Audi A3 Sportback 45 TFSI e

Electricity gains a little more velocity in the Audi A3 range this week as a new, more powerful 45 TFSI e version of the Sportback lines up alongside the recently launched 40 TFSI e model, bringing prospective purchasers of the compact plug-in hybrid hatchback a choice of outputs for the first time at this level. With peak system power of 245PS and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of system torque, the newcomer has an even greater propensity for performance that will be reflected in its positioning as a top-tier S line Competition model when it becomes available in the UK early in 2021.

Director of Audi UK, Andrew Doyle, welcomed the diversification in the A3 range, saying: "Audi established firm foundations for plug-in hybrid drive in the compact class with the A3 Sportback e-tron back in 2014. Now we have very effectively built on these by not only comprehensively updating the format for the A3 Sportback TFSI e, but also by introducing that format to the compact SUV segment for the first time in the new Q3 TFSI e."

"By branching out the A3 range with an additional TFSI e S line Competition model that promises to broaden appeal through even stronger performance, without appreciably eroding the fundamental efficiency of the concept and the attractive BIK proposition it consequently presents for business users."

Like its sister model, the new A3 Sportback 45 TFSI e is equipped with a 1.4-litre combustion engine with 150 PS and 250 Nm (184.4 lb-ft) of torque which is complemented by a permanently excited synchronous electric motor contributing 80 kW and 330 Nm (243.4 lb-ft) of torque. Control software gives this new version its 41 PS and 50 Nm (36.9 lb-ft) power and torque advantage over the A3 40 TFSI e by regulating the interplay between the two power sources even more precisely to further enhance their complementary operation, particularly under maximum power. The electric motor is integrated into the housing of the six-speed S tronic transmission, which drives the front wheels. It is fed by a lithium-ion battery with a package of 96 prismatic cells capable of storing 13.0 kWh of energy, and of charging with a maximum of 2.9 kW. An empty battery can be recharged in around five hours using a domestic AC wallbox charger.

Powerful performance and long range With a system output of 245 PS and 400 Nm (295.0 lb-ft) of system torque, the compact PHEV model has the potential to accelerate from rest to 62mph in 6.8 seconds, and to continue to a top speed of 144mph. When efficiency is the focus it can travel at up to 87mph without intervention by the petrol engine, and has proved in the WLTP test that it can do so for up to 37 emission-free miles. The WLTP tests also showed that the hybrid drivetrain can deliver up to 235.4 MPG with CO2 output of as little as 29 g/km, which works in favour of a competitive Benefit-in-Kind taxation rate for business users of 10%.

Four driving modes for high efficiency In "Auto Hybrid" mode, which is the main operating mode, the combustion engine and the electric motor divide the work intelligently. Depending on the situation and the driver's preference, the car can coast, recuperate – in overrun mode and while braking – or boost by fully engaging the electric motor and TFSI.

When the driver selects the "Battery hold" or "Battery charge" modes, the hybrid management maintains the state of charge of the battery at a constant level or increases it in a targeted manner. Electric drive can be prioritised using the EV button, and further functions are also controllable via the central MMI display, the S tronic transmission or the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. The status of the hybrid drive system is presented to the driver on the 10.1-inch MMI Touch display and in the standard 12.3-inch fully digital Audi virtual cockpit, the former displaying information on the energy flow between the various components and the latter also featuring a powermeter that displays the system's output and operating mode, the recuperation activity, the battery's state of charge and the range..

Sports equipment As well as the touch screen MMI Touch infotainment system and the Audi Virtual Cockpit, standard features of the A3 Sportback 45 TFSI e S line Competition also include navigation and web-based Audi connect services, dual-zone electronic climate control, front sport seats with S embossing, twin leather upholstery and the assistance systems Audi pre sense front, lane departure warning, turn assist and swerve assist.

Externally, exclusive S line styling details are complemented by privacy glass, a black styling package that darkens elements such as the grille surround, window cappings and door mirror housings, and 18-inch 5-Y-spoke design alloy wheels in graphite grey. Red calipers draw attention to the brake discs sitting behind these, which are larger than those of the 40 TFSI e, measuring 340 millimetres in diameter at the front and 310 millimetres at the rear. The headlamps and tail lights with their dynamic rear indicators use LED technology as standard, and can be optionally upgraded to include Matrix LED headlamp units that illuminate with even more depth and precision and feature dynamic cornering lights. The digital daytime running lights incorporated in these upgraded units comprise 15 LED segments which generate an E-shaped light signature – the symbol of the plug-in hybrid drive.