liter TFSI 4-cylinder hybrid
(from Audi Press
Release) Concentrated technical expertise – in the Audi A3 e-tron
Audi is set to unveil an attractive technical study – the A3 e-tron
concept – in Shanghai. The four-seat notchback sedan integrates the
full breadth of the brand’s technological expertise – from the
enhanced MMI operating system, to the high-end infotainment system,
to the drivetrain. And with its two powerplants and lithium-ion
batteries that store enough energy to propel the car on electric
power alone for up to 54 km (34 miles), the plug-in hybrid also
delivers high fuel efficiency.
Design and body
The Audi A3 e-tron
concept is a four-seat notchback sedan. It measures 4.44 meters
(14.57 ft) long and 1.84 meters (6.04 ft) wide, but just 1.39 meters
(4.56 ft) high – proportions that underscore its dynamic character.
The design represents the typical Audi language of sporty elegance.
The single-frame grille is integrated into the front end, giving it
a sculptured look. Its frame is made of carbon fiber-reinforced
polymer (CFRP), and the transversely mounted, three-dimensional
aluminum louvers create a visual effect that emphasizes the
showcar’s width. The headlights merge with the beveled upper corners
of the single-frame, forming a transition that marks the starting
point of the prominently accentuated lines of the engine hood.
The headlights represent a new stage of evolution in LED technology,
a groundbreaking innovation from Audi. They become broader as they
extend outward, and a line underneath makes them seem to float on
air. Above the front spoiler is a full-length air intake, also made
of CFRP, framed by a metal clasp. The spoiler features a splitter
that increases the downforce on the front wheels.
When viewed from the side, too, the A3 e-tron concept is
recognizable at first sight as an Audi – with its harmonious
proportions, taut, muscular surfaces and a low roof dome with fluid
lines flowing into a flat, coupe-like C-pillar. The shoulder area
transitions elegantly into the tailgate. Characteristic of Audi
design, the greenhouse accounts for one-third of the height, while
the sheet metal makes up the remaining two-thirds.
Powerfully flared fenders hint at the power of the engine. Two
prominently elaborated lines accentuate the flank: the undercut
tornado line beneath the window edge and the dynamic line above the
sills. The exterior mirrors, made of aluminum and CFRP, are perched
atop the window-channel strips. The door handles with their
brushed-aluminum clasps are recessed flush with the door. When the
driver touches them, they power-extend.
The intelligent interplay between surfaces and lines also defines
the tail end of the A3 e-tron concept. The broad, flat tail lights
are sculptured and culminate in a point on the inside, and the
tailgate bears an elegant spoiler edge. The rear apron includes a
diffuser insert of CFRP and metal, which in turn surrounds the two
large tailpipes for the exhaust system.
Ultra-modern components, design methods and joining techniques keep
the body weight low. One example of this are the custom tailored
blanks (panels of various thicknesses) in the floor area. The doors,
engine hood and tailgate are made of aluminum. With its high levels
of rigidity, the body provides the basis for the sedan’s precise
handling, excellent vibrational comfort and low weight – the Audi A3
e-tron concept tips the scales at just 1,720 kilograms (3,792 lb).
The interior of the
showcar is generously proportioned. The long wheelbase measuring
2.63 meters (8.63 ft) – a best-in-class figure in the premium
compact segment – gives rear passengers on the two individual seats
a pleasing amount of knee room. The front sport seats with prominent
side bolsters are slim and elegant.
The cockpit, too, gives an impression of lightness and airiness. The
horizontal lines emphasize its design. The instrument panel draws
the driver in – typical of Audi. Defined in three dimensions, the
large trim strip is made of solid aluminum and includes control
functions. The high-quality sound system in the doors and on the
rear shelf has aluminum trim panels. When the audio system is turned
on, they extend a few millimeters, thus orchestrating a visual
accompaniment to the system’s excellent sound.
On the center console, four large, round air vents echoing a jet’s
design catch the eye. The air flow is adjusted by pulling and
pushing on the center axis of the vents. The control knobs for the
automatic air conditioning system are located in the lower section
of the center console on a boldly protruding, dedicated control
panel. Visually, they are reminiscent of airplane turbines.
Behind the compact, flat-bottomed, three-spoke multifunction
steering wheel is an innovative display concept that renders the
individual driving states of the hybrid drive clear-cut and
tangible. The tachometer on the instrument cluster has been replaced
by a “power meter,” with a needle that indicates the total system
output on a scale of 0 to 100 percent. A second scale is divided
into colored segments. At a glance, the green and orange segments
clearly indicate where the A3 e-tron concept is drawing its power –
from the electric motor, the combustion engine, or a combination of
both. An additional instrument displays the charge level of the
In between the two large round dials is the large, eight-inch
display for the driver information system. This display and the
large monitor of the MMI system show the operating states and power
flows in the hybrid system in elegant graphics with a
The MMI monitor also displays differentiated consumption and
recuperation statistics in easily understandable bar graphs.
The control panel for the MMI multimedia system is located on the
center tunnel console. The interface on its large rotary pushbutton
features another novelty – the “MMI touch” touchpad. This new
solution, which makes the already exemplary operation even more
intuitive, will soon be introduced in series production at Audi. The
ultra-thin MMI monitor power-extends upwards out of the instrument
panel, another feature taken from the full-size car class.
In terms of infotainment, the Audi A3 e-tron concept shows why the
brand is leading the competition. A UMTS model provides full access
to the Internet, allowing the car to retrieve convenient services
from Google. Thanks to the WLAN hotspot, passengers can surf and
send e-mail to their hearts’ content. Holders for iPads are
installed on the back of the front seat backrests.
A classic notchback sedan, the Audi A3 e-tron concept boasts a large
luggage compartment with a volume of 410 liters (14.48 cubic ft) and
a low loading lip.
Designed as a plug-in
hybrid, the A3 e-tron concept is propelled by two power units – a
155-kW (211-hp) 1.4 TFSI four-cylinder engine with turbocharging and
gasoline direct injection and an electric motor with an output of 20
kW (27 hp). The system provides a combined output of 175 kW (238
hp). Working together, the gasoline engine and electric motor
accelerate the notchback to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 6.8 seconds,
then on to 231 km/h (143.54 mph). A regulated oil pump, the
intelligent Audi thermal management system, a start-stop system and
an energy recovery system – technologies from the brand’s modular
efficiency platform – all contribute to this high efficiency.
At the heart of the A3 e-tron concept are the lithium-ion batteries
located behind the rear seats. With a charge capacity of 12 kWh,
they give the notchback a range of up to 54 km (34 miles) on
electric power alone.
The batteries are charged by the standard energy recovery system
when the car is in motion or directly from a household power socket
when it is parked. This means that in most cases, the car is
entirely emission-free in city driving.
A compact seven-speed S tronic serves as the transmission for the
compact plug-in hybrid. It comprises two transmission structures,
which are operated by two clutches. Gears are alternately shifted by
the two clutches – at lightning speed, comfortably, and without any
perceptible interruption of traction.
The driver can operate the seven-speed S tronic in one automatic
mode and one manual mode, using the paddles on the steering wheel to
shift gears manually. Elegant touch control buttons alongside the
handrest on the center tunnel console are used to select drive
positions R, N and D. These are backlit in red when it gets dark.
Drive position P is automatically engaged when the electric parking
brake is applied. The launch control system manages the sprint from
a dead stop, furnishing explosive turbo power with minimal tire
Derived from the current
RS 3 Sportback, the Audi A3 e-tron concept’s chassis is fully
capable of handling the power from the drive system at all times.
The four-seater masters any type of curve with speed, stability and
composure. Its self-steering response remains essentially neutral
all the way up to the lofty handling limits.
The front suspension – a MacPherson construction with a separate
axle support – has a track measuring a full 1,572 millimeters (61.89
in). The rack-and-pinion steering is extremely efficient because its
electromechanical drive system requires no energy when driving
The four-link rear suspension with its 1,542-millimeter (60.71-in)
track is likewise fixed to a subframe. Its control arms made of
high-strength steel enable the suspension to absorb longitudinal and
lateral forces separately. The shock absorbers and coil springs are
mounted separately from each other.
The Audi drive select dynamic handling system gives the driver five
modes from which to select the characteristics of the engine, power
steering and seven-speed S tronic. The modes are comfort, auto,
dynamic, individual and efficiency, the last of which is designed
for maximum economy.
The imposing light-alloy rims measure 20 inches in diameter. The
tire format is 245/30 at the front and rear. The front brake disks
are gripped by four-piston calipers. The ESP stabilization system
has a Sport mode and can be completely deactivated. The parking
brake is actuated electromechanically.
The equipment and data specified in this document refer to the model
range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors
and omissions excepted.