Sometimes, you wonder what’s going through the minds of the marketing team who come up with the names for new vehicles. Over the years, Audi has usually stuck with the Teutonic tradition of using a combination of numbers and letters. All very objective and unemotional; passion is saved for the vehicle itself instead. However, with the introduction of the Audi A3 e-tron, there’s a hint of something a bit more emotive creeping in with that e-tron bit. It makes one wonder whether or not the namers/designers had happy childhood memories of that cheesy Disney precursor to The Matrix by the name of Tron.
The reason behind the name is nothing to do with virtual reality. Instead, it’s an indication that the Audi A3 e-tron is this prestigious German manufacturer’s contribution to the world of hybrid/electric vehicles. Yes – the Audi A3 e-tron is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, although the exciting sportback styling doesn’t give this away. You’d never know that the charging port is cunningly hidden behind the Audi logo on the grille. Germany is a bit of a world leader when it comes to renewable energy and renewable ways of generating electricity – part of national policy to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels. Quarter of the world’s current solar power is generated in Germany, especially in the south, where, surprise, surprise, Audi’s international headquarters is located. One would therefore expect that the Audi A3 e-tron will be the first of many plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles coming out of the Audi stable.
In fact, the Audi A3 e-tron is a classic case of market demand for high quality and environmental responsibility spurring technological change and improvements in the renewable energy area. It’s a luxury car, all right, but with super-low emissions. At full charge, the electric motor has a range of 50 km, so if you were to use the Audi A3 e-tron as an around-town runabout, you would hardly need to fill it up with fuel at all. When petrol and electricity are combined, the Audi A3 e-tron has a range of 940 km (depending, of course, on your driving style and a few other factors). Neither the turbocharged petrol engine nor the electric motor is a slouch: not when they work in tandem to do the 0–100 km/h sprint in 7.6 seconds and the ability to reach a top speed of 222 km/h. The 1.4-L TFSI petrol part of the equation delivers 110 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque between 1750 and 4000 rpm. The electric motor is even more “torquative”, with 330 Nm of twist at 0–2000 rpm and 75 kW of power. When the two engines work in tandem the way they are designed, you can get 150 kW and 350 Nm of torque. All this, when coupled up to the front wheels via the 6-speed “e S tronic” transmission, adds up to a major dollop of the “ooooh boy!” factor. It’s got more than enough get up and go to push you right back into the seats. All this for a combined fuel economy figure of 1.6 L/100 km. What more could anybody ask?
All right, we could ask for a bit more – we could ask for luxury and convenience as well. Once again, the Audi A3 e-tron delivers the goods in bucketloads. While the exact details of what you’ll get in the Audi A3 e-trons sold in Australia haven’t been revealed yet, we can be certain that you’ll get a rather fancy navigation system that “talks” to the electric motor. Tell the system that you plan to leave at such and such a time, plug your Audi A3 e-tron in and will make sure that it is fully charged to optimum level (it takes 5 hours to charge fully) when you’re ready to leave… and will even turn on the air-con so the interior of your Audi A3 e-tron is at the perfect temperature for you as soon as you get in ready for your trip. By the looks of the overseas models, the cockpit of the Audi A3 e-tron is very tastefully and attractively laid out. It has to display extra information, what with two motors to keep track of, but the dash isn’t cluttered at all and is very easy to read. All the safety devices you’d expect to see on an Audi are there – airbags all over the place, extra-tough occupant cell, pretensioned seatbelts. There will probably be a good collection of active safety packages provided, although the details on what we’ll get here in Australia aren’t clear yet.
One question that could be asked about the Audi A3 e-tron is how you charge the battery, given that Australia doesn’t have heaps of charging stations or electric bowsers or whatever you call the place where you “refuel” an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. The Audi A3 e-tron comes ready equipped with two charging cables (mains cable with industrial plug, and power cable with domestic plug), so you can charge your Audi A3 e-tron at home; however, Audi Australia recommend that you get an electrician to check your place first to make sure that your wiring can handle it (older houses with older wiring might struggle).
Current model series include:
For any more information on the Audi A3 e-tron, or for that matter any other new car, contact one of our friendly consultants on 1300 303 181. If you’d like some fleet discount pricing (yes even for private buyers!), we can submit vehicle quotes requests out to our national network of Audi dealers and come back with pricing within 24 hours. Private Fleet – car buying made easy!