Friday 22 February 2019

Audi A3 E-Tron sounds like the future but Audi have made a usable hybrid

Bob Flavin

Audi are really bring out a model for everyone and the latest version is the hybrid powered A3 called the E-Tron.

For the last couple of years Audi have been playing around with the A3, ever since I met the designer David Caffery who by the way is Irish, I’ve seen all the variants including the Sportback, three door and even the drop dead gorgeous saloon.

There’s another variant, the E-Tron. It’s a fancy name for what amounts to be a plug-in hybrid, it has a petrol engine that’s attached to an electric engine, and the car decides what is the best form of propulsion to use at any given time.

It’s a strange feeling to be moving along silently one second and then to hear the engine cut in and petrol power is restored.

It’s something I’ve been banging on about for a few years now but petrol power is back. Most Irish people own a diesel powered car and half of them shouldn’t because they don’t make economic sense. Unless you are doing very big millage, I’m talking about over 30k a year, a petrol car makes for a much smarter choice.

If most of your driving is in a city then a petrol hybrid is the way to go because you’ll spend most of your time using the batter to power your journeys and you’ll always have the petrol engine as a backup when you need it.

It’s this choice of power that sets hybrid drive apart from standard petrols and diesels. The A3 is subtle enough that you won’t be shouting from the roof tops about how hip and cool your environmental choices are because it’s just an A3 with a little different badging on the exterior.

On the inside the rev-counter has been replaced with a power meter and that’s about it, you’ll be drive an automatic car with five seats and a decent boot. It’s a plug in hybrid which means you can charge it from a three-pin socket or it’ll charge from the engine while in use.

Audi have given a new choice for the hybrid market and it doesn’t look like a space-ship as most environmentally friendly cars do. All they’ve really done is change how the A3 is powered and because it was designed by an Irish man it feel at home on Irish roads.

The only downside is plugging it in, the charging point is behind the four rings on the front of the car and it’s a little fiddly trying to get it open and plugged in, especially when the front of the car is dirty. Other than that it’s a decent alternative to the usual petrol/diesel choices out there.

The price of the E-Tron starts at €39,950 which is €4,310 more than a standard 1.4 TFSi with an auto box which isn’t bad because the spec of the E-Tron is higher as is the fuel economy. It’s worth putting on the shopping list this year.

Find out how I got on driving the E-Tron on a foggy day in Enniscorthy with the video above

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