Page 63 - ElectriCar Magazine
P. 63

 Premium Plus: MSRP $75,795 Prestige: MSRP $80,095 Sportback MSRP $81,000
Hybrid System Net Power - 208 Motor - 2.5-L 4-Cylinder ECVT Hybrid Electric Motor - 650v
1.4 TFSI has a subtly pleasing rort about it when it’s worked hard. Not inappropriately either, because adding a battery pack, shifting the fuel tank
to the rear and installing a particularly light engine means that this A3’s 55:45 front rear weight distribution improves on the diesel’s 60:40 apportioning, to the noticeable benefit of its handling.
This is the final model year of
the A3’s current generation, which began with the 2015 A3. Audi drops the cabriolet (convertible) body type for 2020 and makes a few minor changes to trims and features.
The A3 has a base price of $33,300, which is among the lowest starting prices in the class. The
S3 starts at $43,000, and the high- end RS3 starts at $56,200.
The A3 sedan, in the U.S., will come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with mild-hybrid assistance that will make about 240 horsepower (179 kilowatts). Base models will be front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive will also be available.
The A3 hatchback in Europe offers buyers more options. The base unit is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 110 hp (82 kW). There’s also a 1.5-liter unit available with or without mild- hybrid assistance, and both have 150 hp (112 kW). A 2.0-liter turbodiesel comes with either 116 hp (87 kW) or 150 hp. Two Plug-In Hybrid versions are coming later using a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, electric motor, and six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
A source inside Audi stated “It
is better in every way, the interior
is a strong point and brings a true premium feel and digital features
you otherwise only find in the luxury class”. “We’ve also spent a lot of time on improving refinement of the ride quality, which our latest tests place it right at the top of its class. With the move toward partial electric propulsion in Plug-In Hybrids, where there is no influence from mechanical noise developed by the engine,
this particular area of development
is more important than ever”.
There’s a lot to consider from that quote. First is the interior. Of
course the A3’s cabin is going to be upgraded with its new generation but it seems as if Audi is going to try and make it more premium, possibly trying to move the A3 a bit more upmarket. There’s the ride quality, mostly in regard to electrification. The Audi source seems to claim that the Noise Vibration Harshness has been drastically improved with Electric Vehicle powertrains in mind.
Does this mean we’re going to be getting a fully-electric Audi A3? There’s certainly going to be another Plug-
In Hybrid variant to replace the Audi A3 eTron, likely with the same new TFSI-e moniker that other new hybrid Audis get. Could it be better than
the previous model. We also hope
that a BEV model debuts alongside
it or maybe even in place of it.
When the new Audi A3 goes on sale, it will launch in two configurations, a five-door hatchback and a four-door sedan. The three-door hatchback
is out, due to lack of demand, as- well-as the A3 Cabriolet. Those two models are dead for the foreseeable future. However, the A3 model family will gain a couple of new variants.
There will be a sort of Audi A3 Allroad, with a higher ride height, plastic body cladding and potentially even all-terrain tires. Along with
that, a five-door liftback A3 variant, similar to the A5 Sportback, will
be made. The latter model will be delayed until at least 2021, due to some manufacturing capacity issues.
The next-gen Audi A3 most surely will be the best handling car in its class. That’s a bit interesting because the current car is not. It’s a nice car
to drive and is fun but it’s not the best driving hatchback/sedan in its class. Both the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Volkswagen Golf are fun cars
to drive and the BMW 1 Series has just debuted and is likely fun. So there is hope that this source is right about the next hybrid model..”
too, there being no additional aerodynamic aids, although it does have low-rolling resistance tyres.
It’s as quiet as any other electric
car when taking-off, the eTron’s easy silence provides relaxed, and swift urban progress. That said, your advance isn’t always as smooth as it should be because there is sometimes a solid thump as drive takes up.
You can be sure that the Doctor won’t allow that, Audi A3 programme manager says, this pre-production eTron is not quite the finished
article. Nor do you quite enjoy the seamless power surge that a single- gear pure electric delivers either.
However, the familiar sensation of power being parcelled through a multi- speed transmission is a small price
to pay for the undoubted efficiency advantage of having an electric motor geared through six forward speeds,
as it is in the Volvo V60 diesel Plug-In.
The general integration of petrol engine, transmission and electric motor is excellent. There are no jolts when the drivetrain is combining or switching between motors, and the
JUNE 2020

   61   62   63   64   65