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     eTron can be considered both fuel-saver and a sporting performance car
Audi A3 eTron is a Plug-In Hybrid version of the A3 Sportback. It’s powered
by a 148hp 1.4 litre TSI engine and a 99bhp
electric motor sandwiched between the gearbox and power unit to drive the front wheels. The motor also doubles as the engine’s starter.
A six-speed DSG gearbox harnesses the power, its wide ratio spread enabling the electric motor
to operate through a narrower, 0-2000rpm rev range that allows for a more efficient design. The adapted DSG transmission includes an additional clutch that decouples the motors to allow coasting, which is a very efficient use of kinetic energy.
The eTron’s 8.8kWh, battery
is under the rear seat, while the repositioned fuel tank is beneath a slightly raised boot floor. Despite the tank’s proximity to the A3’s back end this car can absorb a 50mph rear impact without the plastic tank rupturing. At the other end of the eTron, hidden behind the grille, is the power socket for the charging cable.
Despite its low emission, fuel-saving hardware the eTron can be considered as both fuel-saver and lightly sporting performance car. It has the scope
to achieve a spectacular 188 MPGe besides sprinting to 62 mph in 7.6sec and topping 138 mph. It will also travel
A six-speed gearbox harnesses the power,
its wide ratio spread enabling the electric motor to operate through a narrower, 0-2000rpm rev range
at up to 80 mph on electric power alone, although its 31-mile electric range will obviously be compromised by high EV speeds like these.
Those 31 miles are enough to allow most commuting trips to be completed without resort to the petrol engine; this practice encouraged by the automatic
defaulting to EV mode on start-up.
The petrol engine can instantly be engaged via the kickdown button however, or by using a centre console- mounted rocker switch to toggle to hybrid operation. Because kickdown can demand maximum effort from
a cold engine, Audi has reworked this TFSI’s piston rings and liners for wear-protection, and included a sensor to measure oil quality.
The DSG transmission provides the same features as you get in a conventional car, including a manual paddle-shift mode, a creep function and kickdown, your chosen gear indicated in the instrument pack.
As is the car’s range, a yellow
and green bar graph indicating its distance potential with petrol and electric power. You can also select an energy flow read-out, and the infotainment display provides a box- out highlighting your chosen mode.
Otherwise, the interior is standard, although an electric heater and air conditioner lie behind the familiar controls on the dashboard. The A3’s exterior appears similar
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