With up to 78 kilometres of electric range (NEDC) and 204HP (150 kW) of system output: Audi presents the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e*. The compact plug-in hybrid is free from local emissions, offers sporty driving performance with high efficiency, and features all the strengths of the new A3 product line. With the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e*, Audi is continuing its electrification offensive. The plug-in hybrid models from the A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7 product lines have already been introduced to the markets. Now, the compact models are following suit. The Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e*, which took up the concept of its successful predecessor, the A3 Sportback e-tron, and further optimised it, will kick things off. A more powerful variant that emphasises the sporty accents will follow shortly after.
TFSI engine plus electric motor: drive, power transmission, and battery
A 1.4 TFSI serves as the combustion engine for the compact plug-in hybrid model. The four-cylinder petrol engine outputs 150HP (110 kW) and delivers more than 250 Nm of torque in the range between 1,550 and 3,500 rpm. The electric drive is powered by a permanently excited synchronous machine with an increased power density as compared to its predecessor. It produces 80 kW and 330 Nm of torque. As with the predecessor, it is integrated in the housing of the six-speed S tronic. However, it is even lighter and more compact.
Together, the 1.4 TFSI and the electric motor deliver a system output of 204HP (150 kW). When working together with maximum boost, the system torque reaches 350 Nm. The compact plug-in hybrid model sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 227 km/h. In the NEDC cycle, it consumes between 1.5 and 1.4 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. A six-speed S tronic transfers the torques of the motor and engine to the front axle. The dual-clutch transmission is equipped with an electric oil pump that ensures gear changes and oil supply even when the TFSI is deactivated temporarily.
The lithium-ion battery is located below the vehicle underbody in the area of the rear seats of the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e*. Its 96 prismatic cells store 13 kWh of energy, almost 48 percent more than the predecessor model. No changes were made to the high-voltage battery in the package; the progress results from the improved cell chemistry. A separate cooling circuit controls the temperature of the battery. It can also be coupled with the air conditioning system, if necessary. This allows customers to drive on electric power even at higher outside temperatures.
Efficiency takes priority: drive management
The drive management of the compact plug-in hybrid is designed for efficient driving. It always starts electrically, up to a temperature of -28 °C. Drivers can prioritise electric drive with the EV button. It can cover up to 78 kilometres (according to the NEDC standard, 67 kilometres in the WLTP), that is the majority of everyday journeys, with zero local emissions. That is almost 20 kilometres more than the predecessor model. The fully electric top speed is 140 km/h. At low speeds, the statutory e-sound of what is known as the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System is output.
When the A3 PHEV is in hybrid mode, the two drives divide the work intelligently. Two special modes can be selected via the MMI operating system: “Battery hold” and “Battery charge.” In “hold” mode, the available battery charge is held at the current level. In “charge” mode, as much electricity as possible is supplied to the battery.
The drive management of the Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e* uses a large volume of data that the navigation, sensors, and assist systems supply. In the interest of efficiency, it selects freewheeling with deactivated TFSI in most situations when decelerating, allowing the car to coast.
Dynamic profile and S gear: sporty hybrid experience
To influence the character of the drive, as well as other systems such as power steering and S tronic, drivers can also use the standard Audi drive select system. It offers the driving profiles comfort, auto, dynamic, and individual.
In the dynamic profile and when the S tronic is set to S gear, the hybrid drive shows off its sporty potential. When the driver puts the pedal to the metal via kickdown, it releases the full boost torque for up to ten seconds. As soon as they take their foot off the accelerator pedal, the electric motor switches to recuperation. The resulting deceleration creates a true one-pedal feeling.
While braking, the electric motor performs the deceleration alone up to around 0.3 g, thereby covering the vast majority of all brake applications in everyday customer driving. The hydraulic wheel brakes only come into play if the driver presses the pedal more forcefully. The transition is almost unnoticeable, and recuperation remains active. While braking, the electric motor can recover up to 40 kW of energy.
The suspension of the Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e* combines pleasant ride comfort and a good level of dynamism; the sophisticated four-link rear axle provides an excellent basis for this. The electric brake booster guarantees powerful and spontaneous braking. Specially designed 17-inch alloy wheels come as standard, and Audi delivers 18-inch wheels upon request.
Charging at home and on the road: a full charge from a conventional socket in just four hours
Audi delivers the compact plug-in hybrid with a 230-volt power charging cable for the garage as standard. The A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e* charges with a maximum power of 2.9 kW. It takes slightly more than four hours to fully recharge a completely empty battery. Customers can control the charging times with the free myAudi app. At public charging terminals, the car charges via what is known as a mode 3 cable. The e-tron Charging Service makes charging on the road particularly convenient.
Typically Audi A3: driving pleasure and great everyday utility
The A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e* is 4.34 metres long and offers great driving pleasure and everyday utility, as is typical for all models of the product line. Its exterior features a sporty and expressive design. Audi offers Matrix LED headlights upon request with digital daytime running lights, a pixel array consisting of 15 LED segments which generates an e-shaped light signature – the symbol of the plug-in hybrid drive.
The progressive design is continued in the interior with a compact shifter, striking door openers, and a large black panel surface in the instrument panel. Seat upholstery made of recycled PET bottles, on which stylish contrasting stitching sets accents, are a new addition to the range.
Depending on the position of the rear seat backs, the luggage compartment has a volume of 280 to 1,100 litres. An electric tailgate that can be opened and closed easily with a foot motion is available upon request.
Hybrid-specific functions and displays have been added to the operating concept of the A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e*. The powermeter in the digital instrument cluster – or in the optional Audi virtual cockpit – displays the system’s output, the status of the drive, the recuperation, the battery’s state of charge, and the range. The central 10.1-inch MMI display shows the energy flows.
Intelligent and versatile: connectivity and equipment
Like all new A3 models, the compact plug-in hybrid is equipped with the third-generation modular infotainment platform. Its computing power is ten times higher than that of its predecessor. The MMI navigation plus offers flexible and intelligent route guidance with satellite images from Google Earth, predictions on the development of the traffic situation, and 3D models of many major European cities.
The car is connected to the user’s smartphone via the myAudi app, Apple CarPlay, or Android Auto. The standard Audi phone box connects the vehicle’s antenna to the device and charges it inductively. The Audi connect key allows the user to lock and unlock the car and to start the engine via an Android smartphone.
There is an extensive range of standard equipment. Aside from the features mentioned above, it also includes LED headlights, a leather multifunction steering wheel, and a two-zone automatic air conditioning system. Sport seats with integrated head restraints, (standard on S line) and a panoramic glass sunroof are available upon request. The assist systems Audi pre sense front, lane departure warning, turn assist, and swerve assist are standard equipment. The adaptive cruise assist plays a main role among the optional systems, as it assists the driver in many situations while steering, accelerating, and braking.
The new A3 Sportback 40 TFSI e* will be available in Ireland from January 2021.