Audi A3 line-up expanded with 242bhp plug-in hybrid option

8 December 2020 - autocar

Audi A3 line-up expanded with 242bhp plug-in hybrid option

Second PHEV variant of Audi's hatchback brings performance boost and bespoke styling

The new Audi A3 45 TFSIe has gone on sale in Germany as the most powerful plug-in hybrid version of the premium hatchback.

Priced from €41,440 (£37,830), the new addition offers a power and performance hike over the existing 40 TFSIe for a premium that will translate to around £3500 when the model arrives in the UK early next year.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain, as in the lower-powered A3, marries a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to a 107bhp electric motor in the gearbox for combined system outputs of 242bhp and 295lb ft. This is the same as in the A3 45 TFSIe's Cupra Leon e-Hybrid sibling.

Boosts of 41bhp and 37lb ft enable the top-rung A3 hybrid to accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.8sec - a 0.8sec improvement over the 40 TFSIe - and achieve a top speed of 144mph.

Electric-only range is a WLTP-certified 39.1 miles, but full consumption and emissions figures are yet to be released.

Aside from the performance-enhancing software tweaks, the more powerful A3 hybrid is mechanically identical to its sibling. Power is still sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox and the 13.0kWh battery under the rear seats still accepts a maximum charging speed of 2.9kW. A full charge can be achieved from a 230V outlet in around five hours.

Drive is split automatically between the electric and combustion motors in Auto Hybrid mode, while Battery Hold and Battery Charge prioritise the engine to preserve the energy in the battery. Full EV mode can be selected when the battery has adequate charge.

Inside, save for the integration of EV-specific displays for the MMI touchscreen, the 45 TFSIe is unchanged from the standard A3. From outside, it's marked out by is black grille and trim elements, 17in brake discs with red callipers and standard-fit privacy glass.

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