Strict new WLTP emissions regulations strike down another plug-in hybrid Audi.
The Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) was introduced this year in an attempt to bring manufacturer fuel consumption claims and real-world results closer to each other. The far stricter testing procedures have highlighted large discrepancies between these two figures in a number of vehicles and Audi’s e-tron range has now suffered its second casualty in the UK.
According to UK publication Autocar, the A3 Sportback e-tron has now been dropped from Audi’s UK lineup joining the recently discontinued Q7 e-tron.
An Audi spokesperson told Autocar that: “We will introduce new engine models during changes of generation or product upgrades. Introducing them at this stage in the product lifecycle is not constructive in economic terms.” A new A3 is due in a year and a half so re-engineering the current car does seem a bit pointless, but this does mean that there are now no Audi plug-in hybrids available to UK customers.
It is not only Audi’s models that have suffered at the hands of the WLTP regulations, a number of other plug-in hybrids from rival manufacturers have also been discontinued. The recent removal of the UK Government grant for plug-in hybrids has not helped matters either. The all-electric e-tron SUV, a model that we already get, is still slated for a UK introduction in early 2019 as are a number of upcoming Audi EVs.
US customers can still order the $39,500 A3 Sportback e-tron for the time being, its combined 204 hp and 258 lb ft of torque allied with good fuel economy are still competitive in its segment.
But the all-new all-electric $74,800 e-tron Crossover is where the market is moving. With a planned 12 all-electric Audi models due by 2025, there will also be an estimated 8 plug-in variants, but they were always going to be a stopgap on the way to full electrification.