In past decade, dozens of electric and plugin hybrid cars have knocked the mart. Audi has a brand-new commodity in this race that it hopes will be enough to invite fuel-conscious consumers who, in less immoral times, might have obtained for a diesel from Germany.
That vehicle is the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron experimented here. It’s among the first in what soon will become a herd of luxury or plug in words, look for the Mercedes-Benz C350e and the BMW 330e this year and several brand-new Volvo PHEV versions before the extremity of the decade. Analyzed with more acquainted plug ins such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford C-Max Energi, the Audi feels more upmarket. Actual leather chairing surfaces come grade even on Audi’s base Premium cut stage and the A3 boasts solid driving dynamics. It lacks the cliché blue cut and its charging-plug port is hidden behind the rings on the opening. One easily could nonaccomplishment the e-tron for an orderly A3. But it’s quite a bit more than that.
For one situation, the e-tron is the only A3 hatchback currently for selling in the U.S. More all-important, there’s the hybrid powertrain. a 8.8-kWh artillery enclose underneath the breed rooms energies a 102-hp electric motor that also makes 243 lb-ft of torque. Increase the e-tron’s 150-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor to the concoction, and the whole system product is 204 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque.
The e-tron has four driving methods to increase the ratio of that powertrain: EV, hybrid, Hold, and Charge. Profound riders can command among them to modulate the e-tron’s use of electric energy. For instance, on a commute that starts with freeway miles and extremities with municipality traffic, the chauffeur can specify Hold method to elude using artillery energy during freeway cruising, where EVs are less businesslike. On long roadway journeys, riders can direct motor energy to recharge a spent artillery, supplying the possibility to steer under artillery energy later without stopping to plug in. In EV method, the A3 uses only the electric motor unless the chauffeur requires limit energy by moving the pedal ago its built-in kickdown command, at which component the substance motor turns on to give more torque. Once the artillery is emptied, the e-tron absences to hybrid method, where the torque is a mixing together of both energy points, although even in this method the electric hardware is still often used solely to energy the vehicle at debased accelerates and at stoplights. Methods are appointed using the Audi MMI info and navigation system, which, despite some menu thinking that we found alleged, is fairly user-friendly. It’s regular on the top Premium Plus, a $2100-to-$2600 option on Premium and Prestige trims. Sport method, appointed using the translation bar, maximizes the accessible energy from both the gasoline engine and the electric motor.
The A3 e-tron’s EPA appraisals are 83 MPGe using only the electric motor and 35 mpg when the engine is in use. The Ultra version, a no-been option that puts the vehicle on debased-rolling-resistance tires attached on 16-inch wheels rather than the regular 17s on our try-out instance, does slightly good, with EPA appraisals of 86 MPGe using artillery energy and 39 mpg with the gasoline engine. Equaling both gallons of gas eaten and kilowatt-hours of electricity drank out of the artillery, we saw 40 MPGe had during our nearly 600-mile try-out. The fuel economy phenomenon doesn’t seem very fantastic for a plug in hybrid and the e-tron’s electric extent isn’t at the top of the collection, either. The artillery dispatched about 20 miles of EV extent on a full charge, which is actually good than the EPA-calculated 17 miles.
By examination, the Hyundai Sonata plug in hybrid is evaluated at 27 miles of electric extent, and the 2017 Chevrolet Volt is calculated to go a large 53 miles solely on artillery energy. Both of those cars have base values several thousand dollars less than the e-tron’s $38,825 been of entry. For drivers concerned only with fuel economy and electric extent, the e-tron is not the champion blow for their horse. But cause in its other qualities, and the A3 is a more finish collection than much of its plug in competition.
The e-tron saved a decent 6.5 second zero-to-60 mph run while fully charged. In EV method—again fully charged, energy only by the artillery and electric motor, the e-tron acted nearly double that moment to come 60 mph, 11.2 seconds. Stopping to a stop from 70 mph acted 168 feet, with no weaken after aggregate efforts, and the e-tron dispatched 0.85 g of side grasping on the skidpad. By virtually every performance maneuver, it beats the Chevy Volt, the Ford C-Max Energi, and the BMW i3. The i3 stopped eight feet abbreviated, but it’s more than 500 pounds lightweight than the A3 e-tron. On public anchorages, the A3 feels fast, foreseeable, and rigid. Despite the hybrid powertrain’s more weight the e-tron is 478 pounds dense than the most new A3 1.8T car, the e-tron delivers drama-free freeway passing.
Merchandise space, another location where vehicular artillery packs can accurate a toll, is actually good in the A3 e-tron than in the A3 sedan, acknowledgments to the vehicle body style. The e-tron’s 14 blockish feet is not the champion in the plug-in collection , Ford’s C-Max Energi boasts 19 cubes behind the second line but it was enough to pull daily rubbishes with area to thin. Audi is wishing that for the right consumer, the e-tron’s chic out, luxury taps, and good roadway demeanors will be enough to confirm its abrupt value. The groomed Sportback is practically designed to make the people desirous, especially in our try-out vehicle’s Misano Red colorant (a $575 option). Inside, the Premium Plus collection on the version we experimented ($4100) increased heated front rooms, LED headlights, Audi’s iPod interace and other nonfunctional transformations. The $2600 Technology collection improves the MMI system to include a touchpad on the command wheel for tip signals, as well as increasing 4G internet connectivity and blind-spot monitoring. For more sportier, drivers can opt for the $1150 Sport collection, it adds extendable thigh supports on the front rooms, translation bats, 18-inch wheels and more leather in the compartment. In all, our try-out vehicle were $46,100. All those supports jumped our filled A3 into a value component somewhere between mass-mart plug-ins like the Volt and the C-Max and large luxury plug ins like the Mercedes-Benz C350e and the BMW 330e.
For a realistic customer, a less exorbitant PHEV with more all-electric extent would be an all-knowing decision. The e-tron is designed for a very accurate consumer, one who typically drivers only abbreviated spacings, cares at least as much about impressions as about decreased egresses, and is consenting to pay a premium for luxury indulgence award.
For someone with that different mix of priorities, the A3 e-tron is one of the champion transportation solutions this side of the BMW i8.