2018 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron Hybrid

#10
in Compact hatchbacks
2018 MODEL

$39,500 - $48,100

8.5

Overall Rating

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Overview

EVs are the next big revolution in the automotive world and Audi seems to be working tirelessly in bringing the best out of the EV technology. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid is one such vehicle that has come forward hoping to cement the future of hybrid vehicles. The car aims to lure buyers with its luxurious and practical approach to fix our world's emission woes.

Being a plug-in hybrid, the 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is powered by a 1.4-liter TFSI 4 cylinder and an electric motor working in tandem. Both the motors put on a combined output of 204 hp sent to the front wheels. On the inside, the cabin is more or less similar to Audi A3 sedan which means you can expect the same rock-solid finish and well-placed ergonomics from this car as well.

See detailed review »

Pros

Excellent fuel efficiency both on the highway and city

Silent and roomy cabin

Appropriately sporty for an EV

Cons

Extra weight hampers the drive dynamics

Expensive to buy

Low electric range

What's New?

Audi's signature virtual cockpit now available

New front and rear fascias

Audi's pre sense front collision warning

A panoramic sunroof



Styles

 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid in Ibis White color  2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid in Mythos Black Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid in Nano Gray Metallic color  2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid in Tango Red Metallic color
Ibis White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

5.2

Engine

9.6

Interior

7.9

Exterior

9.4

Safety

9.0

Driving

9.6

8.5

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Automatic, Seats: 5

$39,500

Configurations
1.4 TFSI PHEV Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
Seating: 5 HP: 150-hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 184 lbs.-ft. @ 1,600 rpm MPG(Combined): MPG(36)

 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid 1.4 TFSI PHEV Premium Plus

1.4 TFSI PHEV Premium Plus

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Automatic, Seats: 5

$42,600

Configurations
1.4 TFSI PHEV Premium Plus 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
Seating: 5 HP: 204 -hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. MPG(Combined): MPG(36)

 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron hybrid 1.4 TFSI PHEV Prestige

1.4 TFSI PHEV Prestige

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Automatic, Seats: 5

$48,100

Configurations
1.4 TFSI PHEV Prestige 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6AM)
Seating: 5 HP: 204 -hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. MPG(Combined): MPG(36)

Expert Review


CARHP Editorial October 24, 2018

8.5

Overall Rating


5.2/10
Features

 

9.6/10
Engine

 
 

7.9/10
Interior

 

9.4/10
Exterior

 

9.0/10
Safety

 
 
 

Being a plug-in hybrid, the 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is powered by a 1.4-liter TFSI 4 cylinder and an electric motor working in tandem. Both the motors put on a combined output of 204 hp sent to the front wheels. On the inside, the cabin is more or less similar to Audi A3 sedan which means you can expect the same rock-solid finish and well-placed ergonomics from this car as well.

Features

5.2/10

The 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is available in a total of three trims, Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The standard features of the base trim include heated(front) leather seats, panoramic sunroof and Audi advanced keyless start, stop and entry. These features make even the base A3 e-tron a very interesting proposition.

Trims Premium Premium Plus Prestige
MSRP $39,500 $42,600 $48,100
Key Features
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather seating surfaces
  • Split folding rear seat back
  • Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel
  • Black cloth headliner
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Audi advanced key- keyless start, stop and entry
  • Full LED headlights
  • Auto-dimming interior rearview mirror with digital compass
  • LED taillights with dynamic rear turn signals
  • Parking system plus with a rearview camera
  • Audi side assist with Rear cross traffic assist
  •  Audi smartphone interface including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Audi virtual cockpit
  • Navigation plus with voice control system
  • Audi adaptive cruise control with stop and go
  • Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 14 speakers and 705 watts

Although the price tag allotted to premium plus and the prestige trims is pretty steep but then the extra features you get in return for the extra price make the car feel more suited to its elements.

We Recommend

Although the top of the line prestige model comes at a hefty premium of $48,100 but its the one that makes the most sense to us. The vehicle is jam-packed with a lot of tech features that actually makes you feel like you’re sitting in a futuristic vehicle. The Audi virtual cockpit, Audi smartphone integration and much more are those extra crucial elements which take it from just good to great!

Engine

9.6/10

"For 2018, the Audi A3 and its variants offer the choice of numerous powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid and a 400-horsepower edition. Thanks to its precise steering, strong brakes, composed handling, and sprightly acceleration, the A3 feels balanced and fun to drive." - cars.usnews

Engine and Transmission

The engine on offer as standard on all the trims of the 2018 A3 e-Tron is a 150 hp 1.4L TFSI motor and 102 hp electric motor that work in synergy to provide a decent combined power output of 204 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The transmission on offer is a 6-speed S-tronic automatic which provides silky gearshifts and ensures maximum efficiency.

Models Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
MSRP $39,500 $45,000 $34,095 $27,100
Engine 1.4 TFSI 4 CYL, PHEV AC Synchronous Electric Motor 1.5L Direct Injection (DI) DOHC 4-cylinder 1.8L 4-Cylinder DOHC 16V
Transmission 6-Speed Automatic 1-Speed Automatic CVT Automatic CVT Automatic
Power 204 hp 170 hp 149 hp 121 hp
Torque 258 lb-ft 184 lb-ft 294 lb-ft 105 lb-ft

A brief comparison with all the A3 e-Tron's rivals further ratifies its ‘sporty hybrid’ claim as it’s quite clearly the most powerful vehicle in its segment. The 2nd in line is the BMW i3 which has around 30 hp less power output than the Audi A3 e-Tron.

Acceleration

Owing to the A3 e-Tron's electric origins, the off the line performance is fairly spirited. The vehicle takes 7.6 sec to complete a 0-60 mph sprint while a quarter of a mile sprint comes up in 15.8 seconds. However, the acceleration does fade away as higher rpm is reached and even the gearbox struggles to find the right ratio to extract the best power.

Models  Audi A3 Sportback e-tron BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
0-60 MPH 7.6 sec 7.2 sec 7.8 sec 10.2 sec
Quarter mile 15.8 sec 15.7 sec 15.9 sec 17.7 sec
Engine 1.4L Electric Motor 1.5L 1.8L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) N/A N/A 1.3 N/A

The A3 e- tron is more or less as quickly as its competitors. The BMW i3 is the only vehicle with better acceleration stats while the Toyota Prius prime struggles to keep the pace.

Ride and Handling

There’s a lot of driving modes on the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and reaching an optimum efficiency requires clever tinkering. The vehicle portrays good road manners as longs as it's not pushed to the limit. The steering wheel too is appropriately weighted and provides generous amounts of feedback.

There are different combinations of propulsion that are employed by the vehicle at different speeds which creates a noticeable lag in power delivery at times. However, this can be mitigated by manually choosing the required drive mode.

Braking

Owing to its heavy curb weight there is a noticeable shift in weight as the brakes are applied. The brake pedal requires a heavy push but do not rip your face off as soon as they’re employed. Even after being the heaviest of the lot, the A3 e-tron manages one of the best 60-0 mph stopping distance of 123 ft which is only second to the 150 lb lighter Chevy Volt.

Model  Audi A3 Sportback e-tron  BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
Brake Front(in) 12.3 11.0 10.8 10.0
Brake Rear(in) 10.7 11.0 10.0 10.2
Curb weight(lbs) 3616 2961 3543 3365
60-0 MPH 123 125 120 125

Fuel Economy

Although 83 mpg-e might sound impressive, you can’t forget that it’s only valid until the batteries run out of juice. After the batteries run dry, the petrol engine springs to life and give out a paltry 35-40 mpg.

Model Audi A3 Sportback e-tron BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
MPG (city) N/A N/A 43 N/A
MPG (highway) N/A N/A 42 N/A
MPG (combined) 83 (mpg-e) 118 (mpg-e) 42 54 (mpg-e)

The BMW i3 is the only vehicle that offers a better FE of 118 mpg-e while both the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Prime are not even in the same frame as the Audi and the BMW.

Interior

7.9/10

"The 2018 A3 continues Audi’s tradition of top-quality interiors, though this cabin isn't quite at the same level as its more expensive stablemates. Still, build quality and materials are top-notch. As well-designed as the standard technology is, the upgraded infotainment system and virtual cockpit are even better." - cars.usnews

Seating and Comfort

The interiors on the A3 Sportback are similar to an A3 sedan. The controls are laid out in a straightforward fashion and the fit and finish are as premium as one would expect from Audi. The seats on this Audi are very comfortable indeed. They offer optimum padding and thigh support even during long driving hours. The rear seats too are plush offer a healthy amount of headroom and legroom. They can either seat 4 adults comfortably or squeeze in 5 adults.

Model Audi A3 Sportback e-tron BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
Passenger capacity 5 4 5 4
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 38.7/54.8/41.2 39.6/53.6/40.5 37.8/56.5/42.1 39.4/54.2/43.2
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 37.5/52.9/35.4 37.2/49.2/31.9 35.8/53.2/34.7 37.2/53.0/33.4

Infotainment System

The A3 e-tron features a fantastic Audi MMI which consists of a 7-inch retractable screen with sat nav, digital instrument gauge clusters and smartphone integration in the form of Android Auto/Apple Carplay. The controls are a delight to use and extremely user-friendly.

  • 3 Months Of Provided Satellite Radio Service
  • Memory Card Slot
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Satellite Radio Satellite Radio
  • 180 Watts Stereo Output
  • USB With External Media Control
  • 10 Total Speakers
  • USB Connection
  • 1 Subwoofer(S)
  • Bang & Olufsen Premium Brand Speakers
  • 705 Watts Stereo Output
  • 14 Total Speakers

Interior Features

The key interior features on the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron are:

  • Heated leather seats
  • Black cloth headliner
  • 3-spoke steering wheel
  • Audi Virtual cockpit
  • Digital Compass.

Cargo capacity

As an EV, the cargo capacity of the Audi is already compromised due to the addition of a battery and electric motor. However, it offers decent cargo space of 13.6 ft.cube and a lot of intelligently placed spaces and pockets for knick-knacks.

Model  Audi A3 Sportback e-tron BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
Volume (ft.cube) (Behind 2rd row) 13.6 15.1 10.6 19.8
Volume (ft.cube) (2nd Row Folded) 33.7 36.9 N/A 24.6

Exterior

9.4/10

"If you like the Audi styling aesthetic, you'll love the 2018 A3’s defining look. Looking a lot like a smaller Audi A6, its standard bi-xenon headlights, big sunroof and standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels make even the least expensive A3 look great." - Kelley Blue Book

Dimensions and Weight

The A3 e-tron is arguably one of the heaviest cars in the segment. The Toyota Prius and the Chevy Volt are the only cars bigger by a few inches. The styling on all other EVs is often quirky but the A3 e-tron maintains the signature Audi business class looks.

Model Audi A3 Sportback e-tron BMW i3 Chevrolet Volt Toyota Prius Prime
Curb weight(lbs) 3616 2961 3543 3365
Length(in) 169.7 158.3 180.4 182.9
Width(in) (w/o mirror) 70.3 69.9 71.2 69.3
Height(in) 56.1 62.9 56.4 57.9
Ground clearance(in) 4.9 5.5 5.5 4.8
Wheelbase(in) 103.5 101.2 106.1 106.3
Track width(in) F/R 60.7/59.6 61.9/61.3 60.6/61.8 60..2/60.6

Exterior Features

Some of the noticeable exterior features of the A3 Sportback are:

  • LED taillamps and headlamps
  • PHEV badges
  • 17” alloy wheels
  • Signature Audi hexagonal grille
  • A plug-in switch on the front grille

Safety

9.0/10

Safety Features

The 2018 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is equipped with the following safety features to protect the commuters in emergency situations:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS and Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Audi pre sense front Forward Collision
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
  • SIDEGUARD Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Driver And Passenger Knee Airbag and Rear Side-Impact Airbag
  • Rear Child Safety Locks
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -including Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners

Competition

BMW i3 VS Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The BMW i3 is electric focused car while the Audi A3 e-tron is a hybrid car which relies equally on both the engines. The BMW offers an electric range of 150 miles while the A3 offers only 20 miles. The verdict on this is a tough one and more likely to change according to the buyer’s need. If you want a secondary vehicle for intracity travel, go for the i3, if this is going to be your only car, the A3 e-tron should be your pick.

Chevrolet Volt VS Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The Chevy Volt is a worthy rival to the Audi A3 e-tron. They both have essentially same genetic makeup but unlike the Audi, the Chevy uses the IC engine to charge the batteries instead of turning the front wheels. The range on electric-only mode offered by the Volt is around 53 miles while the Audi does much less in comparison.

All in all, if a good true electric experience is what you desire, the Volt is what you should buy. If you’re looking for something more premium in nature then the Audi A3 e-tron should be your pick.

Toyota Prius Prime VS Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The Prius has long been a poster boy for hybrid cars and for good reason. The car follows the age-long rule of ‘It ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Simplicity is the name of the game when it comes to the Prius. It’s anything but simple on the inside as it offers a long list of creature comforts and even the exteriors follow an eccentric styling.

Clearly put forward, if you’re in the market for a vehicle that’s easy to own, tried and tested and vehicle longevity is what you desire, Prius could be a worthy contender while if you want something much more premium and exclusive, the Audi wins it hands down.

Final Verdict

The A3 Sportback e-tron is a great car from Audi and it shows that Audi has embraced the EV technology and is serious about their plans. The A3 e-tron blends in the executive and premium sentiments of an Audi with a cleaner, practical and more fuel efficient way of propulsion. The A3 e-tron is a groundbreaking car if you look at it in a certain way. But, somehow, it still fails to garner the support from the enthusiasts in the U.S. primarily due to its sad driver dynamics. The Audi A3 Sportback has all the potential in the world to be your primary car but whether it should be is a bigger question and one that you’ll have to answer yourself.

 

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