It’s likely that the toe Audi has dipped into hybrid waters will find itself warmed. The e-tron is a quality product. Its functionality, comfort, refinement and practicality should come closer than most to convincing buyers that now is the time to plug into the electric car revolution.

However, the question isn’t so much whether it could serve as your only car (it definitely could) but whether it should. That sole space on our drive is a hallowed spot, and even with the narrow mindset of a business user adopted, it cannot be filled merely with laudable figures and cash savings, no matter how well dressed.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
In the right conditions, a decent and desirable choice, but short on driver appeal

Earning this magazine’s recommendation still comes with a driver reward prerequisite, and the e-tron’s compromises mean it isn’t even the most persuasive A3 Sportback you could choose.

That doesn’t prevent Audi’s first plug-in hybrid from being a first-rate one – but that’s all it is. Its rival, the BMW i3, with less range, feels closer to the future. It might be a little compromised, but it is novel and new in a way the e-tron, BMW 330e, Golf GTE and the V60 Plug-in Hybrid aren't.

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