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.