EV Review: 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
In its second year of production, the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron exhibits the German premium automakers commitment to alternative fuels. This particular model seems to be exactly what the segment wants – the A3 Sportback e-tron makes up 13% of the Audi A3’s sales. Its classic Audi styling is unique to the model as the sportback design is only used in the e-tron version. Yet, while it has a differentiating look, it’s not so much as to be off-putting or uber-futuristic, as carmakers are so keen to do.
The jump into a plug-in hybrid model from the standard A3 is a mild bump, with entry-level pricing starting at under $40,000. While that’s a good thing, the electric-only range is paltry at just 16 miles. Still, the overall fuel efficiency is incredible as a hybrid model, which is surely a major attraction for A3 Sportback e-tron buyers.
It’s already been mentioned that the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron uses the sportback style exclusively for the hybrid trim. While it’s unique to the e-tron, the looks do not betray the premium nature of Audi vehicles. All too often, carmakers try to make a splash with advanced models, and that’s distracting to buyers. With a functional wagon design, impressive cargo space, and traditional Audi looks, the 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron fits into the lineup easily.
The Audi singleframe grille, LED taillights, panoramic sunroof, available full LED headlights, and a neatly-placed charging port in the grille all make the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron a great contender for plug-in hybrid cars at the premium level, at least where looks are concerned.
Fit and Finish Interior
It’s as beautiful inside as it is on the outside. The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron has the style, comfort, and premium options you expect from Audi. Eight-way power heated front seats, a brilliant three-spoke steering wheel with controls, a panoramic sunroof, Audi advanced keyless system, and rearview camera as standard features are just the start. MMI Navigation and Bang & Olufsen Sound System are available on the Prestige trim, as well as the Audi smartphone interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
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Comfort is a top priority for the 2017 Audi A3 Sportbak e-tron, as it always is on all models. Leather seating surfaces are standard on all trims, and Sport Package adds well-bolstered front seats as well. Prestige trims get an impressive 3D inlay design for interior trim. There’s also ambient LED lighting for the interior, and the Prestige trim also receives rain-sensing wipers and automatic lighting.
Driver assist features are available on the Premium Plus and Prestige trims including Parking System Plus, Audi Side Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Assist, and Audi adaptive cruise control with stop and go technology.
At once, when you experience the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron in action, it just feels right. The gas-powered portion of the powertrain is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder. Paired with a 75-kW electric motor, the total output for this car is 204 combined horsepower. It feels like so much more than that as the immediate torque availability from the electric motor gives fantastic acceleration – just 7.6 seconds from zero to 60 mph.
MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension are nothing new to Audi cars. Yet, the lightweight aluminum and the hybrid battery’s low-mounted placement help the A3 Sportback e-tron handle like it’s on rails. The electric power steering is weighty, giving precise steering feel much like a hydraulic system would.
The driver has selectable modes, depending on their type of driving. EV mode allows for short-distance drives at 55 mph max, and just 16 miles of range on full electric and at 83 MPGe. Hybrid gives you the best performance, and the functional efficiency is roughly 40 mpg combined gas and electric. The dual-clutch transmission is phenomenal for this model, and the electric brake booster makes for excellent brake feel in full-electric mode.
If only the full-electric range were significantly improved, this PHEV would be unstoppable.
|Electric Range||16 Miles / 25 Kms|
|Total Range||380 Miles / 612 Kms|
|Time to Charge||2.25 Hours (Level 2)|
|Electric Motor||75 kW|
|Battery Capacity||8.8 kWh|
|Top Speed||130 Mph / 209 Km/h|
|Warranty||4 Years / 50,000 Miles or 80,000 Kms|
The best parts of the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron are the components that all Audi models have. It’s the attention to interior detail and the dedication to reliable performance that impress the most. The A3 Sportback e-tron’s performance is good, although the fact that it’s a plug-in hybrid definitely won’t be the biggest factor for purchasers – the EV range simply isn’t long enough to warrant the purchase on its own. Should Audi improve the EV range beyond 16 miles – up to 50 miles, for example – the A3 e-tron would make many more perk up. Most 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron buyers will probably be in the business-class segment, mainly looking for the wagon design with premium features.