Ultra-efficient electrified hatchback to take on Audi A3 e-tron

The new-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class line-up will be bolstered in Europe and the UK next year with the addition of a new plug-in hybrid variant – according to a new report.

Britain's Autocar claims the new model will arrive in the UK "early next year", and will rival the Audi A3 e-tron – which the publication also indicates will be getting refreshed at within the same timeframe.

Mercedes-Benz hasn't officially confirmed what the new PHEV system entails, though Autocar claims it was seen documents detailing a 163bhp (121kW) 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 90bhp (67kW) electric motor, set to be badged 'A250e'.

The combustion engine is said to turn the front wheels, while the electric motor drives the rear axle, providing all-wheel drive.

Autocar also claims unnamed sources have indicated a less powerful version of the same powertrain is in the works as well.

While a plug-in hybrid powertrain is in the works for Mercedes-Benz's small car, and all-electric model is off the cards to leave room for the brand's upcoming EQ sub-brand dedicated to EVs – much like Volkswagen's I.D. family.

One of these all-new models will be badged 'EQA', a small all-electric hatchback that was first previewed in concept form at last year's Frankfurt motor show.

The production version will make its debut before 2020, according to a recent teaser. Going by the concept, the production version should produce around 200kW from its electric powertrain and boast a driving range of around 400 kilometres per charge.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates.

Plug-in hybrid or electric? Which do you prefer?