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2013 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

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Audi is preparing to make a big step into the electrification of its lineup with the unveiling of its brand-new A3 e-tron. The model was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and will be put on sale in early 2014.

In case you have taken a little vacation under a rock for the last few years, Audi has been tossing around the e-tron designation since 2009. At the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Audi unveiled the first e-tron concept in the form of the 308-horsepower 2010 R8 e-tron .

Audi again dropped an e-tron concept in 2010 at the Detroit Auto Show with the A4-based concept that was rumored to see life in 2014. In concept guise, this model pumped out 201 horsepower and hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. This model, codenamed the 9X1, is supposedly under development and will hit production in 2014.

The e-tron line carried on with the A1 e-tron at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, which produced 101 horsepower. Then, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the 2011 e-tron Spyder stopped the show with its 296-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 TDI engine and 86-horsepower electric motors that sprinted the convertible to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Audi finally unveiled the first production e-tron model, in the form of the 2013 A3 Sportback e-tron.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A3 e-tron.

Exterior

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

On the exterior the A3 e-tron looks just like any other A3 Sportback model, except that it adds some stickers that remind us it is a special kind of A3. Everything else will remain pretty much unchanged and will include a distinctive stone gray single-frame grille and flat headlights with optional xenon plus headlights and LED daytime running lights, plus a small diffuser for the rear.

Exterior Specifications:

Length4,310 mm (169.7 in.)
Width1,785 mm (70.3 in.)
Height1,424 mm (56.1 in.)
Wheelbase2,630 mm (103.5 in.)
Curb weight1,574 kg (3,471 lbs.)

Interior

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

On the inside, the A3 e-tron delivers pretty much the same level of features offered by the standard version, except that it adds a series of features required of a hybrid car.

Audi placed a special powermeter in the instrument cluster that displays the system’s overall output, the status of the driveline and the battery charge. There is also a special MMI navigation plus system that displays the energy flows in the hybrid system, the operating ranges and consumption figures. All these features can be operated via driver’s special iOS or android smartphone or via a web portal.

The driver can also call up the car’s status and tell it when or in what days he needs the car fully charged. He can also program when to start and stop the charging process, so the car is always charged perfectly.

The A3 e-tron is equipped with a special climate control planner that helps plan the temperature inside the cabin, according to a differentiated timetable.

The A3 Sportback e-tron also offers up a fairly cavernous interior, as it can hold up to 9.89 cubic-feet of cargo with all the seats up and a massive 39.55 cubic-feet when you fold down the rear seats.

Drivetrain

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Under the hood, the A3 e-tron uses a 1.4 TFSI combustion engine that delivers a total unit of 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The engine is combined with an electric motor that increases the total output to 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. When the two engines work simultaneously, the A3 e-tron delivers a driving range of 940 km (584 miles). The model delivers a fuel consumption of 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (156.81 U.S. mpg).

Don’t let the A3’s thrifty nature fool you though, as it still performs rather respectfully. It sprints from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in just 4.9 seconds and up to 100 km/h (62 mph) in only 7.6 seconds. Top speed goes is set at 137 mph.

The electric motor weighs just 75 pounds and the battery pack adds another 275 pounds, so there is not too much extra weight on the A3’s light chassis. The electric motor is liquid-cooled via a cooling jacket in the stator and is integrated into a newly designed six-speed e-S tronic transmission. This gearbox sends all of the power to the front wheels.

Charging the A3 Sportback at home is not an issue , as it comes equipped with a universal charging lead that is perfect for at home.

Driveline Specifications:

System output150 kW (204 hp)
System torque350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft)
Output, 1.4 TFSI110 kW (150 hp)
Torque, 1.4 TFSI250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft) from 1,750 to 4,000 rpm
Output, electric motorMax. 75 kW
Torque, electric motorMax. 330 Nm (243.40 lb-ft)
Battery capacity / voltage8.8 kWh / 280 to 390 volts
0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) 7.6 s
Range in electric modeup to 50 km (31.07 miles)
Overall operating range in NEDC cycleup to 940 km (584.09 miles)
Consumption acc. to ECE standard1.5 l/100 km (156.81 US mpg)
CO2 emissions acc. to ECE standard35 grams/km (56.33 g/mile)
Top speed222 km/h (137.94 mph)

Prices

The Audi A3 e-tron will be put on sale in 2014. Prices will be announced at a later date.

Competitors

2013 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

The Chevrolet Volt has ben on the market for quite some time and buyer interest has fallen drastically in recent months. The Volt combines a 1.4-liter internal combustion gasoline engine with two electric motors: a 149 horsepower primary-drive motor and a 74-hp motor/generator. On pure electric mode, the Volt can travel up to 40 miles.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-Max

The C-Max is another fringe competitor, which is really all we have to put against the A3 e-tron. The C-Max Energi uses a 141-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine and an electric motor that produces 177 pound-feet of torque. This combination allows the C-Max to hit 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, a 102 mph top speed and a 100 MPGe combined. Though the C-Max may not have the performance or luxury of the A3, its $32,950 base price certainly makes up for it.

Conclusion

The Audi A3 e-tron is preparing to enter a relatively new market and it has the advantage of being among the first models in its segment to offer a plug-in hybrid versions. So, if Audi finds a solution to keep the price down, it will become a real success.

LOVE IT
  • Powerful hybrid system
  • Looks as good as any other A3
  • Updated interior
LEAVE IT
  • No prices just yet, but likely rather expensive

Press Release

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi is working intently to electrify the drivetrain using plug-in hybrid technology. The brand with the four rings is showing the Audi A3 e-tron at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. With 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of system torque, sporty performance is guaranteed.

The Audi A3 e-tron is a true Audi. It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph). According to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid automobiles, the five-door model consumes on average just 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (156.81 US mpg), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per km (56.33 g/mile). In electric mode, the Audi A3 e-tron reaches a top speed of 130 km/h (80.78 mph) and has a maximum range of 50 km (31.07 miles).

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The combustion engine is a modified 1.4 TFSI producing 110 kW (150 hp). A clutch links the TFSI to an electric motor with an output of 75 kW. The disc-shaped electric motor is integrated into a newly designed six-speed e-S tronic, which transfers the power to the front wheels. The two powerplants complement one another. The electric motor delivers its peak torque from start to around 2000 rpm, and the TFSI’s maximum pulling power is available in a range from 1,750 to 4,000 rpm.

The Audi A3 e-tron can be driven with just the combustion engine, just the electric drive or in hybrid mode. Even in electric mode it offers powerful acceleration without the need to engage the TFSI. The driver can choose to have both powerplants active at the same time (“boosting”). When the driver lets up on the accelerator, they both deactivate temporarily (“gliding”). In this way motor braking torque is eliminated and efficiency increases.

At the Geneva Motor Show, the Audi A3 e-tron will provide a realistic glimpse into the future of mobility as Audi is planning it. The electrification of the drivetrain, above all using plug-in technology, plays a deciding role in the strategy of the brand.




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