Audi Australia will launch the A3 Sportback e-tron into this market - its first ever plug-in hybrid model - priced at less than $59,990. This will have it slipping under the sticker price of the slow-selling Holden Volt.
Speaking with TMR at the local launch of the S3 Sedan, Audi Australia's Shaun Cleary confirmed that the A3 e-tron will arrive in early 2015, carrying a highly competitive price tag.
"It’ll definitely be coming in the first quarter of next year," Mr Cleary told TMR.
"The idea of it is that it’s a premium model and also a sporty model. We’re not talking about a car that’s just about efficiency," he continued.
"And so in terms of spec and pricing you’d be looking at something like S3, which the Sportback model retails for $59,990. Maybe even a bit under."
But though it will be priced under $60k, the A3 Sportback e-tron won't be challenging the $39,990 Lexus CT 200h for the title of "most affordable luxury hybrid".
However, its plug-in charging capability means the e-tron could conceivably be run exclusively on electric power forever - a party trick the Lexus can't replicate - provided owners never exceeded the e-tron's 50km EV-only range.
When it arrives in the first quarter of 2015, the A3 e-tron will also spearhead Audi's new line of e-tron models, with the German automaker pledging to eventually have a plug-in hybrid variant of every model.
But whether the Australian market, which has proven more resistant to hybrids than Japan and the USA, takes on any future Audi e-tron models very much hinges on how well the A3 e-tron fares post-launch.
"For us, we will definitely evaluate how the market reacts and how our customers receive the car," Cleary said.
"But we’re very confident [it will be successful]."
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