Audi’s first-ever plug-in hybrid, the A3 Sportback e-tron, has arrived in Australia.
We’ve driven it, only briefly, but came away very impressed with the ‘punchy’ performance from its hybrid drivetrain and its premium specification.
The first customer vehicles are being delivered later this month, and those customers will be parting with $62,490, plus on-road costs, for the privilege.
At that price, it’s not cheap, but this is a premium PHEV (plug-in hybrid) experience.
The A3 Sportback e-tron sits at the upper end of the A3 range and is specified accordingly.
Standard features include:
- Keyless entry
- Audi Parking system plus; front and rear parking sensors with rear view camera and park assist
- Audi ‘drive select’
- Leather-appointed sports seats
- Multi-function steering wheel with paddle-shift
- Audi Music Interface
- Bluetooth with audio streaming, digital radio (DAB+)
- MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch (7.0-inch retractable WVGA screen, DVD player, 2 x SDHC memory card readers, voice control, 20 GB HDD storage)
- LED headlights and DRLs
Below the bonnet of the A3 Sportback e-tron is a 1.4 TFSI engine with 110kW, a 75 kW electric motor and a six-speed S tronic transmission, specially developed for the e-tron.
Total combined output is a healthy 150kW, with maximum torque of 350Nm. Battery capacity is 8.8 kWh, and, somewhat uniquely among current plug-in-hybrid vehicles in the Australian market, it can be fully charged in approximately 2.5 hours.
As we discovered, having that electric motor lurking under the right foot gives the e-tron particularly strong performance. It will scoot to 100km/h in just 7.6 seconds and run on to a top speed of 222km/h.
In EV alone, that is, electric power only, it can accelerate to 60km/h in 4.9 seconds. Operated in full-electric mode, the A3 e-tron has a range of 50 kilometres.
For most commuters, that is enough to get them to work and back home again each day without using a single drop of fuel.
Fill the tank, and charge up the battery, and the A3 e-tron has a range of 920km, enough for a weekend away or an interstate run, without touching a powerpoint, or visiting a service station.
Fuel consumption is just 1.6 l/100km.
And, for those who worry about ‘dirty power’ from a dirty coal-burning electricity grid, Audi Australia has partnered with Origin Energy to purchase accredited renewable energy displacements as part of the GreenPower program (for the first 10,000km) with each vehicle sold.
But also standard with the e-tron is a home installation package that includes the fitting of a dedicated 230-volt, high-output 16-amp single-phase power outlet (for rapid battery charging).
It comes with a 5-Star ANCAP rating, can seat five in comfort and accommodate 280 litres of luggage in the boot (rising to 1120 litres with the rear seats folded flat).
“The A3 Sportback e-tron gives our customers an innovative and extraordinarily efficient mobility solution,” Andrew Doyle, Managing Director of Audi Australia, said.
“Urban dwellers can commute each day in pure electric mode, and you only need to charge the battery overnight. If you want to drive a longer distance, then the combination of the electric motor and petrol engine together gives you the kind of range that people are accustomed to.”
You will see them appearing in Audi dealerships over the next two weeks. (And well worth a look.)
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
- 2015 A3 Sportback e-tron: $62,490