Audi A3 e-tron (2014) Review

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Audi A3 e-tron (2014) At A Glance

Plug in hybrid. Generally very refined. Quick and loses nothing of the conventional A3 understated class. Fuel-free mileage potential is alluring.

Ride quality and tyre noise issues are thorns in its side. Loss of some boot space may be a problem for some. Real world running costs could be substantial with high daily mileage.

Insurance Group 29
On average it achieves 73% of the official MPG figure

The Audi A3 e-tron of 2014 is Audi's first plug-in hybrid released to the UK market.

The Audi A3 sits at the top of the premium hatchback tree, owing largely to its very effective blend of perceived build quality, low running costs, useful practicality and gimmick-free styling.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron builds on this base to produce a car with all that, plus the sort of claimed fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures that were the stuff of Anita Roddick’s fantasies not too long ago. That concoction, thinks Audi, makes the e-tron a very edible cake in a very niche market:  there were only around 5000 cars of this type sold in 2013.

‘Cars of this type’ are plug-in petrol-electric hybrids not self-charging hybrids like the Lexus CT200h. Their post plug-in electric range is usually between 20 and 30 miles, whereas the electric range of a self charging hybrid is usually less than a mile and only in very specific low speed circumstances. In theory, as long as he also kept the 12v battery charges as well as the hybrid battery, a low mileage used would, in theory, never tap into its fuel tank.

It’s the same setup found in the Volkswagen Golf GTE, though in that application it’s very much an aid to eco-conscious performance, whereas Audi sees the A3 e-tron as a refined and futuristic diesel-killer.

A look at the figures makes it clear why Audi feels that way - 37g/km CO2 and 176.6mpg claimed average fuel consumption. And it has 204PS channelled through a six-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox, so it can hit 62mph from nought in 7.6 seconds. That’s what Audi calls progress.

And because it’s an electric car, it qualifies for the government’s £5000 electric mobility grant – which is a good job, because the list price for this fancy hatchback is just shy of £35,000. You won’t pay annual VED for your digital tax disc, at least, so there’s a few bob saved.

Unlike the rest of the Audi A3 range, the e-tron is only available as a Sportback and with one trim level. As befits the price, however, it dishes up a lot of equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels, MMI HDD-based navigation with seven-inch touch screen, 10GB flash music storage, DAB radio, two-zone climate control, front sports seats, LED headlights, rear LED lights and plenty more.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Road Test

Looking for a Audi A3 e-tron (2014 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Real MPG average for a Audi A3 e-tron (2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

73%

Real MPG

85–131 mpg

MPGs submitted

16

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

ASK HJ

Is a cam belt change necessary?
I own a 2015 Audi A3 e-tron plug in hybrid, and find it brilliant in every way. It was our main car but 18 months ago I passed it on to my wife, who only does short, local journeys. These are short enough for battery only. The engine is only occasionally started, and given a short run. Her annual milage is under 2000. It has always been run on Shell super unleaded. Audi have advised me to have a cam belt change, costing £900. I think the way the car is used cannot justify that sort of expense, and would like to just keep it for another few years and use in the manner I describe above. Is this foolish or sensible?
The Audi dealer is right, the timing belt needs to be changed every five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first). The rubber compound in the belt degrades over time and the pulleys become worn. The belt itself can also become slack. It's very unwise to leave it. If the belt snaps or becomes loose, it'll wreck the engine. If cost is a concern, use an independent Audi specialist. The quality of the work will be the same as the dealer, but you'll save at least at third on the costs. You should be able to find one with our God Garage Guide: https://good-garage-guide.honestjohn.co.uk
Answered by Dan Powell
What's the battery life of a plug-in hybrid?
I am thinking of buying a plug-in hybrid. I quite like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volkswagen Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron. What do you know about battery longevity in these cars?
No reports of failure of the lithium ion hybrid batteries so far. All of these vehicles work best if you do regular sub 20 mile journeys and can charge them from the mains beforehand. The VAG cars work better over long distances at lowish speeds because they have very clever autonomous recharging systems.
Answered by Honest John

What does a Audi A3 e-tron (2014) cost?

Buy new from £21,174 (list price from £23,300)
Contract hire from £219.18 per month
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