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.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.