Audi makes the right connection
By Mike Torpey
A NEW plug-in hybrid model will offer a realistic glimpse into the Audi brand’s future at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.
It is a petrol/electric hybrid called the A3 e-tron and comes with the promise of strong performance plus the potential for up to 188 miles per gallon and ultra-low CO2 emissions of 35g/km.
Audi says the electrification of the drivetrain - above all using plug-in technology - will play a decisive role in the company’s model strategy and how the technology will take shape in models of the future.
A modified 1.4-litre TFSI unit producing 150PS provides the more conventional input for the A3 e-tron and is linked by a clutch to a 75kw electric motor integrated into a newly designed six-speed 'e-S tronic' transmission sending power to the front wheels.
Combined, the two power units generate 204PS of system power and 350PS of system torque, good for a 0-62mph sprint of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 138mph.
And according to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid cars, the A3 Sportback-based e-tron is capable of covering up to 188mpg with CO2 emissions of just 35g/km.
The car can run exclusively on electric power for up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 80mph, or can be powered by petrol alone.
Alternatively, the hybrid mode brings both units into play, and the driver can choose to run them together – a function known as boosting.
When the driver stops accelerating in this mode, both motors temporarily deactivate, eliminating motor braking torque and allowing the car to glide to conserve fuel and recuperate energy.