Why the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron Matters:
Every automaker on the planet is exploring alternative powertrain solutions, with most car companies focused on transition technologies that wean society from gasoline and diesel to whatever’s next. While Audi is increasingly reliant on diesel to meet tougher U.S. fuel economy standards, electrification is another solution the company is offering, as evidenced by the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron. A plug-in gas-electric hybrid model, the new A3 Sportback E-tron is notable not just for its drivetrain. This is the only way to buy the redesigned 2015 Audi A3 in 5-door hatchback format.
What’s New for the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron:
- Plug-in, parallel hybrid drivetrain
- Electric-only, gas-only, or combined hybrid propulsion
- Audi S-tronic 6-speed automated manual gearbox
- Modified instrumentation and special Audi Connect services
- Subtle styling differences
New 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron: Styling and Design
In the U.S. market, the only way to buy a 2015 Audi A3 in 5-door hatchback format is to choose the E-tron model. Distinctive by virtue of its exclusive body style, the A3 Sportback E-tron also gets a unique grille and multi-spoke 15-inch aluminum wheels that are not shared with other A3 models. A panoramic glass sunroof is standard equipment.
Inside, this version of the redesigned 2015 Audi A3 is equipped with special instrumentation associated with its unique powertrain and “E-tron” badges to remind the owner of the car’s green-machine status. Audi Connect is standard, running on a new 4G/LTE network and providing the ability for owners to remotely check the car’s charge status or to pre-condition the interior temperature prior to driving.
New 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron: What’s Under the Hood
The new A3 Sportback E-tron is equipped with what Audi calls a parallel hybrid powertrain. That means the driver decides whether to operate the car purely on electricity, purely on gasoline, or using a combination of both. This is possible thanks to the A3 Sportback E-tron’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, which pairs a turbocharged, 150-horsepower, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with a 75-kW electric motor and an 8.8-kWh Lithium ion battery pack. Combined, the powertrain generates 204 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque.
The driver selects between EV, D, and S driving modes. In EV mode, the A3 Sportback E-tron operates purely on electricity for up to 31 miles of driving range. It takes as little as 2.5 hours to recharge the battery, depending on the type of charging station, according to Audi. In D mode, the car is programmed to operate in the most efficient manner possible. In S mode, the car offers greater response and a more sporting driving character. A gliding mode automatically activates when the driver lifts off the accelerator, shutting off the gas engine and electric drivetrain to conserve energy.
New 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron: Features and Technology
Audi plans to equip the A3 Sportback E-tron with plenty of standard features, including Audi Drive Select technology, which allows the driver to calibrate the car’s driving dynamics to Auto, Dynamic, Comfort, and Individual settings. Like other A3 models, the A3 Sportback E-tron is expected to offer a next-generation version of Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) system, with upgraded navigation and a new MMI Touchpad controller. Also, Audi Connect provides a mobile Wi-Fi connection for up to eight different devices, converts incoming text messages to speech, and offers voice-activated access to social media platforms.
New 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron: What Autobytel Thinks
Combining the convenience and practicality of a 5-door hatchback body style with the brilliance of Audi’s parallel hybrid powertrain, the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-tron is a compelling new approach to green driving.