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.
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.
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%.
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.