The Audi A3 e-tron receives new hybrid tech to rival the Toyota Prius
5 March 2013

Audi has revealed a new 201bhp petrol-electric hybrid powered version of its third-generation Audi A3 at the Geneva motor show.

The new car, pictured here officially for the first time, is the latest product of the German car maker’s e-tron initiative. It aims to provide existing Audi  models with hybrid and all-electric propulsion technology at a price to rival traditional petrol, diesel and natural gas propelled models.

Having previously developed e-tron versions of its entry level A1 and R8 sportscar, only to announce they would not see production, Audi is putting a more positive spin on the newer A3 e-tron, describing it as a “realistic glimpse into the future”, suggesting it will “play a deciding role in the strategy of the brand”.

At the heart of the familiar looking hatchback is a modified version of Audi parent company Volkswagen’s new EA211 engine. The 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct-injection petrol unit delivers 148bhp and operates in combination with an electric motor mounted in the front of the new car’s six-speed dual clutch gearbox, where it develops up to 101bhp.

Together, the transversely mounted petrol engine and electric motor provide a maximum system output of 201bhp, with combined torque put at 258lb ft – figures that top the output of the new A3 1.8 TFSI’s turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine by 24bhp and 74lb ft.

The new drivetrain is capable of running in three different modes - solely in petrol mode, solely in electric mode or in hybrid mode, which sees both power sources pool their reserves for added performance.

Audi has yet to provide details to the A3 e-tron’s battery pack, charge time or kerb weight, but official claims put its 0-62mph acceleration at 7.6sec and top speed at 138mph.

In electric mode the new Audi reaches a claimed top speed of 81mph and possesses a maximum range of 31 miles.

Taking advantage of loopholes in the European fuel consumption procedure that allows the new car to complete the test primarily in electric mode with energy provided through plug-in means, the German car maker quotes a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 188.3mpg, endowing the A3 e-tron with average CO2 emissions of just 35g/km.

By comparison, the A3 1.8 TFSI returns a claimed 54.3mpg and emits 130g/km of CO2.

Audi is yet to confirm when the A3 e-tron will see large scale production. However, insiders at its Ingolstadt headquarters in Germany have confirmed to Autocar that plans already exist for a limited production run of the new car for in-house testing purposes. However, a hybrid based on the MQB platform will be a production reality - a Golf hybrid is scheduled to be revealed soon.

Our Verdict

Audi A3 hero front

Third-gen Audi A3 gets a mild facelift, more equipment, some new engines and a new hot model - but is it the cream of the premium hatch crop?

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21 February 2013

What a crazy way to determine fuel consumption. How about starting and finishing with a fully charged battery during a cycle, then add on the petrol ? Having said that, if this car manages a real world 60+ m.p.g. it will have a life but only if Audi refrain from adding  the fuel cost savings to the selling price of the car, which seems to be the usual way of things.


21 February 2013

Shut up and take my money! Audi have to build this, it's got excellent performance with such low CO2 emissions! And it's guaranteed to sell well if it's priced appropriately. In fact, it's guaranteed to take company car buyers by storm!

21 February 2013

Car manufacturers already take advantage of the current EU testing procedure for ICE vehicles, producing small capacity turbo petrol engines that cant get near the official combined figures, never mind the extra-urban ones, so it's hardly suprising that they play the game with electric vehicles too. Cant really blame Audi for this - if the test is flawed, you fix the test not blame the subject, or at least you don't tell the subject what the parameters of the test are in advance so they can't cheat.

21 February 2013

I don't blame Audi in the slightest. They have in fact no option but to comply with this crazy EU cycle. It's the law. What I do anticipate is saving perhaps £1000 p.a. on fuel but paying £10,000 up front for the priviledge. Since I wouldn't dream of keeping any car for 10 years I can't see the economic sense in it. The Volt and Ampera are good examples of this. Great fuel savings but at double the price of an Astra ? Not likely !


21 February 2013

Ratho1 wrote:

I don't blame Audi in the slightest. They have in fact no option but to comply with this crazy EU cycle. It's the law. What I do anticipate is saving perhaps £1000 p.a. on fuel but paying £10,000 up front for the priviledge. Since I wouldn't dream of keeping any car for 10 years I can't see the economic sense in it. The Volt and Ampera are good examples of this. Great fuel savings but at double the price of an Astra ? Not likely !

The Elephant in the room  is assuming that using less fossil fuels thereby paying far less tax will not be noticed by the receiver of your taxes, the government. They will be wanting the tax off you in one way or another. Pay very little on fuel and milage charge/congestion charge replaces it?


21 February 2013

So does Audio's target of price matching add up?  If you factor in economies of scale can you make a hybrid powertrain at the same cost as a similar performing ICE only.  Just on a google search so might be way out.  As a spare part an audio turbo was listed as £500+ I'm assuming this will be a part that can be dropped so would be a cost saving.  I found an electric motor for $400 = £250 then 1 KWh is £500 the price of a battery is focast to be £250 per 1 KWh by 2020.  A full EV is considered cost effect to most people at < £100 per KWh.  I'm guessing you would need 3 to 4 KWh batterries so you are looking at a £1.5 K premium on list price reducing over time less any other saving that could be made ie smaller ICE.  For the consumer there is the saving on TAX and fuel cost.  So maybe the maths does add up!

21 February 2013

So Audi finally gets round to rivalling the Prius after giving Toyota a 16 year head start and having senior executives maligning hybrids as 'cars for idiots'.

21 February 2013

Its an Audi. Its fast. Its price will be eye-watering.

Having said that its a car in the right direction.

Hybrid is the natural step up from IC engines.

Oh! and the EU emissions test is badly flawed!

21 February 2013

So limited specification details, no scheduled production or likely price estimate, it doesn't look like Audi is taking hybrids seriously. I suppose it keeps Audi in the news and might be interesting for motor show visitors, but the fact is that if you want a hybrid now (and one that's well proven, reliable and not too expensive) you still have to buy Japanese....

21 February 2013

LP in Brighton wrote:

... it doesn't look like Audi is taking hybrids seriously... if you want a hybrid now ... you still have to buy Japanese....

I do share your concerns. VW Group in my opinion is the most influential car maker. It'll soon be world's largest car maker. It needs to show committment to new energy solutions.

Tweaking petrol and diesel engines to fool the European fuel consumption tests is not the solution. Mating the IC engine with electric motor is the next step in car development.

Somebody needs to challenge Toyota's monopoly on hybrid technology. VW is the only car maker that can do so. Problem is not developing hybrid powertrain but making it affordable.


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