI e is only available in the top-of-the-range S Line Competition trim and starts from £37,200.
According to Audi, the A3 40 TFSI e is capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds, 282.5mpg fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 25-30g/km in both Sport and S Line trim. The more powerful 45 TFSI e, meanwhile, is capable of 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, can return up to 235.4mpg and emits 29-30g/km of CO2.
All plug-in hybrid versions of the A3 feature a 13kWh battery, which make the electrified hatchback capable of up to 41 miles of pure-electric driving in Sport trim, while the S Line and S Line competition variants have a 37-mile zero-emissions driving range due to their larger wheels. You can also drive at speeds of up to 87mph on electric power alone.
Figures for all the A3 TFSI e variants are impressive for a small plug-in hybrid hatchback, and on par with rivals like the Mercedes A-Class and BMW X1 hybrids, as well as the A3’s SEAT, Skoda and VW plug-in hybrid counterparts.
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 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 the 10.1-inch infotainment screen that sits alongside the 10.25-inch display for Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital dials. All models also come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa functionality too.
Audi A3 40 TFSI e Sport models get 17-inch alloys, LED headlights, leather seats and dual-zone climate control as standard, while S Line models add 18-inch alloys, scrolling indicators and sports seats, among other upgrades. But buyers can opt for no-cost 17-inch alloys if they want to keep CO2 emissions down.
S Line Competition models not only get the potent powertrain, but they also come with diamond cut 18-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers and the ‘black styling pack’ which includes black exterior trim on the grille and window frames.
All of the latest Audi A3 models benefit from a long 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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