2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron pricingin Ashburn, VA
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is unique among A3s. Not only is it a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it's also the only A3 variant that's a hatchback. Being a plug-in, the A3 e-tron allows you to drive short distances primarily on electric power, while longer trips are easily supported by the gasoline engine. And now that Audi's diesel offerings have been withdrawn, the A3 Sportback e-tron is the default choice among A3s when fuel efficiency is of paramount concern.
With a full charge, its electric-only range is a modest 16 miles, but this is enough to support local errand runs. Once you run out of electric-only juice, the EPA says you can still expect 34 mpg in combined driving; for comparison, the the most frugal gas-powered A3 model achieves 27 mpg combined. This hybrid isn't some powerless slug either: It's able to sprint to 60 mph in an estimated 7.6 seconds.
Notwithstanding its hatchback body style, which gives you so added cargo-carrying utility, the e-tron is unmistakably a member of the A3 family. The charging port is hidden in the grille behind the typical Audi rings, and it shares its well-trimmed cabin with the standard A3 sedan and convertible.
If you're shopping for a luxury-branded plug-in hybrid in the A3's price range, your choices are few. BMW offers its 330e sedan, which is more powerful than the Audi but doesn't match its fuel economy or have as much electric range. There's also the BMW i3, which is primarily an electric vehicle that can be optioned with a small gas engine. Other than that, we suggest taking a good look at the Chevrolet Volt hatchback. It's not as fancy or premium as the A3, but it counters with superior all-electric range (53 miles) and a lower price. The Ford C-Max Energi and Toyota Prius Prime are two other plug-in choices, albeit similarly less upscale ones. Overall, though, we think you'll be pleased with the A3 e-tron and its mix of luxury and green appeal.
All A3 Sportback e-trons come standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side and knee airbags, side curtain airbags, a rearview camera and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. The Prestige trim adds lane departure intervention and blind-spot monitoring.
2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron configurations
The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is a compact four-door plug-in hybrid hatchback. It is available in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige.
Standard equipment on the base Premium trim includes 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, heated side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), leather upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, LED interior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, Audi's MMI electronics interface with a 5.3-inch central display, a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, and a USB interface.
The Premium Plus trim adds LED headlights, upgraded trim inside and out, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Move up to the Prestige trim and you'll enjoy heated power-folding exterior mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure intervention and the Technology package (includes a Virtual Cockpit expanded instrument cluster, blind-spot monitoring, an upgraded MMI system with an improved display and a touch-sensitive controller, Audi Connect online services with 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi, smartphone app integration, voice controls and a navigation system).
The Technology package and Bang & Olufsen sound system are available as options on Premium Plus models. A Sport package available for all trim levels adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a spoiler, sport front seats and a sport steering wheel.
The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder gas engine teamed with an electric motor. A rechargeable 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is mounted beneath the rear seats. Total system output is rated at 204 hp and 258 lb-ft when both the engine and electric motor are in full swing.
Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch (S tronic) automatic transmission. Note that all-wheel drive, something Audi usually offers, is not available for the e-tron.
According to the EPA, the 2017 A3 e-tron Sportback achieves 83 mpg equivalent in mixed driving, factoring in the 16-mile EV range. After that, expect 34 mpg combined in regular gas-electric hybrid mode. As with all plug-in hybrids, actual mileage will vary greatly and is heavily dependent on how much all-electric travel you do.
The maximum speed achievable in pure EV mode is 80 mph, so the e-tron is fully functional even when it's running solely on battery power. Audi's estimated 7.6-second sprint to 60 mph is achieved when both the electric motors and gasoline engine are summoned for their total 204 combined horses.
The A3 e-tron's battery can be charged from a 240-volt outlet in 2.5 hours using the factory-supplied charging cord and in about 8 hours from a standard 110-volt outlet. As with regular hybrids, onboard regenerative braking also adds some juice to the battery while the A3 e-tron is being driven. There's a driver-selectable switch that engages the gasoline engine and shuts out the electric drive — useful if you want to save electric power for specific occasions.
Our time testing the A3 Sportback e-tron has been brief, but so far we've been impressed with its supple ride along with commendable handling and responsiveness for a vehicle of this type. We'll update this review once we've put an A3 Sportback e-tron through its paces on the track and on our local roads.
This plug-in hybrid accelerates away from stoplights with some spirit, courtesy of the extra bump of torque provided by its electric motor. The automated transmission shifts rapidly and unobtrusively. Despite carrying a few hundred additional pounds of hybrid hardware, the low placement of the batteries below the rear seats hasn't drastically raised the car's center of gravity. As such, the car feels quite stable when in motion. It's eerily quiet when in electric-only mode, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that the A3 e-tron's cabin is well-hushed even when the gasoline engine fires up.
Though the 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron carries a substantially different powertrain than garden-variety A3s, they all share virtually the same cabin. That's a good thing because the interior is well-trimmed with quality materials and intriguing details such as elegant rotary vents and a screen that retracts seamlessly when not in use.
A power meter in the A3 Sportback e-tron's instrument cluster takes the place of where a tachometer resides in the regular A3. There's also an information display in the center of the gauge that shows range calculations and gasoline and electricity consumption.
Front seat space in the A3 Sportback e-tron's cabin is reasonably commodious for the segment, though backseat headroom and legroom won't suit full-size adults. Its 13.6-cubic-foot cargo area isn't especially large either. Audi doesn't provide a figure for maximum cargo space with the rear seats folded, but it should be more than the Volt's total space and closer to what you can fit in a Ford C-Max or Toyota Prius Prime.
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This is the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. Yeah, it's an A3, so it's among the smallest cars Audi sells in America outside the two-seat TT sports car. But this is the only A3 that arrives in the United States as a hatchback.
All A3s are built atop the Volkswagen Group's MQB architecture and all have a sporting character no matter what their drivetrain. And in the e-tron, that's a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine combined with an electric motor feeding a six-speed automatic transmission. In all, there's 204 horsepower available to drive the front wheels. Audi's all-wheel-drive Quattro system isn't available.
The e-tron's battery pack is, however, not that large. So in electric-only mode it will only travel about 16 miles before calling on the internal combustion engine to pull the load. And that modest range affects the e-tron's fuel economy numbers, too. The EPA rates the 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron at 35 mpg combined (33 city/37 highway). If ultimate fuel economy is the goal, there are more miserly choices available from other manufacturers.
But there is a compensating virtue for the so-so economy numbers. And that's that the A3 Sportback e-tron is pretty quick. Audi estimates it slugging to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds. It may even be quicker than that.
Audi offers the e-tron in three different trim levels. The least expensive is the "Premium." One step up from that is the "Premium Plus" which includes everything in the Premium along with a handful of additional features. Then at the top is the "Prestige," which not only packs on the luxury, but is so prestigious it might get you a better parking spot at a nice restaurant.
Audi's outstanding Multimedia Interface (MMI) is available on the e-tron with brilliant navigation graphics and an integrated WiFi hotspot. New for 2017 is the availability of Audi's "Virtual Cockpit" all-digital instrumentation and a newly revised nose with new headlights and a modified grille. Plus there are new taillights for all those taillight enthusiasts out there.
Like every other market segment, the plug-in hybrid crowd is getting thicker by the year. It can be confusing making sense of all the manufacturers' performance claims and technical distinctions. That's why you should make use of every tool here on Edmunds to find the right plug-in and get it at a keen price.
2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Overview
The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is offered in the following submodels: A3 Sportback e-tron Hatchback. Available styles include 1.4 TFSI PHEV Premium 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6AM), 1.4 TFSI PHEV Premium Plus 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6AM), and 1.4 TFSI PHEV Prestige 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric hybrid 6AM).
What do people think of the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 A3 Sportback e-tron featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
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