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PeterS

Audi A3 e-tron first impressions

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So, almost one week in, some initial thoughts on the Audi A3 e-tron...

It looks great in misano red I think, and it certainly makes a change to see a brightly coloured car on the drive.... My first car was red... A Fiat Uno ☺️. The black leather/alcantara sports seats are very comfortable, and have plenty of adjustment. They're heated as well, which is good

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Good insight Peter. My dad is enjoying his GTE, despite it currently being back with VW with a hybrid fault. He mainly does short journeys and has not been to a petrol station since the beginning of December.

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Thought I'd see if I could find any free electricity ☺️☺️

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Quick update on this one ; we've had it 6 months now, and it's done 7,000 miles. More than expected if I'm honest!  It's only done 3 'long' journeys - Derby, Hull, Suffolk, and a couple of trips to Heathrow. These total maybe 1,000 miles.  The remainder has been local journeys, up to around 25 miles each way.  So the average fuel consumption, per the trip computer (pretty accurate when I have checked it) of 112mpg is pretty good I think.  It generally does around 900 miles on a tank of petrol, and is charged every day at home.  

More surprising is that even on the 570 mile return trip to Hull the cars system said that 34% of the journey was carried out 'emissions free'. Given that on these journeys it operates basically as a standard petrol hybrid - the battery itself can only power the car for around 25 miles on a charge - that's quite a lot of recovered power and 'sailing'!

Even better is that it's actually a really nice car to drive as well.  Easy to get a comfortable driving position - very supportive 'sports' seats. They're leather/Alcantara which seems to be hard wearing so far, and certainly very supportive.  Heated too, which, when combined with the pre-heat system controllable either by timer or from an iPhone app meant for a pleasant start to the day in the winter :) It's well equipped, partly as a result of its ex-demo / launch car spec and partly as they've thrown a lot of standard kit at it to help justify the rather high (when new) list price.  Ours has a panoramic roof, MMI satnav, Audi connect, LED headlights, 18" wheels, dual zone climate etc

I was worried the weight of the batteries would be an issue - I think they add 150odd Kgs to the weight of the car.  Actually it rides and handles very well - far better than the previous generation A3, and it feels like a much more sorted car.  If anything I think it's better balanced than the last one; it certainly is far less inclined to understeer - you really have to push very hard indeed to get to that stage.  I imagine that the extra weight of the batteries (under the boot floor) actually help the balance.  It also feels much bigger inside than the last A3.  Albeit ours was a 3 door, which I think is a shorter wheelbase even in the current one?

It's also very refined; it's default on starting is EV mode - all electric  on short journeys that's all you'll ever use.  It'll cover 'up to' 31 miles in that mode.  I've never seen more than 25.  On the other hand it'll also do 82mph in EV mode.  Which might have something to do with the range I get... ;)  The switch to hybrid mode is undetectable in normal use, and the engine itself, a 1.4 turbocharged unit, is also very quiet.  Probably worth noting the car is fitted with acoustic glass as well.  On longer journeys and motorways you can see the car switching between EV and standard engine mode on the dash, but it's pretty hard to detect otherwise until your going over 70.  At that point you can just about hear some engine noise, if you're revving it.  On which note, the electric motor is 100PS I think.  It's pretty swift off the line...very quick initially in fact.  And it'll more than keep up with the ebb and flow of traffic, and slip roads, on the A27 in pure battery mode.  If you want to go over 82 then the engine kicks in anyway.  If you floor it you get the electric motor plus the 150PS engine.  But this all just happens - no need to modify your driving style.

Theres a price to pay for investing in this technology relatively early in its life.  I think ours has probably continued to depreciate pretty rapidly, despite the initial savings.  I'm not too bothered by that - it's cheap to run, nice to drive and comfortable so we'll have it a while longer.  It's also had a few niggles.  The satnav through a wobbly and thought it was Ingolstadt - a new aerial sorted that.  The gear changes started to get a bit jerky, only noticeable on the longer journeys, and the solution to that is a replacement mechatronics unit.  Booked in for that.  

Which leads to possibly the most irritating thing about the car; not all Audi dealers are e-tron dealers.  Our nearest is either Brighton or Southampton.  Which doesn't sound too bad, but there are 3 closer one - Worthing, Portsmouth, and Five Oaks in Horsham.  They really all ought to be able to work on the whole range I think?

Quick summary?  Very pleased with the car - a great choice for the kind of use it gets.  If your average journey was much longer than ours you'd struggle to match the economy I think, unless you charged during the day.  But as a car I'm very impressed with the A3, and for our use the e-tron is a great solution. Economical on short journeys, but very capable on longer ones too

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Informative update. Seems a well-specced and ideal option for you.

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Sorry it's text heavy and picture light!!  Will sort out some more pictures...once it stops raining :roflmao:

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112 mpg.

Makes my 48.6mpg average over 62,000 miles seem pitiful! :roflmao:

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I won't mention my 22 mpg on my V8 then.  However, it is on gas so is half price!  And I do get a lovely n/a V8 burble and growl!

 

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They are very impressive cars. My dad has had his Golf GTE for 11 months and has only been to a petrol station 4 times in that time. A reflection on the short all electric journeys he uses it for.  

He has PV cells on his house so when it's charging during the day it really is free motoring. 

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Pic from the weekend with our families unimaginative choice if vehicles. GTE, GTD and Rrrrrrr.  My M135i is tucked away in the garage.

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Edited by jimdiesel
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That's a lot of Golfs!!

On the weight front, just to put it in perspective, it appears it's not as bad as it seems.  The A3 platform is relatively light nowadays. Even in e-tron guise Parkers says it only weighs 1,540kgs. The M235i convertible is 1,600 :roflmao:

Though, the non e-tron A3 1.4 seems to only weigh 1,240 Kgs, so the weight penalty is 300kgs, not 150!!

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9 hours ago, jimdiesel said:

Pic from the weekend with our families unimaginative choice if vehicles. GTE, GTD and Rrrrrrr.  My M135i is tucked away in the garage.

image.jpeg

Haha, quality!  I'd get ripped to shreds if I posted a pic of three Audis on my drive!  :roflmao:

Forgive the blunt question - has that grey Golf been parked tactically close to the R to make it difficult for anyone to climb in the drivers window?

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21 minutes ago, Ian_C said:

Haha, quality!  I'd get ripped to shreds if I posted a pic of three Audis on my drive!  :roflmao:

I got away with it once I think... :roflmao:

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36 minutes ago, Ian_C said:

Haha, quality!  I'd get ripped to shreds if I posted a pic of three Audis on my drive!  :roflmao:

No you wouldn't. Go on then, post 'em up!

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Another update, partly on the car but mainly on Brighton Audi.  The car was booked in last Monday for the occasionally jerky gear change to be investigated. The courtesy car was a new shape A4 TDI 190 S-Line auto, which seemed to the the service managers car.

The car was only booked in for a day, but in a 'phone call early afternoon they'd diagnosed a faulty mechatronics unit and suggests that we didn't drive the car but just kept the  courtesy car until the work had been done.  It was actually completed today, so 6 working days after we'd dropped it off.  Communication throughout was excellent, and we kept the courtesy car so it really wasn't an issue

Despite that they were very apologetic about the delay, and a surprise on collection was an Audi / Samsonite laptop bag  (from the 'Audi Collection' :roflmao:) along with an accessories box containing a usb stick in the shape of an Audi key, an SD card and some Audi logo'ed valve caps :unsure: on the passenger seat.  

None of which was necessary but all (except the valve caps :P) is appreciated. Though I'm not sure I'd ever pay the £165 they charge for the bag :o  Add to that the bottle of champagne from Worthing Audi as an apology for not being an e-tron dealer and so unable to work on the car, and I'm feeling pretty impressed by the dealer service. Both in the same group, it's worth noting.

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Great. Nice handy goodies; always welcome, as is the attention to the customer care.

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A somewhat shorter 12 month review. The car has now done 21,000 miles. It had 6,500 on delivery, so just under 15k miles in 12 months. That includes around 1,200 miles on a trip to France, 600 to Hull, 400 to Cambridge and 500 to Derby, in round numbers. The rest has been sub 100 mile trips, with the majority of them being sub 50 miles. The trip computer is now showing a long term average of 92mpg, which I think is impressive.  

On the longer journeys, which are covered in 'hybrid auto' mode but essential run as a 1.4 petrol it averages high 50s to the gallon. A 10 mile schlep from Smithfield market to the A23 at Croydon entirely on petrol as we'd exhausted the battery and the chargers in the car park at Smithfield market, while free, weren't working averaged 37 mpg. So I think those are the extremes from a petrol consumption perspective.  

Performance wise it's proved more than adequate. It'll reach 60 in well under 8 seconds - 7.6 from memory, and the DSG box is happy to respond to that use. Top speed is, I think, almost 140 mph. It's not been that fast!! It's also very refined - engine noise is all but inaudible unless really thrashed - it has an acoustic windscreen (whatever that is...) which might help. But often I have to rely on the indicator in the dashboard to let me know if the engine or battery is providing power, even when cruising at motorway speed. 

Not surprisingly, given it's only just over 2 years old, it doesn't rattle and feels new. I use a lot of hire cars while travelling, and they are generally new or newish. The A3 still matches them. It's also a far nicer pace to sit than lots of much more expensive cars. Yes it's ridiculously highly specified, some of which was optional, but the leather/alcantara seats have worn well (actually not worn at all), are comfortable and easily adjusted. 

Tech wise it's easy enough to use, the connected service is are useful and easily operated. Remote control of charging and ventilation is invaluable, the ability to send destinations to the car helpful and on-line access to news, weather and the ability to google locations is easily used and the google earth satellite imagery on the mapping looks great. 

It hasn't been the most reliable car we've ever owned though; while it hasn't broken down it's been back to the dealer twice, once to have a recalcitrant satnav fixed (it was convinced it was in Germany) and once for a replacement mechatronics (?!?) unit to be fitted to address a jerky gear change. Audi assist have also attended once to look at (and fix) and emissions warning light that had come on. But, Audi dealers (Brighton and Worthing) service has been absolutely first class and so while irritating the visits have never caused a problem.

I'm sure it's continued to depreciate quite quickly, though for me that's almost irrelevant because the cars has been so good I genuinely can't think what we'd have had instead that would have been as satisfying. The tech will date rapidly though; it's sub 30 mile range in EV only mode is ideal for our use, but I'm sure will soon be laughable.

Also, I happen to think in bright pearlescent red with black leather/alcantara seats, a panoramic roof, diamond cut 18" alloys and chrome highlights it looks great :)

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15 hours ago, PeterS said:

Hull

Bloody name-dropper.

(Great review, by the way)

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7 hours ago, theduisbergkid said:

Bloody name-dropper.

(Great review, by the way)

Thanks!

I get all of the good gigs - I was there before it gained it city of culture status though, I'm sure it's much better now :lol:

Tonight Edinburgh, except it's not. Staying in Leith...looks, um windswept!  

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23 hours ago, PeterS said:

Not surprisingly, given it's only just over 2 years old, it doesn't rattle and feels new. I use a lot of hire cars while travelling, and they are generally new or newish. The A3 still matches them. It's also a far nicer pace to sit than lots of much more expensive cars. Yes it's ridiculously highly specified, some of which was optional, but the leather/alcantara seats have worn well (actually not worn at all), are comfortable and easily adjusted....  :)

This.  The spec makes these cars imo.  I'd happily have for example a bone stock S6 with zero options (bar paint) but I definitely wouldn't want a base spec A3!  HD Nav 'touch' system for example.   +++

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