New 45 TFSI e delivers 46 miles of battery range with latest 295lb ft powertrain
By Sam Sheehan / Monday, December 7, 2020
Audi has added a second plug-in hybrid model to its A3 Sportback range with the new 45 TFSI e, which uses the same electrified powertrain as the Golf GTE to deliver 245hp and up to 46 miles of EV range. The more performance-bias PHEV builds on the existing 40 TFSI e with new control software, increasing the 1.4-litre engine and gearbox-mounted electric motor’s combined output to 295lb ft of torque. That’s sufficiently punchy for it to hit 62mph in 6.8 seconds – almost a second quicker than the previous Audi A3 e-tron.
Plainly though, the 45 TFSI e’s emphasis is efficiency. That’s cemented by quoted stats that should satisfy fleet managers all over Europe, with that 46-mile electric range helping the hybrid A3 to achieve a WLTP-rated 200mpg and 34g/km of CO2. To achieve that, users are obviously required to plug their cars in overnight, with charge times on domestic wall socket taking around five hours. Even with minimal juice, Audi said this A3 will always start in electric mode.
Along with its uprated powerplant, the 45-spec PHEV gains a few extra standard features over the existing model to enhance its usability and general sportiness. Cars come with Audi’s Drive Select system as standard, larger brakes and more supportive sports seats. The main hybrid features remain as before, with different modes to adjust the powertrain’s characteristics. Auto hybrid mode is the default setting, while EV mode does what it says on the tin – as do the A3’s battery hold and battery charge modes. The electric motor is integrated into the A3’s six-speed S tronic automatic (as with the 40 TFSI e) driving the front wheels in tandem with the engine.
The new PHEV is being launched in Germany first with prices there starting at €40,395, but the car is set to be rolled out across Audi’s main markets, including the UK, in the coming weeks. The plug-in hatch follows Audi’s just launched Q3 45 TFSI e, which uses the same powertrain to give the firm its first PHEV compact SUV offering. No doubt more electrified models are incoming, to meet pressure from regulators and the growing demand from consumers. Superiority in both range and power compared to the previous generation plug-in A3 ought to play well with the latter, although the biggest obstacle to sales is still likely to be the mechanically identical Mk8 Golf GTE.
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