I just received an email from a representative of Audi that US pricing for the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron has been announced. The MSRP base is $37,900 before the US federal tax credit for electric cars and before any state or local incentives.
The plug-in hybrid e-tron is the first plug-in electric Audi to hit the US market. It has already been on sale in Europe and has been doing quite well there relative to other models.
Some other key stats about the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron are that it produces 204 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque, has a 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and 240-volt charging refills the battery in ~2 hours & 15 minutes. (Recharging via a normal 120-volt electricity outlet just takes 8 hours, which is basically quick enough to recharge overnight.) EPA ratings for range and fuel economy haven’t been finalized yet, but will reportedly be announced in the near future.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron comes with some smartphone apps that make the electric car just that much more convenient. You can set automatic charging times with it, adjust the climate controls remotely, and (of course) check the status of your car’s charge.
This initial plug-in offering from Audi will hit dealerships in October. While $37,900 is the base MSRP, the “Prestige” package brings that up to $46,800. So, this basically puts it between the Volkswagen e-Golf ($35,445) and the Mercedes B-Class Electric ($41,450) or BMW i3 ($41,350). The US federal tax credit for the e-tron is expected to be $4,168, so a few thousand less than those all-electric models get ($7,500).
I think the e-tron is going to have a harder time finding a good sales rhythm in the US than it has in Europe. For one, the 2016 Chevy Volt is probably its top competitor, and it will offer a lot more electric range (53 miles, compared to <20 miles for the e-tron) and a lower price ($33,995). The e-tron is a little sportier and can get to 60 mph in about 7.6 seconds, perhaps a second faster than the new Volt, and it will of course appeal to those who like the Audi brand, but I think the majority of people interested in a plug-in hybrid will go for the cheaper Volt, Ford Fusion Energi ($33,900), or Ford C-Max Energi ($31,635) — mostly the Volt. But we’ll see, and some extra competition is certainly welcome!… even if it took Audi a few years too long to bring it to market.
Here are some more details on the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron from Audi itself:
Plug-in hybrid system
The 2016 A3 Sportback e-tron features a 1.4 liter TFSI® engine with a six-speed S tronic® transmission. Combined with a liquid-cooled, permanent magnet-driven electric motor, the A3 e-tron produces 204 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque for impressive off-the-line acceleration and high-end power. An 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides electrical energy storage and is packaged beneath the rear seat, allowing for a fully-usable trunk.
Charging and connectivity
The charging connection for the A3 Sportback e-tron is located behind the four rings in the Singleframe® grille. This placement in the front of the vehicle is convenient for charging from a power source on either side of the vehicle and the port is hidden when not in use.
- 240-volt charging quickly replenishes the battery in about 2 hours and 15 minutes
- Vehicle comes standard with 240 volt mobile electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) which can also be used in a common 120-volt outlet
- Recharging through a 120-volt outlet takes approximately 8 hours
- Home installation of a 240-volt outlet and home charging station are optional
- Available smartphone app allows the driver to remotely check on the status of their A3 e-tron. It can be used to check battery status and for “charge planning” – setting times for charging to automatically begin
- The driver can also use the app to adjust climate control remotely for added comfort and energy savings
Unique drive modes
The A3 Sportback e-tron also delivers a four driving choices for motorists, including full battery propulsion and battery recharge mode:
- In EV mode, the vehicle is powered only by the electric motor for a smooth and quiet ride featuring quick acceleration
- Hybrid mode allows the car to intelligently select the most efficient power source – either EV, Hybrid or gasoline
- Hold Battery mode allows hybrid driving while preserving EV range for later use
- Charge Battery mode uses the gasoline engine to recharge the battery while driving at highway speed
- The electric engine can also supplement the gas engine to provide an extra boost of power when desired.
Audi energy offering
To ensure driving an A3 Sportback e-tron is convenient and sustainable, Audi is providing the Audi energy portfolio of products with each vehicle sold. Audi energy includes:
- A standard Audi-designed mobile charging system that works with standard U.S. household outlets or 240-volt service
- The option for professional 240-volt plug installation through Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, which can lower home charging times to around 2.25 hours
- Optional solar power installation with rebates through SunPower
- Audi contributions to environmental conservation programs through 3Degrees to help offset the carbon footprint of every A3 Sportback e-tron sold
Other standard features
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron comes equipped with a wide variety of standard equipment, including.
- Xenon plus high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights
- LED taillights with rear fog lights
- LED interior lighting package
- Power central locking system with radio-operated key fob remote control for doors, tailgate and fuel door with selective unlocking
- Automatic dual-zone climate control
- Three-spoke multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Audi advanced key – keyless start, stop and entry
- Audi drive select
- Rear view camera, with front and rear parking sensors
- Audi pre sense® basic
Design and Body
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron boasts a variety of design features that speak to its sporty and efficient character.
- e-tron specific Singleframe grille, S line front/rear fasciae and side sills, rear bumper with hidden exhaust outlet
- Available full LED headlights
- Available aluminum roof rails
- Panoramic sunroof with retractable sunshade and pinch protection
- 16’’ wheels standard (17” and 18” wheels available)
The interior of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron comfortably seats 5 passengers. The lithium-ion battery is hidden beneath the rear seat for even more room and luggage capacity in the trunk. Both the driver and passenger have access to a variety of standard and available technology features.
- Cargo area offers 13.6 cu ft. of luggage capacity
- MMI® wheel with optional MMI touch
- Ultra-thin 7’’ MMI screen with available 7” display
- Circular air vents
- Available 3D optic inlays
- e-tron specific shift knob, badging on the dash, instrument cluster and door sills
Powertrain and Performance
|Engine||Transmission||Horsepower||Torque||EPA Estimates (City/Highway/Combined mpg)|
|A3 Sportback e-tron||1.4-liter TFSI FWD PHEV||Six-speed S tronic||204 hp||258 lb-ft.||TBA|
EPA fuel economy estimates are not available as of this release. See fueleconomy.gov. Actual mileage will vary and depend on several factors including driving and charging habits, weather and temperature, battery age, and vehicle condition. Battery capacity decreases with time and use.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron raises the bar as to what is expected out of electrified vehicles.
- Sirius XM® Satellite Radio
- Available MMI navigation plus system features 4G LTE based technology, MMI touch, two SD card slots for MP3 files
- The MMI operating system has an electronically extending screen, its terminal housed in the console of the center dashboard. Available touch pad is incorporated into the rotary MMI control wheel, which offers intuitive and simple operation
- NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU) generates complex three-dimensional images used in all online, voice control, media navigation and telephone functions
- A 705 watt 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen Sound System is optional on the A3 Sportback e-tron.
The modular infotainment platform in the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron enhances the experience for Audi drivers and their passengers by providing the benefits of access to information and content, when needed, through interfaces designed for the in-vehicle environment.
- Available Audi connect®, including read aloud Twitter® alerts, access to more than 7,000 Internet broadcast stations, RSS news feeds and more
- MMI navigation plus uses 4G LTE to deliver the tailored services of Audi connect to the driver – from navigation with Google Earth and Google Street View
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron offers several advanced technology features, including:
- Standard Audi pre sense basic system which helps detect when an emergency maneuver is being made and prepares the vehicle and its occupant restraint systems in advance of a possible collision
- Available Audi side assist, including lane change assistant, operating at speeds above 19mph and providing visual warnings located in exterior mirror housings
- Standard electronic cruise control with coast, resume and accelerate features
- Available Audi adaptive cruise control with stop & go
- Available Audi active lane assist: when the system detects that the driver is leaving the lane without signaling, the car, through gentle corrective steering efforts, will assist the driver to remain in the lane
- Audi pre sense front: includes brake assist or partial braking when the risk of a collision is detected
Chassis and Suspension
The A3 Sportback e-tron platform provides well-balanced proportions, supplemented by optimized interior space utilization and an improved structure.
- Front suspension is a MacPherson strut design with A-arms and aluminum pivot bearings. It is joined to an aluminum subframe
- The electromechanically assisted steering system operates sensitively and efficiently together with various assistance systems, while reducing mechanical drag for greater efficiency
- In the four-link rear suspension, which utilizes a steel cross member, the springs and shock absorbers are mounted separately
- The electronic stability control (ESC) also includes an electronic differential lock and secondary collision brake assist.
- When driving through curves, it can brake the inside front wheel very slightly to help minimize understeer and improve traction
Model year 2016 A3 Sportback e-tron starting manufacturer suggested retail prices:
(Excluding destination charge, taxes, title, options and dealer charges)
|Audi A3 Sportback e-tron1.4 liter TFSI
Prices above exclude destination charges ($925), taxes, title, optional equipment, and dealer charges. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is available only at participating Audi dealers. Dealer sets actual price.
Federal tax credits are available only to qualifying taxpayers that purchase a new Audi A3 e-tron vehicle, and are not be available to lease customers. Qualifications for state incentives will vary. All tax credits and incentives are subject to change. Please consult a tax professional for advice. This content does not constitute tax advice.
For more information on the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron please visit www.audiusa.com.
Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted.