Flagship plug-in hybrid A3 debuts with Golf GTI-matching power and 74km electric range, but Australian plans unclear.
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The 2021 Audi A3 45 TFSI e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has been officially revealed.

The A3 45 TFSI e shares its mechanicals with the related, high-riding Q3 and Q3 Sportback PHEVs unveiled mere hours ago, mating a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with an 80kW/330Nm electric motor for combined outputs of 180kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

Those figures represent 30kW/50Nm increases over the entry-level Audi A3 plug-in hybrid, the 40 TFSI e, thanks to revised "control software" and a more potent electric motor.

Drive is sent to the front wheels through a familiar six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Audi claims a 6.8-second sprint from zero to 100km/h – 0.8 seconds quicker than the 40 TFSI e, and half a second perkier than the related Q3 PHEV – towards a 232km/h top speed.

Mounted under the floor is a 13.0kWh lithium-ion battery, enabling an all-electric range of 74 kilometres on the NEDC test cycle – down 4km over the A3 40 TFSI e – at speeds up to 140km/h. According to the stricter WLTP cycle used in Europe, Audi claims a zero-emissions driving range of 63km.

NEDC-rated fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures are pegged at 1.4-1.5 litres per 100 kilometres and 31-34 grams per kilometre respectively, with the exact figure depending on wheel size and optional equipment selected.

As with the related Q3, the A3 45 TFSI e offers four hybrid-specific modes.

'Auto Hybrid' balances the petrol engine and electric motor to maximise fuel economy, 'Battery Hold' maintains the current state of charge, 'Battery Charge' focuses the combustion mill on topping up the battery, while 'EV' forces the car into all-electric mode.

An assortment of other drive modes will be available which, while yet to be detailed officially, should likely include 'Auto', 'Comfort', 'Sport' and 'Individual' modes, as per other Audi models.

Plug the flagship hybrid A3 into a domestic three-pin socket and Audi says you'll be able to boost the battery from empty to 100 per cent charge in around five hours. A 2.9kW AC charging via a home wallbox is also available.

A set of 17-inch alloy wheels are fitted as standard, which hide 340mm front and 310mm rear brakes, clamped by red-painted calipers.

European-market A3 45 TFSI e models feature the S Line and 'Black Styling' packages as standard, along with gloss black trim inlays for the front grille, fitting the model's positioning as the sportier of the two plug-in A3 offerings.

Matrix LED headlights can be had as an option, featuring 15-segment LED daytime-running lights which illuminate in an E-shaped signature, representing the car's eco-friendly electrified drivetrain.

Inside, hybrid-specific tweaks consist of unique displays for the available 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, showing battery charge, driving range, drive mode, energy flow and engine outputs.

While yet to be officially confirmed, it's likely the A3 40 TFSI e's 280-litre boot capacity – down 100 litres over the standard A3 – will carry over to the more powerful model.

The 2021 Audi A3 45 TFSI e is now available to order in Germany, with prices starting from €41,440 (AU$67,900) including tax, but before incentives.

Equipment additions over the lesser 40 TFSI e include sports seats – pictured trimmed in a combination of leather and suede, with red contrast stitching and quilting – plus privacy glass, Audi drive select (adding the aforementioned drive modes), dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and push-button start.

It's unclear whether the A3 45 TFSI e hybrid will make its way to Australia, though given the entry-level, plug-in A3 has yet to be confirmed for our market – with the brand's local arm stating at its reveal in October it has "no confirmation to add from a local point-of-view at the moment" – it's likely the more potent model will undergo the same fate.