It happened last year. We were crossing Tampa Bay on I-275 when we encountered a new Audi wagon sporting manufacturer plates. Volkswagen has a not-so-secret testing & quality control facility less than a mile from duPont REGISTRY headquarters; what we witnessed was the first A3 Sportback e-tron®.
Once their relentless testing phase was over, they let us borrow the car for a week of electrifying fun. In a real world test, we loaded up the wagon with children and luggage and set out for Rock Springs, Georgia. Tampa to Rock Springs is a hair under 510 miles on the interstate, with not a single charging point along the way. The e-tron® is capable of pure electric cruising for 31 miles on paper, but with a family and luggage, mileage may vary.
When it comes to family riding, this wagon is very user friendly. The first VW product we have encountered without an iPod cable, the lightning connector made integrating our iPhones a piece of cake. The only connectivity issue is the lack of a call button. That means if you want to end a call, you must pick up your phone to hang it up. Everyone else has a button on the steering wheel or on the radio. The A3 in Sportback form has plenty of cargo room, and the kids had plenty of space between them and the front seats. It comes with both 120v and 240v charging cables, and the port is located behind the grille badge. Probably due to the hybrid systems, both the glove box and center console are too small. Lockable storage is in short supply.
Driving the A3 is quite fun, regardless of how much luggage you are carrying. Power steering is electric (shocker), but well weighted and with great feedback. Most of the controls are intuitive, but still very German in terms of ergonomics. Our biggest gripe was the useless cup holders. Even in bad weather, the LED matrix headlights make night driving very enjoyable.
With a family and their luggage, we averaged 33 mpg over the 1020 miles. The window sticker weighs in at $37,900, which isn’t unreasonable for the utility and comfort. We would have liked to see more range in pure electric, but it is perfectly reasonable for a daily driver. Stay tuned to Autofluence for more Audi news & reviews.