Audi may have given up on plans to launch an R8 e-tron supercar, but the brand with the four rings hasn’t completely given up on electrified cars just yet, revealing today its 2014 A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid ahead of the car’s debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show on March 5.

The plug-in hybrid drivetrain fitted to this A3 is expected to be just one of up to six different powertrain types planned for the latest A3 range, with the others being regular gasoline and turbodiesel models, compressed natural gas models, a regular gasoline-electric hybrid, and finally a pure battery-powered electric model.

Audi has previously confirmed that the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid would be launched on the market in 2014, alongside similar plug-in versions of the A4 and Q7 models.

Audi has chosen to present its A3 e-tron in the monotonous Misano Red color scheme it’s been using for all of its model launches of late, but the big A3 e-tron signs on the flanks of the car confirm this is no ordinary A3.

Audi’s plug-in hybrid system for the A3 pairs a 1.4-liter TFSI engine rated at 150 horsepower with an electric motor delivering its own 75 kilowatts (100 horsepower) of juice. The disc-shaped electric motor is integrated into a newly designed six-speed ‘e-S tronic’ transmission, which transfers the power to the front wheels.

Peak output of the system is 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The two power sources don’t deliver their peak outputs at the same time, which is why their combined output isn’t just the sum of their individual power figures.

Audi says the car is good for a 0-62 mph time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 137 mph. Drive goes to the front wheels only, and Audi estimates owners will be able to realize a fuel economy well in excess of 100 mpg on the European combined cycle.

The key is charging the car’s onboard battery at home and using an electric-only mode at certain points. The two power sources can work independently or in combination, depending on the load required by the driver, and are controlled by a computer that optimizes their operation.

Audi hasn’t given any details on the battery, but says the car’s electric-only mode is good for about 31 miles of range and a top speed of 80 mph.


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