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So Car and Driver did a full instrumented test on the A3 E-tron this past month. Some highlights:


"Compared with more familiar plug-ins such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford C-Max Energi, the Audi feels more upscale. Real leather seating surfaces come standard even on Audi’s base Premium trim level, and the A3 boasts solid driving dynamics. Nor does the A3 shout its environmentalist credentials; it lacks the cliché blue trim, and its charging-plug port is hidden behind the rings on the grille. One easily could mistake the e-tron for a regular A3."

"An 8.8-kWh battery tucked underneath the rear seats powers a 102-hp electric motor that also makes 243 lb-ft of torque. Add the e-tron’s 150-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to the mix, and the total system output is 204 horsepower and 258 lb-ft."

"In EV mode, the A3 uses only the electric motor (unless the driver demands maximum power by pushing the accelerator past its built-in kickdown switch, at which point the gasoline engine turns on to provide additional thrust). Once the battery is emptied, the e-tron defaults to hybrid mode, where the propulsion is a blending together of both power sources, although even in this mode the electric hardware is still often used solely to power the car at low speeds and at stoplights."

"But in our experience, the battery delivered about 20 miles of EV range on a full charge, which is actually better than the EPA-estimated 17 miles.

By comparison, the Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid is rated at 27 miles of electric range, and the 2017 Chevrolet Volt is estimated to go a whopping 53 miles solely on battery power. Both of those vehicles have base prices several thousand dollars less than the e-tron’s $38,825 cost of entry. For drivers concerned only with fuel economy and electric range, the e-tron is not the best bang for their buck. But factor in its other abilities, and the A3 is a more complete package than much of its plug-in competition.
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"Those abilities were on display when we took the A3 to the test track. There, the e-tron recorded a respectable 6.5-second zero-to-60-mph run while fully charged. In EV mode—again fully charged—powered only by the battery and electric motor, the e-tron took nearly double that time to reach 60 mph: 11.2 seconds. Braking to a stop from 70 mph took 168 feet, with no fade after multiple efforts, and the e-tron delivered 0.85 g of lateral grip on the skidpad. By virtually every performance measure, it beats the Chevy Volt, the Ford C-Max Energi, and the BMW i3. (The i3 stopped eight feet shorter, but it’s more than 500 pounds lighter than the A3 e-tron.)

On public roads, the A3 feels quick, predictable, and solid. Despite the hybrid powertrain’s extra weight (the e-tron is 478 pounds heavier than the most recent A3 1.8T sedan we tested), the e-tron delivers drama-free highway passing.
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and finally:
"All those amenities vaulted our loaded A3 into a price point somewhere between mass-market plug-ins like the Volt and the C-Max and larger luxury plug-ins like the Mercedes-Benz C350e and the BMW 330e. For a practical buyer, a less expensive PHEV with more all-electric range would be a wiser choice. The e-tron is designed for a very specific customer: one who typically drives only short distances (the better to minimize using the gasoline engine), cares at least as much about appearances as about reduced emissions, and is willing to pay a premium for luxury cachet. For someone with that unusual blend of priorities, the A3 e-tron is one of the best transportation solutions this side of the BMW i8."



As a guy who cares about performance and handling, I find that I really liked this car when I test drove it, but the very modest 17 miles of range (even if it drifts up to slightly over 20 in warmer weather) is just a tough thing to overlook. I actually wish Chevy would create a Sport+ mode for the Volt where the engine could assist the electric motor (i..e like the 2016 Cadillac ELR). I am OK with the engine engaging when I want FULL power! This would likely allow Volt 2.0 to perform very similarly to the Audi (at least in terms of acceleration). The engine is there, why not use it if the driver is OK with it?

The acceleration stats (Volt 2.0 vs. A3 E-tron):

Volt/Audi

0-30: 2.6 / 2.6
0-60: 7.8 / 6.5
0-80: 13.7 / 10.5
1/4 mile: 16.1 @ 86mph / 15.1 @ 95 mph
30-50: 3.2 / 3.1
50-70: 4.7 / 4.0

As an aside, when I test drove the A3 I expected the electric performance to feel anemic, but I was pleasantly surprised that up to about 40 mph it felt fine (even spun the tires from a stop). Heck, it actually felt OK even at freeway cruise. You can tell the acceleration curve falls off a cliff at around 40 mph though.

Full article:
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-audi-a3-e-tron-plug-in-hybrid-review
 

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The 5ET50 Voltec propulsion used in the gen2 does combine power from the ICE and the MGB traction motor when operated in hybrid modes. I believe the difference in performance in hybrid mode can be attributed to the Audie's more powerful ICE, it delivers 150 HP compared to the Volt's 100 HP. The Volt has a more powerful traction motor, capable of up to 89 kW/116 HP but I think the software is such that is power delivery is set for more practical driving. I guess it could be possible to tweak the software to match the Audie's output, but GM did not elect to to this route. In the important all electric mode the Volt's output from both motors is capable of 150 hp and should provide better performance, and with a much larger battery, deliver that higher level of performance much longer.

It would also be possible to mate the 5ET50 to a more powerful ICE. This was done in the CT6 Plugin where it is mated to the 4-cylinder turbo 2 liter. Such a combination used in the Volt ( in FWD form) would easily smoke the Audi and most other cars with its 380+ HP output. Again, the larger battery is important because it can sustain that higher level of performance longer and over a greater range.
 

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I prefer 100% power from the electric motor, but I believe mass market will adopt EVs that add performance so blended mode cars might be good, and no need to worry about range. Might not be as gas free as Volt, but still dramatically reduce gas usage.
 

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I test drove the a3 extensively before ordering my volt. I found several reasons why the volt is.superior:

1. Volt is cheaper, and in Quebec, gets double the eco rebate (8k vs 4k)

2. The infotainment in the volt is a decade ahead of the Audi.

3. The interior is old.school. the volt looks like the car of tomorrow.

4. The Audi does not have a pure ev mode. On hard acceleration or above 75mph the engine kicks in.

5. Delayed charging is an option that requires nav.

6. The engine is harsh when it kicks in. On the volt it's seamless.

7.crappy range 30km of range means 20km in winter. Might as well get hybrid. For the price I can get q50 hybrid which will rape the a3.

On the plus side the a3 has power seats and a sunroof.
 

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The Volt has a far superior drivetrain but the Audi has a better packaging. Many keep harping on GM to put the Voltec power train in a CUV or Hatchback sized vehicle.

We had to buy an Equinox to handle our families need to travel with our Husky and 4 adults and granddaughter in a car seat. Contrary to popular belief folks do live like this. Oh and this was a major recent change to my nice ordered life style when we inherited my sons dog when he was assigned to a USAF base in Turkey and my daughter got pregnant. So I had to trade in my pre-retirement 2014 Stingray for a people hauler.

Folks do haul things.
 

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e-tron's EV performance is too piddly to even be considered an option. Let the luxury brand badge whores waste extra money on an e-tron. ;)
 

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I would look at the Sonata PHEV if you need space for 5 people, and want better EV range than the A3 can offer. The A3 does have a bigger hatch than the Volt, but the backseat space is no better than the Volt. The middle seat is just as cramped.

Plus, let's not get all worked up about the interior. I'll take a Volt premiere interior any day over the A3:



 

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If it came down to buying the A3, I would buy the new Malibu Hybrid.

Then you could have it all. And the superior mpg could overcome the meager battery.
 

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I test drove the top-line E-Tron extensively and liked it very much. I might have bought it over the Volt if it was not for its terrible EV-only range and lack of pure EV mode... Those were total deal-breakers for me. It is basically just a glorified hybrid, much like the plug-in Prius.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I test drove the a3 extensively before ordering my volt. I found several reasons why the volt is.superior:

1. Volt is cheaper, and in Quebec, gets double the eco rebate (8k vs 4k)

2. The infotainment in the volt is a decade ahead of the Audi.

3. The interior is old.school. the volt looks like the car of tomorrow.

4. The Audi does not have a pure ev mode. On hard acceleration or above 75mph the engine kicks in.

5. Delayed charging is an option that requires nav.

6. The engine is harsh when it kicks in. On the volt it's seamless.

7.crappy range 30km of range means 20km in winter. Might as well get hybrid. For the price I can get q50 hybrid which will rape the a3.

On the plus side the a3 has power seats and a sunroof.
Agree on almost all fronts. With regard to the infotainment, one thing that many folks might not realize is there is a refreshed A3 coming out for 2017 which will have the new MMI setup and digitized instrument gauge.
 
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