Audi has embarked toward future mobility with the international launch of the brand’s first plug-in hybrid model, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, which can cover up to 50 kilometres in pure electric mode. The A3 Sportback e-tron combines dynamic power, high efficiency and an emotional driving experience with uncompromising everyday utility. The five-door compact, whose 1.4 TFSI engine and electric motor produce a system output of 150 kW, is a sporty all-arounder and perfect for everyday driving. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is now available in Europe and is currently under review for the South African market, with a possible introduction in 2016.
Its sporty character positions the A3 Sportback e-tron as a new highlight in the A3 family. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron offers all the strengths of a typical Audi. Its drivetrain comprises a 1.4 TFSI engine with 110 kW, a 75 kW electric motor and a newly developed six-speed S tronic with an integrated electric motor. The system output is 150 kW with a maximum system torque of 350 Nm. The battery has a capacity of 8.8 kWh and can be charged in a little more than two hours from an industrial outlet. A versatile charging system is standard, while a smartphone app provides for extremely easy remote charging and precooling/preheating.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron accelerates to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 222 km/h. In purely electric mode, top speed is limited to 130 km/h. Fuel consumption according to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid vehicles is just 1.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per kilometre. In electric mode, the compact five-door can cover 50 kilometres with a CO2 emission of zero grams per kilometre.
The drivetrain of the A3 Sportback e-tron comprises three units: a 1.4 TFSI engine, an electric motor and a newly developed six-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The 1.4 TFSI is one of Audi’s most advanced engines. The engine is shifted roughly six centimeters to the right in the engine compartment compared with an A3 with a classic drivetrain to make room for the additional components. Its crankcase is made of lightweight aluminum, and the entire engine weighs just 100 kilograms
The hybrid management system intelligently controls the interaction of the drive systems. It offers the driver numerous functions, including boost, in which the engine and motor actively work together, and recuperation, which feeds the automobile’s kinetic energy back into the battery. In contrast to some of its competitors, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is not an either-or concept, but a car that is up to any automotive task.
The driver can use Audi drive select to configure the character of the car according to the modes comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Due to its to systematic lightweight design, the A3 e-tron has a curb weight (without driver) of just 1,540 kg, yet offers space for five occupants and 280 litres of luggage.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron offers a number of operating modes besides braking recuperation. The car is almost always started electrically, except at very low temperatures, in extremely hot conditions or when battery charge is very low. With the electric motor’s high torque, the compact car accelerates strongly.
Even at a constant 100 km/h in EV mode, it is generally only the electric motor that is in operation provided that there is sufficient battery energy. If the driver maximises the pressure on the accelerator, hybrid mode is activated and the combustion engine starts up. The two engines begin working together sooner if the driver has selected the sporty S mode. Boost begins earlier and the A3 Sportback e-tron accelerates with 350 Nm of system torque. When the driver lets up on the accelerator in S mode, the system recovers energy via coasting recuperation, whereas in D mode the hybrid system deactivates both drives and switches into gliding mode. The kinetic energy is now used to achieve maximum range via rolling, and engine drag losses are minimized. The driver of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron can intervene in the hybrid management system at any time.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron comes standard with a charging system that makes full use of the power supplied by the electrical outlet. It comprises a control unit with graphical display, a car cable and two power cables with the household and industrial plugs appropriate for the respective country.
Body and design
Subtle details document the special status of the plug-in hybrid model. The Singleframe grille is matt black and contains 14 fine, horizontal chrome struts. Forked chrome struts fill the air inlets, while the bumpers and side sill trims have a sporty look. At the rear, the newly designed apron encompasses a platinum grey diffuser with two chrome-plated horizontal slats and two side reflectors. The exhaust system tailpipe is invisible, while e-tron badges adorn the grille, the luggage compartment hatch and the fenders. There are 13 paint finishes from which to choose.
The dynamic lines of the exterior continue to the elegant and clean interior of the A3 Sportback e-tron, much the same when compared to its A3 siblings. The displays provide the driver with precise information about the drivetrain. The powermeter, which takes the place of the tachometer in the instrument cluster, shows the system’s overall output, as well as the status of the drivetrain and the battery charge. The tachometer can be shown in the display between the speedometer and the powermeter. The monitor for the optional MMI navigation plus uses sophisticated graphics to visualize the energy flows in the hybrid system. The entire display and operating concept is clear and intuitive.