• First Drive: Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid

    by  • November 5, 2014 • Car Reviews, First Drives

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    2015 Audi A3 sportback e-tron exterior front left static

    The new Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid combines an electric motor with a petrol engine

    Audi took the opportunity to showcase its brand new plug-in hybrid model at this week’s Web Summit in Dublin, offering tech heads and business leaders alike a free Uber ride in the very futuristic sounding Audi A3 Sportback e-tron.

    Although it’s not officially available for test drive in Ireland until later this month, we got a chance to slide behind the wheel and take it for a quick spin around the city’s suburbs and a gloriously traffic-free M50.

    Audi’s first foray into the plug-in hybrid world, the e-tron features a 1.4TFSI petrol engine and an electric motor, which provide a combined power output of 204bhp.

    Audi puts its 0-60kph acceleration time at 4.9 seconds, fuel consumption at 1.5l/100km and C02 emissions at 37g/km.

    It said it has a range of 50km under electric power alone, rising to up to 940km in combined mode.

    Charging the plug-in A3 e-tron is via an industrial power socket – which takes just over two hours for a full charge – or via a normal 3-pin domestic power socket. The latter takes about three hours and 45 minutes. It also benefits from regenerative braking.

    It will be delivered with a home charging cable for use with a standard 3-pin domestic socket and an industrial socket, where available.

    A public charging cable will also be provided, which can be used with more than 1,200 public charge points around the country.

    2015 Audi A3 e-tron interior cockpit

    Bar the EV-specific instrument panel, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is very similar to the regular A3 model

    A five-seater with a decent sized boot, the A3 e-tron ‘offers a no compromise solution to electric driving while embodying Audi’s core characteristics of elegant design, sporty chassis, top-notch ergonomics, excellent build quality and an extensive choice of high-end assistance and infotainment systems,’ Audi maintains.

    Standard spec in this model includes MMI Navigation Plus, automatic air conditioning, leather upholstery, Xenon headlights, and e-tron design alloy wheels.

    Director of Audi Ireland, Christian Gussen, said the new Audi A3 e-tron ‘marks another important step toward sustainable individual mobility’.

    He added: ‘It embodies our innovative technology and Audi’s premium claim. Our dealers have already received a very positive level of customer enquiries ahead of the A3 e-tron launch.’

    From out short time behind the wheel, we can say that apart from its near silent EV mode and EV-specific instrument panel, the A3 e-tron feels very much like an Audi, handling well both in the city and on the motorway.

    While we didn’t time it, we can attest that it is very fast, based on our 0-120kph sprint on an empty M50. We look forward to putting it through its paces, checking out its efficiency and hybrid technologies in a proper test drive.

    Audi North Dublin and Audi Cork are Audi’s e-tron dealers in Ireland and their staff are receiving specialist training relating to electric vehicles.

    The all new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is now available to order, with prices starting from €39,950. Test drives will be possible from late November and first deliveries are scheduled for early next year.

    Visit the Audi Ireland website or its Facebook page for further details.

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