The engine is, unsurprisingly, a four-cylinder, 1.4-litre petrol, connected to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox sending power just to the front wheels. The electric power is provided by a single motor integrated into the gearbox. That means 150PS (110kW) from the traditional engine and an extra 108PS (80kW), which combines through some maths to make an overall possible output of 204PS (150kW). Audi’s complicated numbering system means this is a “40” – there is also a 45, which pushes the numbers all slightly higher.
The 0-62mph time is 7.6 seconds, which is not to be sniffed at. But who drives a PHEV to blast away from the line? You’re going to spend most of the time thinking about efficiency. The A3 TFSIe’s stout 40-mile range is a little unrealistic, but you can easily expect to find 30 if you’ve charged it up fully. When driving, the A3 will try to keep itself in pure-electric e-mode as long as it can. Which is useful when you’re just heading off to the shops or nipping to work, but a little annoying for a longer journey. You can change the settings on the hybrid system, but you need to go through three menus in the MMI system to get there. When you find them, you can set the car to either balance its charge for max efficiency, hold the charge at the same level so you arrive at your destination with the electric range set of with, or charge the battery as you go.
In electric mode the A3 is pretty sprightly, the electric system on its own reacts strongly when you ask it, and the motor will roll on to 87mph under just electric power. When the petrol 1.4 kicks in it’s not the most refined, revving out strongly to find any extra power and feeling quite noisy in a cabin if called upon to extract max acceleration when you’ve been used to silent EV running. The ride is firm, without being overly harsh, although many of its competitors do manage the journey in a slightly smoother manner. Steering is light and nimble, without being the first or last word in communication.