Audi’s goal to create a tech-savvy plug-in electric without sacrificing its well-known brand benchmarks – drivability, quality construction and a “special car feel,” have yielded the A3 e-Tron; a sportback with one foot solidly placed in the luxury world and the other taking a step into the electric vehicle lifestyle realm. The A3 e-Tron’s compact wagon body style provides the cargo space of a small SUV while providing the driving characteristics of a sporty car, including a 0 to 60 second time of 6.5 seconds.
Audi claims a fuel economy of more than 70 MPG is possible. The 2017 base model features include: Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights; a panoramic sunroof; Audi Advanced Key – keyless start and stop; a parking system that includes front and rear acoustic parking sensors: dual zone climate control; Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with secondary collision brake assist and ASR traction control; a 12 V power outlet, and ambient LED interior lighting. The A3 e-Tron’s Infotainment/Technology suite includes Audi concert radio with ten speakers; a color driver information system; Bluetooth; HD and Sirius XM Radio; and an SD card slot with 32GB capacity.
This year's model has been refreshed with revised front and rear fascias, including head-and taillights. A $1350 Sport package adds 18-inch, 15-spoke wheels and a roof spoiler, sport seats and a three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters. With a starting price of $39,850 for the base Premium trim, the 2017 Audi A3 e-tron's base price has increased by $1025 compared with its 2016 counterpart. New features are the reason: Audi’s digital gauge cluster (dubbed Virtual Cockpit), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, and Audi’s Pre Sense front-collision warning system that can also apply the brakes on its own if necessary. A3 e-tron is also available in Premium Plus ($42,950) and Prestige ($48,500) trims.
The A3 e-tron's battery can be charged from a 240-volt outlet in 2.5 hours and in about 8 hours from a standard 110-volt outlet. Onboard regenerative braking also adds some juice to the battery while the A3 e-tron is being driven. There's a driver-selectable switch that engages the gasoline engine and shuts out the electric drive. If you want to save electric power for specific occasions, this can be useful.
Edmunds reviewers say: "The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron offers all the goodness of the regular A3 plus 16 miles of all-electric range. It's a compelling car if you want a premium plug-in hybrid without breaking the bank. The 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is unique among A3s. Not only is it a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it's also the only A3 variant that's a hatchback. Being a plug-in, the A3 e-tron allows you to drive short distances primarily on electric power, while longer trips are easily supported by the gasoline engine. And now that Audi's diesel offerings have been withdrawn, the A3 Sportback e-tron is the default choice among A3s when fuel efficiency is of paramount concern. With a full charge, its electric-only range is a modest 16 miles, but this is enough to support local errand runs. Once you run out of electric-only juice, the EPA says you can still expect 34 mpg in combined driving; for comparison, the the most frugal gas-powered A3 model achieves 27 mpg combined. Despite carrying a few hundred additional pounds of hybrid hardware, the low placement of the batteries below the rear seats hasn't drastically raised the car's center of gravity. As such, the car feels quite stable when in motion. It's eerily quiet when in electric-only mode, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that the A3 e-tron's cabin is well-hushed even when the gasoline engine fires up.
This hybrid isn't some powerless slug either: It's able to sprint to 60 mph in an estimated 7.6 seconds. Notwithstanding its hatchback body style, which gives you so added cargo-carrying utility, the e-tron is unmistakably a member of the A3 family. The charging port is hidden in the grille behind the typical Audi rings, and it shares its well-trimmed cabin with the standard A3 sedan and convertible."
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