2016 – 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

2016 nbsp – nbsp 2017 audi a3 sportback e-tron – DOC686783

Audi had been touting the electrification of its models for quite a while, but it was all talk until January of 2016 when the brand released the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. In typical Audi fashion, the A3 e-tron was nearly identical to its gasoline and diesel drinking brethren. Well, aside from a hidden charging port and a fancy little badge to demonstrate the cars electrified presence on the road, that is. Available with just one engine, a 1.4-liter four-cylinder, and an electric motor, the e-tron delivers just over 200 horsepower and can hit the 60-mph sprint in less than eight seconds. It’s not wildly impressive, but the car does offer around 31 miles of all-electric driving for those of you with a really short daily commute.

Another cool feature about the e-tron is Audi’s collaboration with SunPower. Through SunPower, Audi is able to offer charging via solar panels at your home. Of course, this probably won’t be cheap, but if don’t mind paying for the technology, it could save you a little money in the long run. Plus, you know, it’s good for the environment too.

For 2017, the A3 e-tron carries over unchanged for the most part. It does take on a couple of small updates, and there are some new options available that really add to the overall luxuriousness of the car. Pricing for the 2017 model year has also changed a bit, but nothing too drastic. With that said, let’s take a look at the 2016 – 2017 Audi A3 e-tron and talk about the minor changes that come with the 2017 model year.

Exterior

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The e-tron looks like a normal 2013 Audi A3, aggressively normal, even. There are sometimes indicators that a hybrid made out of an existing model is different. Different wheels or a visible charging port are pretty good indicators, but Audi has shunned all of this. Badging will still give it away, but the e-tron’s charging port is actually hidden in the front grille, behind the four-ring logo.

This whole section of the grille slides out of the way to expose the port for charging. It seems unnecessary and possibly even gimmicky, but it is at least a good location for easy charging access in a small garage. One also could never accuse Audi of trying to cash in on trendiness of conspicuous conservation with electrified vehicles in certain circles. This is therefore an A3 that looks like an A3, a five-door hatchback that won’t turns heads but is certainly an attractive vehicle.

Changes for 2017

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

As I said before, there aren’t a lot of changes to talk about here, but for 2017, the A3 e-tron now comes equipped with a panoramic sunroof as standard equipment. In addition, it now comes standard with LED running lights. LED headlights are available as an option on Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. Rounding out the exterior upgrades for 2017 is a new rearview camera that is now also included as standard equipment. It’s not much, but it’s enough to help keep the model fresh for another year.

An additional option comes in the form of the Sport package, which adds an S line roof spoiler and a pair of sexy, 18-inch, 15-spoke Turbine-design wheels with all-season tires. No word on the pricing for the for this package yet, but it also includes a couple of interior updates as well so expect it to hit the wallet at least a little bit.

Interior

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The only indicator on the inside of the A3 Sportback e-tron that it is a plug-in vehicle come in the form of a slightly different instrument cluster, which gives battery charging information instead of a tachometer, and the option to display further information on the vehicle’s MMI screen. The addition of battery packs has taken up a bit of the cargo area in the back, but it’s not as bad as in some other hybrids.

This is because Audi has made the fuel tank smaller as a means of avoiding encroaching on the cargo area any more. Still, you will notice the difference, it means 13.6 cubic feet of cargo area compared to 19.5 in the standard Sportback. The car has the usual interior refinements, and Audi will let you option it up quite a lot. Audi makes a good interior, but it’s no better than the interior on the less-expensive conventional version of the car.

Changes for 2017

There aren’t any new standard features to speak of inside the car, but there is a new list of available options in the technology department. First, and most important, on the list is the option for Audi’s virtual cockpit. Eventually, this thing has to become standard equipment across the line, but for now, it is still just an option. For the A3 e-tron, the virtual cockpit comes with a fresh face that is specialized specifically for this electrified hatchback. The biggest unique feature here is the power meter screen that shows range and consumption information not only for the electrical system but for the gasoline system as well. Otherwise, it is similar to the virtual cockpit available in other models, but it’s certainly a nice addition.

The biggest unique feature here is the power meter screen that shows range and consumption information not only for the electrical system but for the gasoline system as well

Other interior options include the Audi smartphone interface that brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration into the mix. There’s also the option to upgrade to Audi connect Prime and Plus, which comes with a six-month trial subscription to go with the optional MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch – all features that are well worth having in a model of luxury.

In addition to this, the Sport package that I mentioned earlier brings a three-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel into the driver’s hands to go with a pair of shift paddles for that dual-clutch transmission – definitely a necessity if you’re interested in getting into some more spirited driving every now and then. To go with that, the package also includes front sport seats to help you feel a little extra support during more extreme maneuvers.

Drivetrain

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Motivating the A3 Sportback e-tron is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder that delivers 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and an electric motor that delivers 102 horsepower. Despite the math saying otherwise, Audi says the overall output of the engine and motor combo is rated at 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties are handled by a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission that can be equipped with paddle shifters via the Sport package. The electric motor is powered by an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery back. Charging time varies by source, but Audi claims an 8-hour charge time on 110 volt, while a full charge takes just two hours and 15 minutes via 240-volt power source. As mentioned before, solar charging is also available through SunPower, however, there is no word on charging times through this method.

All-electric range is said to be around 30 to 31 miles, which falls pretty short of the Chevy Volt

All-electric range is said to be around 30 to 31 miles, which falls pretty short of the Chevy Volt, but is decent compared to models like the Prius plug-in and the Ford Fusion plug-in. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 86 mpg-e in the city, 87 mpg-e on the highway, and 86 mpg-e combined. Running on the gasoline engine alone should net you about 34 mpg. Speaking of which, the gasoline engine can also be used to charge the battery when it is depleted, which will ultimately provide you with addition all-electric or electric-assisted range.

As far as performance goes, Audi claims that the A3 Sportback e-tron can hit 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, while the quarter-mile takes about 15.8 seconds. It’s nothing to write home about, but you don’t by something like the A3 Sportback e-tron to run 10s in the quarter, now do you?

Drivetrain Specifications

Prices

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

For 2016, the e-tron was priced at $37,900 for the Premium trim, $42,000 for the Premium Plus trim and $46,800 for the range-topping Prestige trim level. For 2017, the pricing has changed a little bit, but not a whole lot. The Premium trim now comes in at $38,900, representing a $1,000 price increase for 2017. The Premium Plus trim level remains the same at $42,000 while the range-topping Prestige trim increases by $750 to $47,550. Given the fact that the panoramic sunroof is now standard equipment across the line, these mild price increases really aren’t that bad with the mid-range premium plus apparently holding the best standard value of the line.

2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron – Prices

2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron – Prices

Competition

Chevy Volt

The Chevy Volt was updated for the 2017 model year and now comes with an all-electric range of 53 miles and a total range of up to 420 miles with a full tank of gas. The gasoline engine is a 1.5-liter unit, however, Chevy has yet to release actual performance specs for the engine. Power is direct to the front wheels. Pricing starts out at $33,220 for the entry-level LT version and $37,570 for the Premier trim level. Rumor has it that the Volt hits 60 mph in 9.1 seconds which is far less than the A3, but not too bad considering it isn’t a car based on performance in any way, shape, or form.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Plug-hybrids are getting a lot of attention these days in Europe because several European cities are considering banning the use of internal combustion engine in city centers. Should this happen, it might be better to just buy a pure electric. The B-Class Electric Drive has a range of 100 miles and is the nearest pure electric equivalent to the e-tron. The base price is slightly more than that of the Audi, but it would be well worth spending the extra if you had to do a lot of driving in a city where you couldn’t use your internal combustion engine.

Conclusion

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The A3 Sportback e-tron definitely requires some compromises on the part of the buyer. For those willing to accept these compromises, there are a few advantages, although these are for such specific circumstances that it’s difficult to imagine there being much of a market for it. Driven very carefully and for relatively short distances, it can deliver some good fuel economy numbers, just not quite as good as those of some of its competitors. It’s better for performance than those competitors, but driving it hard means unimpressive economy numbers, while still delivering worse performance than a cheaper base A3. For those who want an inconspicuous plug-in, or are too label-conscious to buy a Volt, the e-Tron is a solid choice, although that must be a very niche market.

LOVE IT

  • Better pure electric range than most plug-in hybrids
  • A plug-in that has actual power and can drive somewhat quickly
  • Starting price is surprisingly reasonable

LEAVE IT

  • Difficult to justify its existence when a diesel version exists
  • Offers performance and fuel economy, just not at the same time
  • The e-tron in the name makes much bigger promises than the car delivers

Press Release

Audi announced U.S. prices for the all-new 2016 A3 Sportback e-tron® will begin at $37,900, and purchasing customers may qualify for applicable state and federal incentives and tax credits. As the first electrified Audi sold in the U.S., the plug-in hybrid electric A3 Sportback e-tron combines efficiency, innovative technology and performance for a premium driving experience.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

The A3 Sportback e-tron provides a comprehensive approach to sustainable mobility by combining the benefits of a hybrid with all-electric range. It is a package that makes the A3 Sportback e-tron a versatile choice for the full array of daily commuting challenges, some of which can be handled on battery power alone.

The plug-in hybrid will launch at dealerships nationwide in October. EPA figures will be announced in the near future once they are available from U.S. regulators.

The first Audi plug-in hybrid, or PHEV, to hit the market will be priced from $37,900 for a Premium package to $46,800 for a Prestige package. The vehicle will offer even greater value when, as expected, it qualifies for a federal tax credit of $4,168 . Buyers in some states may qualify for additional incentives. Tax credits and incentives are subject to availability, and customers should consult their tax professionals and IRS.gov for more information about tax credits and incentives.

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.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

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

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

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)

Interior

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

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.

Technology

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.

Audi connect

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

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Driver Assistance

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