With plug-in hybrid versions of the Seat Leon and Volkswagen Golf already on sale in Europe, Audi has joined the fray by introducing not only a TFSI e variant of the new A3 Sportback, but also the Q3 and Q3 Sportback.
Compared to its petrol or diesel powered sibling, the A3’s visual changes, apart from the supplementary door on the left front wing hiding the charging port, are surprisingly prominent with the standard fitting of the black styling pack, upgraded brakes with 340 mm discs at the front and 310 mm at the rear as well as red calipers, 17-inch alloy wheels and from the options list, the Matrix LED headlights. No interior changes have taken place.
Like the Leon and Golf, the A3 is motivated by a 110 kW 1.4 TFSI engine combined with an 80 kW electric motor for a total system output of 180kW/400Nm. Paired to a six-speed S tronic gearbox with drive going to the front wheels, the A3 Sportback 45 TFSI e will get from 0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and top out at 232 km/h. The claimed all-electric range is 63 km with the top speed in this mode being limited to 140 km/h. Charging time from 0-100% using a conventional household socket is five hours.
In Germany, pricing kicks-off at €40 395 (R734 321) before rebates with Audi South Africa unlikely to bring it to market once the standard A3 arrives next year.
Lined-up against the A3 or indeed their siblings, the plug-in hybrid Q3 and Q3 Sportback are almost indistinguishable with the only difference being the mentioned flap for the charging socket.
Powered by the same engine as the A3, the Q3 sports a more powerful 85 kW battery which, surprisingly, has not had an effect on power or torque outputs with the combination providing the same 180kW/400Nm. Drive is also routed to the front wheels via a six-speed S tronic ‘box with Audi claiming a top speed of 210 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds for both. The all-electric range is however down to 51 km 50 km respectively with the all-electric top speed limited to 140 km/h.
In their home market, the Q3 45 TFSI e retails from €46 000 (R836 212) and the Q3 Sportback 45 TFSI e from €47 400 (R861 662) before rebates. Like the A3, neither the Q3 or the Q3 Sportback is earmarked for South Africa.