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2019 A3 Sportback e-tron

The A3 Sportback e-tron is notable as the only compact hatchback Audi sells in the United States. It's also the luxury brand's smallest plug-in hybrid model.


The A3's gasoline-electric powertrain is built around a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It works with a liquid-cooled electric motor which draws electricity from an 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Together, the two power sources make 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That output gets channeled to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The battery inevitably adds weight. The 3,616-pound A3 Sportback hits 60 mph from a stop in 7.6 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 130 mph. Fuel economy checks in at 83 mpg-e.

The cabin looks familiar if you've sat in a standard, non-hybrid A3. The e-tron offers space for five passengers, though the middle seat is best left to smaller humans, and cargo capacity checks in at 13.6 cubic feet, which is on the low side for the segment.

Spotter's guide

Telling the e-tron apart from other A3 variants is easy: it's the only hatchback sold in the United States. The non-hybrid model comes as a four-door sedan or as a convertible.

Beyond that, the Sportback receives a handful of visual tweaks including chromed horizontal slats in the grille, redesigned bumpers on both ends, and model-specific alloy wheels. Inside, the driver will notice a hybrid-specific instrument cluster.

Standard and optional features

Audi breaks down the A3 Sportback e-tron line-up into three trim levels named Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige, respectively.

The Premium trim comes standard with dual-zone A/C, a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, a manually-adjustable steering column, aluminum trim on the dashboard, a panoramic roof, leather upholstery, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, split-folding rear seats, a 10-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic wipers and headlights, plus Audi's pre sense basic and pre sense front technologies.

Premium Plus models gain full LED headlights, LED tail lights with dynamic rear turn signals, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, Audi side assist with rear cross traffic assist, and parking sensors on both ends.

Finally, the range-topping Prestige trim adds Audi's virtual cockpit, the company's smartphone interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, navigation, adaptive cruise control, and an upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Want more? The list of options includes special paint colors through Audi Exclusive, front sport seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and aluminum roof rails.

Many of the features that come standard on the Prestige trim (including navigation, the better sound system, and the virtual cockpit) are available on more affordable models through the Technology package.

Occupant safety

The A3 Sportback offers front, knee, side, and curtain airbags in addition to stability control, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Key competitors

As a premium hatchback with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the Audi A3 e-tron has very few direct competitors. Buyers more interested in the hybrid part of the equation can also look at the Chevrolet Volt, while those willing to go full electric can check out the BMW i3. None of those options offer the Audi's performance, though.