Who builds the best premium compact Plug-In Hybrid model? Well known german magazine Auto motor und sport has compared Mercedes A 250 e and Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e. Both develop over 200 HP from a 4-cylinder turbo engine and an electric motor placed between the heat engine and the gearbox.
Photo: auto motor und sport
Mercedes and Audi have a similar propulsion system. The Mercedes A 250 e combines the 1.33-liter, 160 HP turbo engine with a 102-HP electric motor, providing a total of 218 HP and 450 Nm, which are transmitted to the front axle via an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e takes over the Golf GTE propulsion with a 1.4-liter turbo engine and 150 HP mated with a 109 HP electric motor. 204 HP and 350 Nm are transmitted to the front axle via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
With a substantial torque advantage, Mercedes sprints faster from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds compared to 7.1 seconds for Audi, although Mercedes cannot transfer its full potential to the asphalt. But when the asphalt is dry, Mercedes feels stronger and the e-boost offered by the electric motor lasts longer. Audi is faster only in pure electric driving.
Adaptive suspension cannot be ordered on any model, but even with the standard suspension only, Mercedes is a better all-rounder while Audi’s suspension is stubborn on short bumps. The upholstery of the comfortable seats absorbs a little of the rigidity of the suspension but they are penalized by the fact that they have integrated headrests and cannot be adjusted for everyone’s taste.
The combination of unrest in the driving behavior and the rather soft direction around the center affect a relaxed driving in A3. Instead, the A 250 e is more balanced, faster, more accurate and drives more elegant over the short bumps. Mercedes also brakes a little better although the feeling in the brake pedal is relatively strange.
Equipped with a head-up display and augmented reality, the Mercedes A 250 e also has a better multimedia system. Audi A3 offers a little better visibility to the rear and a slightly better access to the rear but the quality of assembly is not as good as Mercedes. Audi is also a little more economical.
In terms of charging possibilities, the Mercedes A 250 e is again the best model and not only because it has a charging socket on the right side, the right one. At Audi the charging socket is on the left side and so you have to put the charging cable around the car when you park.
Mercedes is one of the few Plug-in Hybrid models that can be charged to DC stations, with up to 24 kW in the case of the A 250 e. This means that the 15.6 kWh battery can be charged in about 40 minutes. Thus, Mercedes can also be loaded at public stations in the city.
If we speak about AC charging stations, Mercedes is also in a clear advantage. Colleagues from auto motor und sport magazine charged both models at a 22 kW AC station.
Mercedes charged with 7.1 kW and needed 20 minutes to charge energy for 41 km. Audi was charged with only 2.7 kW and therefore needed a time of about three times longer. For a full charge at an AC station, Mercedes needs only 1.75 hours while Audi needs 4.3 hours.
The only advantage of Audi is that it has a slightly lower consumption: 7.1 l/100 km compared to 7.7 l/100 km and 21.4 kWh/100 km compared to 24.50 kWh/100 km in pure electric mode . Although Mercedes has a slightly larger battery, 15.6 kWh compared to 13 kWh at Audi, Audi had a slightly higher electrical range, 54 km compared to 51 km at Mercedes.
The two models have a similar price: 38,440 euros cost Audi in the basic version while Mercedes starts at 39,085 euros. In many countries there are bonuses for Plug-In Hybrids which lower the price with some thousands of euro.
- Mercedes A 250 e 652 points
Mercedes achieves a clear victory, being clearly more comfortable, has better brakes, is more dynamic and the multimedia system is more modern and more ergonomic.
- Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e 629 points
Audi is a little more economical and has a slightly longer electric range but charges much slower than Mercedes. And the comfort is not at the level of Mercedes.
Model Mercedes A 250 e Audi A3 40 TFSI e
Engine/no. Of cylinders L4, turbo L4, turbo
Displacement (cmc) 1332 1395
Max. output/revs (HP/rpm) 160/5500 150/5000
Max. torque/revs (Nm/rpm) 250/1620 250/1550
Electric engine Output (CP) 102 109
Max. torque (Nm) 300 330
Total output (HP) 218 204
Total Torque (Nm) 450 350
Transmission front wheel drive front wheel drive
Gearbox automatic, 8 gears automatic, 6 gears
Battery capacity (kWh) 15,6 13,0
L/w/h (mm) 4419/1796/1440 4343/1816/1450
Wheelbase mm) 2729 2630
Boot volume (l) 310-1225 280-1100
Acceleration (s) 0-60 km/h 3,2 3,4
0-100 km/h 6,4 7,1
0-140 km/h 12,0 13,0
0-180 km/h 21,5 24,4
Top speed (km/h) 235 227
Test fuel consumption (l/100 km) 7,7 7,1
Energy consumption (kWh/100 km) 24,50 21,50
Electric range (km) 51 54
price (euro with VAT) 39.085 38.440