Australia looks set to miss out on Audi’s latest plug-in hybrid, which claims to offer up to 78km of electric range on the NEDC test cycle.

    The 2021 Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e has been revealed for Europe this week, becoming the latest addition to the new-generation A3 line-up.

    While Audi Australia did once offer the plug-in A3 e-tron some years ago, recent comments by the marque’s local communications chief lead us to believe it’s off the table, at least for now, despite arch-rival Mercedes-Benz offering the A250e PHEV from $63,400 plus on-road costs.

    “Clearly on the roadmap for electrification over the next 5-10 years, models like this will take up a proportion of that electrification but at this stage it’ll be something that we’ll be rolling out in future years,” Shaun Cleary, Audi Australia corporate communications manager, told CarExpert a fortnight ago.

    “We’re just a few weeks away from introducing our E-Tron and E-Tron Sportback and that’s definitely our focus for now.”

    CarExpert reached out to Audi Australia’s team again for an updated statement regarding the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e, and was told there is “no confirmation to add from a local point-of-view at the moment”.

    The standard A3 Sportback is expected to launch in Australia before the end of 2020, with the related A3 Sedan arriving early in 2021.

    The new Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e pairs the familiar 1.4 TFSI turbo petrol engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery.

    Outputs for the four-cylinder petrol engine are rated at 110kW and 250Nm, while the e-motor has 80kW and 330Nm. Drive is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic.

    System power and torque are quoted at 150kW and 350Nm respectively – making it identical to the European-market Mk8 Volkswagen Golf eHybrid.

    Audi claims a 0-100 time of 7.6 seconds, and a top speed of 227km/h.

    Meanwhile, the lithium-ion battery system is rated at 13.0kWh – some 48 per cent greater than the previous generation – allowing for a claimed EV driving range of up to 78km on the older NEDC cycle, or 67km on the tougher new WLTP standard.

    Additionally, the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e sips a claimed 1.4-1.5L/100km on the combined cycle, equating to between 30 and 34 grams per kilometre of CO2.

    The company claims the A3 PHEV will always start in electric-only mode, even at temperatures as low as -28 degrees celsius. Speaking of EV mode, the A3 40 TFSI e has a top speed of 140km/h when solely using e-power.

    Various drive modes are on offer to tailor the A3 PHEV’s drivetrain to your needs – including Hybrid, Battery hold and Battery charge.

    The vehicle’s drive management system uses data from navigation, sensors and assist systems to determine the most efficient method of propulsion – such as when to allow the car to coast.

    As for charging, the A3 40 TFSI e can be replenished in “slightly more than four hours” using the standard 230V home charger. Audi hasn’t issued details such as fast-charge times or maximum charge capabilities.

    In terms of equipment, the A3 40 TFSI e offers much of the same features and technologies as regular A3 models, including available Matrix LED headlights, a 12.3-inch virtual cockpit, and a 10.1-inch MMI touchscreen infotainment system.

    However, many of these items come with slight modifications to signify the A3 PHEV’s eco-friendly status.

    The optional Matrix LED lights, for example, have daytime-running lights that make an e-shaped signature. The seat upholstery is made from recycled plastic bottles, and the virtual cockpit and MMI displays now have hybrid-specific content.

    Due to the battery pack under the boot floor, Audi claims the 40 TFSI e has 280L of boot space with the second row in place, opening up to 1100L with it folded (100L less than standard models). An electric tailgate is available.

    The new Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e is due to go on sale in “many European markets” over the coming months.

    Do you want to see the new A3 plug-in hybrid in Australia? Let us know in the comments below!

    MORE: Audi A3 news and reviews

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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