First drive of the Audi A3 E-Tron Sportsback
I attended the Audi Land of Quattro event earlier in the year and was impressed with the event and set up, so when I heard that Audi were doing another event, this time focusing on the exciting new A3 E-Tron, Audi’s first Plug in Hybrid (PHEV), I knew I had to go along and find out more.
Read more after the jump
I knew it was going to be an interesting experience when the invitation said that it was being held at the Port Melbourne Go Kart track.
First off I have to apologise for the quality of the images, I thought I would try an experiment and use my phone take images and record the experience. This has proven to me, what I already knew , that there is no substitute for a decent camera when taking images.
I knew I was in the right place when this was the sign on the driveway in.
Audi had taken over the whole track.
On display was the entire A3 range.
From the car in question the A3 E-Tron Sportsback
To the standard Sportsback
to the convertible
to the standard A3 sedan
Up outside the main building was one of the A3 E-Tron’s set up with the charging system for the car.
Inside the building there was another A3 E-Tron set up with the charger, this was used by the staff to demonstrate and talk about the car. This presentation took you through the difference in the car from a standard A3 and the benefits of a plug in hybrid.
This is the charging unit that comes with the car, it will be installed by the Audi dealer in your home as the unit uses high-output 16-amp single-phase power. Part of the unit is a portable charger that can be taken with you to charge the car away from home.
The charger unit plugs into the front of the car behind a lockable spring loaded cover. When the car is locked, the charging cable is also locked and can not be removed, so as to prevent theft.
The engine in the E-tron combines a 1.4 TFSI engine with 110 kW and a 75 kW electric motor coupled to a newly developed six-speed S tronic gear box with an integrated electric motor. The system’s combined output is 150 kW, while maximum system torque is 350 Nm. The battery has a capacity of 8.8 kWh and can be fully charged in less than 2.5 hours. This gives the user a 50km range in electric only mode and a combined range of around 900km.
Because this is a new car and they don’t go on sale in Australia until 2015, all the test vehicles had come from Germany and as result were all left hand drive. It was an interesting experience driving a LHD drive vehicle.
Being electric, the E-Tron has the ability to use all of its 350Nm of torque from the minute you put down your foot on the pedal.
As a result their is no tachometer on the cars dashboard instead there is a different kind of gauge, showing the amount of power being used.
After the training session inside it was time to head out to the track to try the cars for ourselves.
So lined up in the garage area were a group of the A3 E-Tron’s, which when not in use were set up with the chargers, to keep the batteries toped up.
First up we got into a car in pairs, where the first person drove the track in electric only mode to test the system, after a couple of laps we swapped out so the passenger could drive and experience the car.
Once that was complete it time to try driving the car the fastest we could through a short motorkhana course. You were able to have a practise lap un-timed before one timed lap, the competition between the group was fun.
My view before I headed out for my time, notice the LHD car.
After we had all recorded our timed runs and before the results were announced, we taken on a hot lap.
Below you an see a video I shot, showing the hot lap, in the A3 E-Tron by driving instructor Daniel Gaunt.
After that times were announced, I was happy and surprised to hear I recorded the fastest time on the course.
I was very impressed by the car, the electric mode is a very different experience to normal driving as there is no lag or waiting for gears to change as the power is smooth and constant.
Driving a LHD car was an interesting experience, as the cars were automatic I didn’t get the chance to experience changing gears with my right hand.
Thanks again to Audi Australia for this fantastic experience.
As guests came from all over Australia to attend this event, unfortunately there are no plans to run this event in any other states.
The A3 E-Tron is expected to sell for around $60,000 when it goes on sale in March next year, you can register for further interest in the A3 E-Tron here