Audi A3 e-tron Test Drive Review
We have been hearing exciting updates from VW Group about the Alternative Fuel Road Map and now Atlanta got a taste of what Audi has in store.
The Audi A3 E-Tron (priced from $37,900) already made news when the Audi Configurator went online. No EPA rating is available, but Audi NA decided to showcase the car around the country. By the way, you can see here if it’s coming your way.
Overall, the car is very impressive. Being a former A3 owner I felt right at home, with familiar controls, layout and general feel of the car. From the outside the E-Tron is exactly the same as the gasoline version with the exception of the hidden charging port upfront (more on it later).
*Editor’s note: This brief A3 e-tron test drive occurred in the Atlanta area during the Audi tour.
As with majority of PHEV vehicles you get to choose what EV mode you like to drive. EV Only, Hybrid or keep the battery charged. The selection can be done with ease from a dedicated button on the front panel.
It was important for me to drive the vehicle in the electric mode and unofficially (No EPA yet) the car can do 19 miles on pure electric with an 8.8 kWh battery. (Federal Tax Credit of about $4200). The acceleration was very impressive compared to Porsche. I driven both Panamera and Cayenne and this vehicle is a huge improvement. Paddle shifters actually allow you to choose gears in EV mode, since the electric motor is housed in the gearbox. The A3 shifts very seamlessly to gasoline mode without any hesitation. If you need extra power pressing the accelerator past the kick down portion will activate the PHEV system and you will feel the full power of the car. If you were to put the feeling of EV only torque: It is higher compared to a Nissan LEAF but lower compared to BMW i3. Overall acceleration is at 7.6 sec
The vehicle I drove was fully loaded with all the latest gadgets you might expect. Bang and Olufsen speakers, Adaptive Cruise Control, Side Assist (blind spot warning), Active Lane Assist and more.
Onto charging: Audi Claims a 2:15 minute charge on 240v and they add a nice surprise with a 220v charger in the vehicle that has the ability to switch plugs and adapters. Rated at only 16A still is a great improvement compared to 110v chargers we find in most EVs. On board charger is set at 3.7 kW.
The charging door is located upfront and requires a manual latch open to access the port. There you will find two buttons to control charging and a light indicator. The plug should lock when the car is locked, but we were unable to test during this event.
Under the hood you will find a lot of components as with any PHEV, so I am sure Audi engineering had to cramp a lot of components into a small area.
For someone looking to purchase their next vehicle and would like to at add a solid EV experience, this could be a good choice. Of course, it does not stack up to 2016 Volt’s range, but at least there is another alternative for the buyers to choose from.