Audi's Plug-in Hybrid A3 Will Start at $38,825, On Sale in October
Audi announced this week that its plug-in hybrid version of the A3, dubbed A3 Sportback e-tron, will go on sale in October and cost $38,825 to start — $47,725 in Prestige trim — before federal and state incentives.
The car, which combines an 8.8 kWh battery and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, will make a combined 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy and range for all-electric driving hasn’t been announced by the automaker, although some reports peg the EV range at 30 miles.
The A3 plug-in hybrid will be the first Audi to run (at least partially) on electricity in the States.
The plug-in A3 starts at roughly $7,000 more than the base A3 sedan and about $4,700 more than the diesel A3 sedan. The e-tron is only available in front-wheel drive configuration.
Audi says that the car would take about eight hours to charge on a standard 120-volt outlet or just over two hours on a 240-volt outlet. An optional residential solar panel program, featured on the automaker’s online configurator, and carbon-credit program is available for the car. The automaker didn’t specifically detail either program in its announcement.
According to the automaker, more e-tron vehicles will be released in the U.S. but those haven’t been announced.
Three's a certain sanity to the design of most Audis that I find appealing. Instead of trying all manners of weird angles and frippery, they seem confident enough to just proclaim "I look like an Audi. Therefore I look good." I'm less sold on what seems to be a VW corporate engineering goal, of aiming for the same driving experience targets, regardless of vehicle segment. The goal seems to be to make every car, regardless of size and shape, feel as close to an A8 from behind the wheel as possible. As quiet, as surefooted, as stable, as "solid." Almost like a straight up admission that the only reason to buy an A3 over an A8, is that you can't afford the latter. And that if you could, you would rather have one of those. Maybe I'm just being an aging snob, but if were to buy a small hatch, I would do so because I wanted something different, less tomb like, more lively, more "youthful" than the A8. Kind of how Baruth preferred the FiST to the GTI, despite the GTI being "better" (as in more A8 like, presumably.)
This is such a F-Audi car for me. I realize it's the deadest of dead internet horses, but as someone who is actively shopping and would certainly open his checkbook tomorrow for an A3 Sportback or very likely the S3 version, it makes me so mad to not have access to a non-hybrid or diesel luxury CUV alternative and Audi's great service departments, especially when said cars are offered nearly everywhere else in the industrialized world.
Audi's research investment is increasingly into how to integrate electrification into their vehicles to provide substantial bumps in fuel economy. This is a play to manage Euro and US fleet emissions and gain competency in the game. The Q6, due to be demo'd at Frankfurt next month, will be a CUV/SUV running full electric. No word yet on range or when it will actually be available, but it's a big move for Audi. Audi's long rumored 'e-quattro' configuration should be next up, in theory allowing them to downsize most of their powertrains by leveraging electric motors to make up for the additional thrust. Some rumors have them using it to replace the rear wheel drive Torsen system with electric motors. My take on the adoption of electrification is that it will be most successful in those implementations where the EV powertrain complements a traditional dino unit, somewhat similar to what Porsche has done with the 918 but obviously in a mainstream way. It should be no surprise that manufacturers who have significant expertise in weight management (BMW, Audi) will likely see the greatest benefits in fuel economy. I'm not sold on pure EVs as being the way forward. I think that hybrid systems will become lighter and more tightly integrated with existing, downsized power plants.
"The e-tron is only available in front-wheel drive configuration." So the essence of Audi is removed. It is thus pointless.