Don’t let the e-tron name fool you: the all-new Audi A3 e-tron is actually a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle capable of returning roughly 188 mpg on the European combined test cycle.
Externally, there are few differences separating the e-tron model from the A3 Sportback it’s based on. Eagle-eyed attendees at next month’s Geneva Motor Show will notice the 15-spoke wheels, the closed-off front intakes, the chrome horizontal grille accents, the revised diffuser with hidden tailpipe, and oversized decals.
However, it’s the changes beneath the skin that matter most. Under the hood is a modified version of Audi’s 1.4-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine linked to a 75-kw electric motor; both sources send power through a redesigned six-speed e-S tronic dual-clutch transmission to the front wheels. Total system output is rated at 201 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the latter or which is available from 1700 to 4000 rpm. Audi expects the A3 e-tron to make the run from 0 to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 138 mph.
Decent performance credentials aren’t the A3 e-tron’s only party trick: it can also cruise for approximately 31 miles on electric-only power at up to 80 mph before engaging the gas engine. The battery pack can either be recharged through regenerative braking or by plugging the car in.