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Audi A3

A3 e-tron

1 Aug 2015

In August 2015, Audi launched the first of what it hopes is a permanent electrification variant addition to all of its core passenger-car and SUV models moving forward in the A3 Sportback e-tron.

From $62,490, it isn’t cheap, but the single-variant plug-in petrol-electric parallel hybrid hatch does run for 50km or thereabouts on pure electricity.

Driving the front wheels via a specially designed six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission is a combination of a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder TSI direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, and a 75kW/330Nm electric motor. Together, they deliver 150kW and 350Nm of total system power and torque, 1.6 litres per 100 kilometres and 37 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre.

Top speed of 130km/h in EV mode, or 222km/h in hybrid drive. Total range is said to be 920km. Weighing in, minus the driver, at 1540kg, the A3 Sportback e-tron needs 7.6 seconds to hit 100km/h.

The spare wheel gives way to the battery pack installed in a safety cradle beneath the back cushion, relocating the smaller 40-litre fuel tank to under the cargo area floor, for a 100L reduction in boot capacity (now rated at 280L).

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