The new 2015 A3 model promises several upgrades in an effort
to attract more customers. The new A3 will be available in a
sedan version for the first time in the US. Plus, a high performance
S3 and diesel convertible version will be available as well.
The effect is carrying over to Mercedes which also is launching
a compact CLA sedan version. Both the Audi and Mercedes plug-in
hybrids will cost roughly $30,000 to help bring in the younger
crowd that will not be off-put by higher priced hybrids.
The Sportback e-tron version will hit the dealerships in early
2015 and will be offered in a hatchback version only. The plug-in
A3 offers a 1.4L turbocharged four cylinder engine that cranks
out 150 hp and is paired with an electric motor that creates
a combined 204 hp for the road. In addition, the A3 S-tronic
version will offer a six speed dual-clutch transmission allowing
the vehicle to go from 0 to 60 mph is a mere 7.6 seconds.
Because the relatively lightweight 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery-pack
it tucked under the rear seats, the cargo room is not compromised.
In fact, the rear seats actually fold down for even more room
as well. In addition, the low weight of the vehicle overall
contributes to better handling and overall performance. The
total range of the vehicle is estimated to be roughly 584 miles.
When the A3 is started, it uses the electric motor at first
that can propel the vehicle to 81 mph is needed. Once the battery
runs down, the gas engine then kicks in and recharges the battery.
The full draining of the battery before recharging helps it
keep its overall charge. Plus, the vehicle itself is rather
peppy with an ability to go fast when needed which makes it
the perfect highway car.
Arguably the best aspect of the A3 is just how seamlessly it
transfers between the battery and gas engine. It's overall power
and performance are not quite that of a sports car, but it does
have that pep and feel of a light hatchback that can get you
to where you need to go. The cabin itself is tightly bolted
and the overall production value of the interior and exterior
meet the standards expected for an Audi vehicle.
The success of the vehicle will probably rely on the overall
price that Audi decides to choose. If it stays to the rumored
$30,000 or so, then it will have a great chance to reach a younger
audience who has stayed away from the more expensive brands.
However, if it instead is priced much like the Honda Accord
plug-in hybrid at around $40,000, it may not be able to reach
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