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Audi A3 e-tron review | Auto Express

Audi A3 e-tron review | Auto Express

Audi A3 e-tron review | Auto Express
September 15
15:05 2017



The Audi A3 Sportback is not the most engaging driver’s car. The e-tron variant does benefit from standard-fit dynamic suspension, and feels surefooted and brisk. But as a driver you’re always aware of the extra weight in the car. Steering feel is lacking, and while response to wheel inputs is quick and direct, compared to the standard Sportback, the heavier e-tron can feel a little less wieldy and a bit less sharp to turn in.

Like all Audi A3 models, the suspension is firm and not as supple as the best in class. But the body is well controlled, and if you tackle a B-road with gusto the car feels safe and composed. There’s plenty of grip too, but while it’s possible to drive the e-tron quickly from A to B, that underlying sense of inertia means it’s not a particularly engaging experience. 

Most people buying an e-tron will be looking for the economy advantages the hybrid powertrain offers, so will very likely be satisfied with the experience. Driven moderately, the car performs very well.

Engines

The 1.4-litre TFSI engine is a turbocharged petrol unit that makes a handy 148bhp, and when you add the extra power from the electric motor the total 201bhp output sounds pretty serious. Unfortunately, the extra weight of the batteries means the e-tron weighs-in at 1,540kgs and this has a dampening effect on performance. The 0-62mph time is respectable at 7.6 seconds, but from the driver’s seat it never quite feels that quick.

The dual-clutch auto gearbox is generally smooth, but when the battery is low on juice it can get a bit clunky when transitioning between electric or petrol drive. The latest e-tron doesn’t have a petrol charging mode, so you’re reliant on whatever you put in the batteries when plugged in, and the bit of energy you can recoup through regenerative braking or when coasting.

A full plug-in charge should allow you 29 miles in electric mode, while a Hybrid setting manages battery and petrol power to maximise efficiency. The final setting, Hybrid Hold, conserves the battery for use later – in a city, for example. The petrol engine also has cylinder deactivation technology, to further improve efficiency.



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