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AUDI e-tron to electrify the hybrid market with sexy hatchback that does 188mpg

Meet the Audi that is about to shake-up the hybrid market and scare the living daylights out of Toyota.

Yes, the ground-breaking A3 e-tron will be in showrooms later this month and the order books are now open.

The official launch will be held at the Web Summit technology conference today in the RDS.

Based on the best-selling A3 Sportback, the e-tron brings together a 1.4TFSI petrol engine and an electric motor, providing a combined power output of 204bhp.

What that means in layman's terms is a green machine that needs only 1.5 litres of fuel per 100km - or a whopping 188mpg, while C02 emissions measure only 37 grams.

Under electric power alone it has a range of 50km and over 900km combined.

You can even charge it up on a normal three-pin domestic plug which takes three hours and 45 minutes.

Opt for an industrial threephase power socket and it takes just over two hours to fully charge the battery.

Thanks to its ultra-light construction, the five-door model complete with all the batteries weighs less than 1,580kg.

Driving performance, we're told, is not diminished as the electric motor's high torque catapults this little hatch from 0-60kph in 4.9 seconds on pure electric power and from 0-100kph with both petrol and electric power engaged in just 7.6 seconds.

It's practical too, with space for five adults and plenty of luggage room as well. It comes loaded with standard kit including the Audi's signature Xenon headlights, MMI Navigation Plus, partial leather upholstery, automatic air conditioning and unique e-tron alloys.

The new A3 e-tron also comes with a home charging cable that can be used in conjunction with a standard three-pin domestic socket and an industrial three-phase socket where available.

It will also be provided with a public charging cable for use in more than 1,200 public charge points around Ireland.

Elsewhere in the world of Audi, the Ultra revolution continues unabated.

Following in the footsteps of the A4, boffins with the Vorsprung Durch Technik logos on their white coats have pulled the covers off the A6.

The Ultra range is Audi's equivalent of BMW's EfficientDynamics which mixes fuel-sipping MPG with very decent BHP. Arriving here next month (just in time for the much-awaited 151 plate) will be a new 150bhp and the more powerful 190bhp A6 diesels.

As expected, power is up while fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are down.

Other little appreciated tweaks include redesigned bumpers with a chrome trim for the boot, LED lights as standard (front and rear), new exhaust pipes and redesigned front grille.

Inside you'll be treated to an updated MMI navigation system and better soundproofing.

Prices for the Ultra A6 start at €44,750.

The Audi A3 e-tron costs €39,950 with state grants.