‘A stake in the ground’ was how Audi described the plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron .
The firm’s flirtation with electric propulsion has been prolonged – the original R8-styled e-tron concept was shown at Geneva five years ago – but the Sportback is the first production model to actually adopt the badge. Its not the only Audi or Volkswagen Group member to adopt a hybrid system, with the Q7 e-tron, Golf GTE and Passat GTE all part of the fraternity.
Nic Cackett
Road tester
Audi employed hybrid power in its R18 to win Le Mans
The wait, says Audi, is due to its insistence that a zero-emissions-capable Audi ought not to be either a second-car compromise or too huge a leap for its buyers to understand.
Thus its EV comes packaged as a plug-in hybrid that doesn’t require a great deal of plugging in, has grunt to spare and is virtually indistinguishable from any other A3. Even after the A3 range was given a mild facelift in 2016 – the e-tron was also given a light makeover.
It also comes with some easily understood headline claims: 37g/km of CO2, 7.6sec to 62mph and a 580-mile range.
The implied lack of trade-off is compelling, and with only its sister car – the Volkswagen Golf GTE – for immediate company, Audi’s initial electrified offering seems uncannily well judged.
Could this be the consummate petrol/electric hybrid we’ve been waiting for? Read our review to find out whether it’s a lit bulb or a blown fuse.

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