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2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron is Coming to America

4/3/2013
Audi introduced its new 2015 A3 lineup at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, revealing plans for a 4-door sedan, performance-tuned S3 variant of the sedan, and the A3 Sportback E-tron. Based on the 5-door hatchback version of the redesigned A3, the new 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron model is a plug-in gas-electric hybrid model with an electric-only driving range of approximately 31 miles, according to the automaker. After the vehicle's battery is depleted, it uses a gasoline engine to continue the journey until the battery can be plugged in to re-charge or the gas tank requires a refill.

Employing a parallel hybrid powertrain design, the new 2015 A3 Sportback E-tron pairs a turbocharged, 150-horsepower, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a 75-kW electric motor that is integrated into a special version of Audi's 6-speed S-tronic automated manual transmission. An 8.8-kWh Lithium-ion battery pack feeds electricity to the electric motor, which generates its peak torque from 0 rpm to 2,000 rpm, while the gasoline engine's peak torque is available from 1,750 rpm to 4,000 rpm. Audi claims the battery pack can be fully recharged in as little as 2.5 hours.

Taken together, the A3 Sportback E-tron's powertrain components produce 204 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Drivers choose how the system provides power, opting to use just the gasoline engine, just the electric motor, or a combination of both. The three driving programs include EV for electric-only, D for maximum efficiency, and S for a sportier character, according to Audi. Additionally, the A3 Sportback E-tron can simultaneously maximize power from the electric motor and gasoline engine in a boosting mode, and when the driver releases the accelerator pedal, both systems temporarily deactivate and enter a gliding mode.

As may be expected, the 2015 A3 Sportback E-tron's instrumentation is modified to reflect its unique powertrain, and includes a power meter, battery charge status display, drivetrain power flow, operating range for both electricity and gasoline, and consumption data for both electricity and gasoline. Additionally, Audi Connect services will allow owners to remotely monitor vehicle charge status and even pre-condition the cabin for driving on cold and hot days.

Design modifications are subtle, including a revised grille, unique rear apron and diffuser panel, xenon headlights, and distinctive 15-spoke aluminum wheels. Inside, E-tron badges remind the driver that this A3 is different from others. Standard equipment includes a panoramic glass sunroof, passive keyless entry with push-button starting, and Audi Drive Select technology, which allows the driver to configure driving dynamics to Auto, Dynamic, Comfort, and Individual programs.

Optional equipment has not been announced for the A3 Sportback E-tron, but Audi does confirm that its Audi Connect service will run on a 4G/LTE network, providing faster Internet connections for up to eight mobile devices. Additionally, Audi Connect delivers voice-activated access to social media, can translate incoming text messages to speech, and can reply to text messages with standardized replies. Expect the A3 Sportback E-tron to also offer a next-generation version of Audi MMI Navigation Plus with Google Earth 3-D satellite images, Google Maps Street View images, and Google Voice Local Search capability, controlled using a new MMI Touchpad dial.

The 2015 Audi A3 lineup launches in the United States during the first quarter of 2014.

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