TopGear.com21 February 2013

Audi A3 e-tron concept revealed

Ingolstadt’s plug-in hybrid offensive begins with this…

Audi A3 e-tron revealed

Remember BMW's range of born-electric I cars? Well, this is how Audi's answering back - a concept that fits an existing model with hybrid and all-electric power trains at a price that'll rival traditional petrol, diesel and natural gas propelled offerings.

Haven't we heard this before? Well, yes - Audi gave us electro remixes of an R8 and A1 before telling us it'd never actually build them. But it's describing the A3 as a "realistic glimpse into the future".

See more pics of the A3 e-tron

So, what's under the bonnet in the manufacturer's brave new future? A petrol engine... namely the VW group 1.4-litre direct-injection 148bhp unit that works with an electric motor mounted in the front of a six-speed dual clutch gearbox, where it develops up to 101bhp. That lot equates to a combined output of up to 201bhp and 258lb ft, which bests the new A3 1.8 TFSI's by 24bhp and 74lb ft.

You'll be able to drive it in three different modes - petrol only, electric only, and hybrid. The latter gathers up all the available oomph from both motors for maximum POWEEERRR. In red-hot mode, it'll do 0-62mph in 7.6sec and top out at 138mph. Pop it in all-electric mode and it'll whir up to 81mph with a maximum range of 31 miles. But the most impressive thing is the 188.3mpg fuel consumption figure and CO2 emissions of just 35g/km.

We'll have to wait until its official unveiling at the Geneva motor show for more, but in the meantime, d'you want one? And reckon Audi'll actually make it affordable?

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