With all the strengths of a typical Audi, the five-door compact offers space for five occupants and 280 litres of luggage space. Its drivetrain consists of a 1.4 TFSI engine with 110kW and a newly developed six-speed S tronic with an integrated 75kW electric motor. The system output is 150kW with a maximum system torque of 350Nm.
With a battery capacity of 8.8kW/h, it can be charged within three hours from an industrial outlet. A versatile charging system is standard, while the car can also be linked to a smartphone app that will provide the convenience of remote charging and pre-cooling/pre-heating.
The e-tron races from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds and can hold a top speed of 222km/h. In its purely electric mode the top speed is limited to 130km/h. Fuel consumption - according to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid vehicles - is a superb 1.5 litres/100 kilometres, corresponding to CO₂ emissions of 35gr/km with 0gr/km in the electric mode.
The car allows for a selection of pure Electric Vehicle (EV) or hybrid-running modes, with a “charge save” setting which will leave the battery alone in anticipation of urban running. A fourth mode uses extra regenerative braking to recharge the battery, and utilises the 1.4 engine as a battery-charging alternator, by feeding the automobile's kinetic energy back into the battery.
The A3 Sportback e-tron is almost the same when compared to its A3 siblings. The bumpers and side-sill trims retain its sporty Audi look while having an invisible exhaust system tailpipe. E-tron badges decorate the grille, the luggage compartment hatch and the fenders. The charging port is well hidden in the front grille behind the four rings and the vehicle will be available in 13 paint finishes.
According to AutoExpress in the UK, there’ll be an A6 e-tron followed by a Q7 e-tron in 2015 with more to follow after that. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is already available in Europe and is under review for the South African market, with a possible introduction in 2016.
While it’s said to come at a hefty price, it’s definitely more attractive than a Prius...