The A3 e-tron combines a 1.4 liter gasoline engine with an electric motor for a total of 204 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. 0 to 60 MPH comes up in 7.6 seconds on the way to a top speed of 138 mph, and power is transmitted to the front wheels via an Audi DSG paddle shifted unit called the e-S tronic. (Where do manufacturers come up with these bizarro names?) The car is expected to be capable of driving about 20 miles on electric power only using its 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery.
Audi has put extra engineering resources into the powertrain for hybrid duty. To deal with the stresses of stop/start technology, the 1.4-liter engine uses coated pistons and bearings to ensure it is protected even when called into action from cold, while the electric motor is liquid cooled to protect against overheating.
The A3 e-tron should be hitting American shores sometime in the middle of next year after its European launch, and should proceed a long list of electrified Audi vehicles. What Audi will get the e-tron treatment next?