Audi A3 e-tron Goes For A First Spin

4 years ago by Jay Cole 9

The Audi A3 e-tron Is Confirmed For US Availability As A 2015 Model

The Audi A3 e-tron Is Confirmed For US Availability As A 2015 Model

Recently Audi priced the upcoming A3 e-tron from €37,000 in Germany, a number we almost begrudgingly complimented the German automaker on – considering the company’s recent run of  less-than-stellar attempts at producing and selling plug-in vehicles at a reasonable price.  (e-Up!, XL1, R8, etc)

Audi A3 e-tron Interior

Audi A3 e-tron Interior

The European price sets up a US price expectation of sub $40,000, and yes – the Audi A3 e-tron is coming to America, but as a 2015 model; likely in the fall of next year.

But what is it like to drive?

Autocar has recently had the chance to take one for a spin and we thought we would pass along some highlights of Audi’s 201 hp/ 243 lb-ft of torque, 31 mile all-electric (NEDC – think low 20s US) extended range machine.

“As quiet as any other electric car on take-off, the e-tron’s easy silence provides relaxed, and swift urban progress. That said, your advance isn’t always as smooth as it should be because there’s sometimes a solid thump as drive takes up.”

Alex Pesch, who is the Audi A3 programme manager told Autocar that this is just an issue with the pre-production model and no finished Audi product would perform like that, “You can be sure that Dr Hackenberg (Audi boss) won’t allow that.”

As for the overall package, they come away quite impressed:

There are no jolts when the drivetrain is combining or switching between motors, and the 1.4 TFSI has a subtly pleasing rort about it when it’s worked hard. Not inappropriately either, because adding a battery pack, shifting the fuel tank to the rear and installing a particularly light engine means that this A3’s 55:45 front rear weight distribution improves on the diesel’s 60:40 apportioning, to the noticeable benefit of its handling.

The e-tron turns out to be the best-balanced, sweetest-handling A3 in the range, which makes for a pretty satisfying steer. It rides well too, although there’s still some damper calibration work to be carried out. Hopefully that won’t firm things up significantly.

The A3 e-tron travel from 0 to 62 mph in around 7.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 138 mph.  As for driving on just electricity, a top speed of 80 mph is in place.

For more, check out the complete review here.

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9 responses to "Audi A3 e-tron Goes For A First Spin"

  1. Ted Fredrick says:

    Thislooks like it may bethe plug in for my wife. I sold her BMW and replaced it with a Focus Electric. She reminds me that the Focus isnt the ultimate driving machine

  2. Anderlan says:

    Audi’s chief is “Dr. Hackenberg”? What’s his first name, Otto?

  3. EV says:

    the minimal electric range is such a shame and pretty much worthless, the whole car should be electric it looks really cool but it needs more e-range at least 50 if its going to have a gas tank

    1. Spec says:

      Well . . . 31 miles is much better than the Ford Energi cars. But yeah, I’d like to see it up around 50 . . . or at least 40 like the Volt.

    2. Nix says:

      More is better for the US, depending upon your personal driving habits. This shorter range seems more suitable for typical European driving habits, where folks tend to drive fewer miles every year/month/day than here in the US.

      But it really just comes down to each person’s driving habits and their own personal availability for charging at work. Personally, the short range would probably work just fine for me, and a bigger battery only range would just be a waste. But that is because I’m less than 20 miles from work, and I can charge at work. I would likely only use the gas engine on weekends or the rare times I have to drive a long ways at lunch time or right after work. But I’m just me and YMMV.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        I would like to end that long lasting myth that European drivers make shorter average distances than US drivers because it just isn’t so.
        What is true, is that the average European has a smaller car than in the US and that the car size usually determine the average daily driving distance. Since they have more smaller cars that tend to have smaller daily driven distances, the global average goes down. But for a given car size, and this is the very important element, the average daily distance remains the same.
        What this means is that a European Volt for instance will have the same daily average distance than a US Volt. I think it was important to set this strait otherwise wrong assumption keep carrying on.

  4. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Jay, did they say if it will have an AWD option on it?

    Thanks,
    MrEnergyCzar

    1. Jay Cole says:

      The way the powertrain is set-up there is no way the AWD will be an option.

      /sorry, )=

  5. Spec says:

    All right . . . a station-wagon!