Audi A3 TFSI PHEV Review

£35,195 – £39,225 score


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The Audi definitely feels posh compared to the Seat Leon and even the VW Golf, and I think it’s lovely to drive. But, that electric range and the CO2 emissions mean the sums won't add up for many company drivers.

  • Battery size: 13 kWh
  • Company car tax: 7%
  • Emissions: 26 g/km
  • Range: 36 miles (electric)
  • Fuel economy: 282.5 MPG

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  • Battery size: 13 kWh
  • Company car tax: 7%
  • Emissions: 26 g/km
  • Range: 36 miles (electric)
  • Fuel economy: 282.5 MPG

Ginny Says

“I think the A3 is lovely to drive and to look at both inside and out. But, that electric range and the CO2 emissions to make or break a PHEV, so I have to say that I’d probably end up going for one of the longer-range alternatives.”

Tom Says

“It feels like Audi’s skimping a bit on equipment, given that you have to pay quite a bit extra for things like adaptive cruise control. I actually think the has the best interior finish in the class but – nice as it is – it’s still hard to justify the price.”

Driven and reviewed by 

Vicky Parrott

24 Jan 2024

The Audi A3 is a familiar, reassuringly premium take on the traditional family hatchback recipe. It’s also very tidy to drive and is cheaper to buy than its key rivals - the Mercedes A250 e PHEV and BMW 225e Active Tourer PHEV. But, critically, both of those rivals go further on electric power and so fall into a cheaper Benefit in Kind company car tax.

Dimensions, design and practicality

The Audi A3 is a household name, these days; the posher sibling to the VW Golf, it’s been around since 1996. This all-new, fourth generation Audi A3 Sportback was launched in 2020 and uses the same ‘MQB’ platform and engine range as the VW Golf, Skoda Octavia and Seat Leon. Don’t worry about the ‘Sportback’ bit of the A3 name, either, as that’s just Audi-boardroom speak for the five-door body shape that you get as standard with the A3 – it is the same size as a conventional family hatchback, and isn’t an estate as the Sportback name might suggest. 

The new A3 also gets Lamborghini-inspired styling, with pronounced air intakes on the front and sculpted lines down the sides. The cleaner, less aggressive styling of the Mercedes A-Class is more appealing to us, but there’s no doubt that the Audi looks both inoffensive and aspirational. 

It’s also comfortable and spacious, despite being a reasonably compact 4.4m long. You’ll get two adults comfortably in the back seats, and the seats up front are supportive and have a good range of adjustment with four-way lumbar adjustment to the driver’s seat included regardless of which model you go for. There are two Isofix fittings in the back seats, and you can add a set to the front passenger seat as a no-cost option, too. 

The boot in the plug-in hybrid Audi A3 Sportback is a bit compromised by the batteries; you lose all the underfloor storage that you get in any non-electrified Audi A3 hatchback, which reduces boot space to 280 litres. That’s not great, but is also comparable with the boot space in many similar alternative PHEVs, so if you do want a big boot in your plug-in hybrid family car we’d recommend checking out the Skoda Octavia iV. 

More disappointing than the practicality in the Audi, which is pretty par for the course in this class, is the equipment levels. Even on top spec models you have to pay extra for a reversing camera, heated seats, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control and even for storage nets on the back of the front seats and a light in the boot. 

Many of these extras also come as part of expensive equipment packages. To get keyless entry, for instance, you’ll have to hand over nearly £1400 for the Technology Pack Pro, which isn’t an unreasonable amount if you wanted the reversing camera and Bang and Olufsen sound system upgrade that’s also included, but feels like extortion if you simply wanted your bum warmed. In short, equipment levels on the Audi are not as good as they should be.


The Audi gets a 10.1-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system, with nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and all the features that you want. It’s not the easiest system to use as there’s no touchpad or rotary control to use when you’re driving, and the screen is fairly low set, so you have to glance down and away from the road to accurately prod the icon you’re after. You get used to where everything is, though, and the physical air-con controls and straightforward multi-function steering wheel helps to make volume and temperature adjustments really easy. There’s standard voice control, too, although it’s a bit hit-and-miss with how accurate it is. The 10.25-inch digital driver’s readout looks really cool in the Audi, and allows a variety of different layouts including one that prioritises the nav guidance and one that offers a more uncluttered layout focussing on the speedo. 

Automatic emergency braking is standard, which brakes the car for you if it senses an imminent collision, and it’ll show you what the speed limit is, too. Even so, you have to add the expensive adaptive cruise control to get anything like the level of semi-autonomous driving that you get as standard on rivals like the Kia Niro PHEV

Battery, range and charging

The Audi A3 PHEV gets a 12.8kWh lithium-ion battery with a usable capacity of 10.4kWh, which is good for a range of between 36- and 39 miles according to official tests, but in the real world that’ll be closer to 30 miles in summer, or 25 miles in winter. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Mercedes A-Class PHEVs both cover more than 50 miles on electric power.

As with most plug-in hybrid cars, the Audi A3 TFSI e lets you select EV mode or standard Hybrid mode, with the latter setting allowing the car to decide when best to shuffle between petrol and electric power. You can also tell the car to save some battery charge for later in the journey, which is useful as it means you can do the motorway miles on petrol power and keep the electric running for when you’re in town, which will suit many standard commutes in the UK. 

Charging tops out at 3.6kW, which is quite a bit slower than some rivals, and means that it’ll take four hours for a charge even at a dedicated home car charger – and that’s the fastest charge that you’ll get regardless of how powerful the charger may be that you plug into. A normal three-pin domestic socket will do the same  top-up in around five hours, and you’ll have to pay extra to get the three-pin cable. 


The Audi A3 PHEV is front-wheel drive, and gets a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and that electric motor and battery combo. In the Sport and S line models your only engine out is the 201bhp 40 TFSi e, or you can go for top-spec S line competition, which is badged the 45 TFSI e and gets 241bhp. 

We’ve not driven the 45 TFSI e, with its 0-62mph of 6.8sec, but it’s no surprise that the even the A3 40 TFSI e is fairly sprightly. It’ll do 0-62mph in 7.6sec, so feel pretty rapid if you want to overtake or merge into fast traffic, but it never feels like the hot hatch that some might be hoping it’ll be. 

Even with the Sport driving mode engaged for heavier steering, more performance-focussed gear changes and a heavier level of brake regeneration, the A3 still feels a touch heavy and flat-footed in the way it goes around corners. We’ll have to withhold our verdict on the 45 TFSI e until we’ve driven it, but it gets the same suspension as the 40 TFSI e S line, so is likely to be very similar in this respect.

And don’t get us wrong - the A3 PHEV still has plenty of grip and it feels neutral and unflappable if you choose to fling it through some good corners. It’s a nice car to drive, that’s pretty smooth and easy to get along with, although it is quite noticeable when the petrol engine suddenly kicks in as you can hear it and also feel the throttle response change. 

Ride comfort is decent, especially if you stick with the cheapest model – the Audi A3 TFSI e Sport – as it gets smaller wheels and softer suspension setup. Most will go for the sportier-looking S line, which gets a 15mm lower ride height and bigger alloys, so is noticeably bumpier around town. 

Overall, the Audi is an easy car to drive and enjoy, but it’s not the sports hatch that some might be hoping for given the power output, and you have to stick to the lower spec version to get the best comfort from it. 

Pricing and availability

The Audi A3 PHEV looks very competitive going by list price but, as we’ve mentioned, you have to add a lot of expensive packs to get the stuff that you would probably assume was standard. It’ll be a rare Audi A3 that doesn’t have at least £2,500 to £3,000 of extras, and many will likely have over £5,000, which puts it more in line with rivals like the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. 

This is very much the case, regardless of which trim you go for in the A3 PHEV lineup, as the S line and S line competition trims mostly add style extras (and some very snazzy, bright paint colours). Which is why we’d stick with Sport on its cushier suspension, and put the money you’ve saved by settling for the base model towards adding all the extras that you’ll want.

You get a three year, 60,000 mile warranty as standard but you can extend that up to five years and 90,000 miles for a reasonable extra cost. 


The Audi A3 is a nice car to live with and spend time in, but it’s got too many niggling irritations to be a class leader. Equipment levels really should be better, or at least those obvious additional extras that many will want should be more affordable rather than only available as part of a pack. Plus, there are key rival PHEVs that go further on electric running, and offer better costs for company car buyers, who make up a large amount of those motorists buying plug-in hybrids. If you can get a great finance deal on one, then the Audi A3 PHEV could be a really solid choice, but otherwise there are more efficient and better value options out there. 

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