The luxury brands first foray into electrification performs well. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Mar. 27, 2016 Short intro video on the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron with a touch of sass. 16-miles of all-electric range (AER) and a 35/39 mpgUS city/highway rating when equipped with 17” and 18” wheels or 17-miles of AER and 37/41 mpgUS city/highway rating as the Ultra when equipped with low rolling resistance 16’s. Back in early 2012, Audi announced the A3 e-tron pilot program marking the first step by the Brand of Four Rings into an expanding the U.S. electrified vehicle landscape. The A3 e-tron pilot program took place in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver. Just prior to the A3 e-tron’s public reveal at the Geneva Auto Show In February of 2013, Audi released even more information on its PHEV technology. In late May of that same year, Audi provided even more detail on the e-tron’s PHEV drivetrain. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Drivetrain Deep Dive The parallel hybrid drivetrain consists of a modified 1.4L TFSI producing 150 hp and 184 lb-ft. of torque, the exact output that the Jetta Hybrids 1.4L TFSI engine outputs. A clutch similar to that of the Jetta Hybrid -- although beefed up -- links the TFSI to an electric motor with an output of 102 hp powered from a liquid-cooled 8.8 kWh Li-Ion pack located ahead of the front axle. This is almost 4X’s the output of the Jetta Hybrids motor (27 hp) and allows an honest to goodness 81-mph EV mode. The disc-shaped electric motor is integrated into a newly designed six-speed Dual clutch S-tronic (Jetta Hybrid incorporates a 7-speed DSG), which transfers the power to the front wheels. The two power plants combine for 204 hp and 258 lb-ft. of torque providing a 0 to 60 time of just 7.5 seconds, electronically limited top speed of 130 mph, 16-miles of all-electric range (AER) and a 35/39 mpgUS city/highway rating when equipped with the 17” and 18” wheels or 17-miles of AER and 37/41 mpgUS city/highway rating as the Ultra trim when equipped with 16’s. Ours include the performance Pirelli 17s. The 8.8 kWh traction battery can be charged in approximately two hours from a Level2 or 8-hours from a std. 120V outlet. Precooling/heating via smartphone app is also included in the package. The drivetrain of the A3 Sportback e-tron comprises three units: the aforementioned 1.4L TFSI engine, an electric motor and a newly developed six-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The 1.4 TFSI was moved 2.4 inches to the right in the engine compartment to make room for the additional electrified components. Its crankcase is made of lightweight aluminum and the entire engine weighs just 220.5 lb. The turbocharger uses an electric bypass valve, a compact intercooler to the thermal management system with a high-performance coolant pump module. Its heart is the exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head providing quick warms, and at high load the water jacket reduces the temperature of the exhaust gas. The coolant loop for the TFSI also incorporates the oil cooler for the S tronic. The A3 Sportback e-tron includes special protective features, such as coated piston rings and bearings given it will run electric even when cold. The electric motor is a liquid-cooled permanently excited synchronous unit weighing in at 75.0 lb. The electric motor is located behind the engine's dual-mass flywheel and includes a decoupling clutch. When the combustion engine starts, it is tow-started by the electric motor via the clutch. Once it reaches the same speed as the electric motor, the clutch closes within a few tenths of a second. The electric motor/declutch unit is integrated into a newly designed six-speed S-tronic, which transfers power to the front wheels. The dual-clutch AT features a three-shaft layout. Its two subsidiary transmissions are served by the multi-plate clutches K1 and K2, which are immediately downstream of the declutch unit K0. Gears are shifted by switching the clutches. This takes just a few hundredths of a second and occurs with no detectable interruption of propulsive power. The A/C compressor uses an electric drive integrated into the high-voltage electrical system. An electric brake servo supports braking in the A3 Sportback e-tron. The generator enables the regeneration of braking energy in all situations. The brake management system supports this by precisely coordinating hydraulic and electric braking. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is almost always started electrically, except at very low temperatures, in extremely hot conditions or when battery charge is very low. Think of it like a very advanced IMA system in this regard. In electric mode, interior noise in the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is lower than that of a luxury sedan. The EV button on the instrument panel can be used to choose between four drive modes: “EV” mode: The e-tron will drive electric with limited power output and provided there is enough SoC to do so “Hybrid” mode: The e-tron will provide a fuel saving hybrid experience “Hold Battery” mode: state of charge (SoC) will remain constant for later use “Hold Charge” mode charges the traction battery while driving on the 1.4L TFSI engine albeit at vastly reduced efficiency “S-Mode” is selected by way of the shifter and combined the full output of both the engine and traction motor Battery and Charging The 8.8 kWh Li-Ion battery has a voltage range of between 280 and 390 volts. The battery is comprised of 96 prismatic cells arranged into eight modules of twelve cells each. Including the electronic components – the battery management controller and the battery junction box for the connections – the battery system weighs 275.6 lb. The bottom shell of its housing is made of die cast aluminum, the top shell of polymer. The high-voltage Li-Ion traction battery has an ideal operating temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It is held near there with a sophisticated liquid cooling system in which four cooling plates regulate the temperature of the eight modules. Cooling is by means of a separate, flexibly controlled low-temperature loop, which also includes the power electronics and charger, as necessary. Installed under the rear seat, the flat battery is well protected in an area where the high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel components of the driver/passenger safety cell. The housing is bolted to the vehicle floor at five points. In the event of a crash sufficiently severe to trigger the belt tensioners or airbags, the electric drivetrain is disconnected from the Li-Ion battery. The 12V battery for the low-voltage consumers and the 10.6 US gallon fuel tank are located over the rear axle. The luggage compartment has a capacity of just 13.6 cu. ft. with the rear seats up and approximately 40.0 cu. ft. with the rear seats down. The power electronics in the engine compartment include a DC/DC converter for powering the 12V system weighs just 22.0 lb. Six high-performance transistors convert the direct current supplied by the battery into three-phase AC for the electric motor. When charging, the rectifier converts the incoming AC into DC for the battery. The charging port is located in the Singleframe grille behind the four rings. Besides a status light, there are also two buttons to either start the charging process immediately or via a timer for the next trip. Timer charging can also be programmed via a special menu in the MMI navigation plus or the new Audi connect e-tron services. Charging System The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron comes standard with a charging system comprised of a control unit with graphical display, a car cable and two power cables. For home use, the e-tron charging cable can be mounted in a design wall box (standard with the e-tron plus package). The charging dock can be locked to protect the equipment against theft, and a PIN code provides additional security. The Audi A3 e-tron PHEV. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Chassis The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is based on the modular transverse matrix. Hot-shaped steels reduce weight in the occupant cell because their extremely high strength allows for thin wall thicknesses. The engine hood and front fenders are made of aluminum. The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV is a five-door compact hatch that is 14.1 ft. long, 5.9 ft. wide, 4.7 ft. tall and weighs in at 3,616 lbs. The Singleframe grille is matt black and contains 14 horizontal chrome struts. At the rear, the apron encompasses a platinum gray diffuser with two chrome-plated horizontal slats and two side reflectors. The exhaust system tailpipe is invisible. e-tron badges adorn the Singleframe, the luggage compartment hatch and the fenders. There are 13 paint finishes from which to choose. Some of the components of the front suspension are made of aluminum. The four-link rear suspension handles longitudinal and transverse forces separately. The highly precise power steering system features direct gearing and efficient electro-mechanical drive. Electronic stabilization control (ESC) with two-stage deactivation also includes torque vectoring. The driver can configure the character of the car according to the modes comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. The system, which comes standard, also controls the optional components adaptive cruise control and adaptive light. I prefer Comfort mode but that is just me. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Interior Like the A3 sedan, the A3 Sportback e-tron instrument panel is slim and flat with the center console oriented toward the driver. The large, round air vents in jet design and the sculpted trim strips bring full-size-class elegance into the cabin. Unfortunately a powermeter takes the place of the tach in the instrument cluster but does show SOC. A small tach can be displayed in the central driver display between the speedometer and the powermeter. The monitor for the optional MMI navigation plus uses sophisticated graphics to visualize the energy flows in the hybrid system. The energy flow visualization has just about run its course so you do not need to see it if you do not want it. A simple EV light would suffice vs a very small Engine on with a charging mimic when the engine is running. e-tron logos are found on the door sill trims, the handle of the S tronic selector lever and in the right section of the cockpit. Seat materials and inlays vary depending on the three trims. The S line sport package is all black. The sport seats are covered in a combination of fabric and leather; the inlays are matt, brushed aluminum. 18-inch wheels provide for even more dynamic handling. Optionally available in the S line sport package are S sport seats with integrated backrests, inlays in a black, 3D look and paddle shifters. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Infotainment Audi connect allows drivers to control many of the cars functions remotely via smartphone app with informative graphics. The Audi connect e-tron services enable drivers to remotely check the status of the car including the battery SoC, all-electric range, and a variety of service information and the car's location. Like most PHEV/EVs, owners can manage charge timing remotely. You have the option of starting and stopping charging or setting the timer to reflect when you next plan to drive the car. You can specify in detail what time on what days you want to drive off with the battery fully charged. The climate control function is used to preheat or cool the car while plugged in and drawing energy from the outlet. Owners can view a variety of driving data, such as average electricity consumption or average speed, on the web portal. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Safety Standard safety equipment comprises 10 airbags (including front, side, side curtain, knee airbag for the driver/passenger and outboard rear seat sides), LATCH and the secondary collision brake assist. This automatically brakes the car following a collision, thus reducing the risk of another collision. Althoguh the Audi e-tron Sportback has not been tested by either the IIHS or the NHTSA, the A3 sedan from which the e-tron is based earned top marks from both crash test rating agencies. Some of the A3 e-tron’s standard and optional safety equipment that earned those ratings is listed below: Standard Pre Sense Basic will close windows and the sun roof when an impending collision is detected Rear View Camera with a dynamic grid and Parking System P with acoustic sensors in the front and rear bumper fascias Optional Audi Active Lane Assist is active above 40 mph and will gently nudge the wheel if it detects the car is leaving the lane without a signal Optional Audi Pre Sense front is the automated forward collision warning ssytem that provided the A3 - non e-tron Sportback - with an IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating In addition to the Pre Sense front, the optional Adaptive CC with Stop and Go can initiate a full stop below 19 mph Optional Audi Side Assist is a BSM system with mirror indicators Available full LED headlights offer a unique look, long service life and illuminate the road ahead at 5,500 Kelvin, roughly the same color as daylight, which can help us perceive more contrast. It also cuts through driving snow far better than halogens. Electronic stability control (ESC) helps improve stability in situations where the car begins to break loose through targeted braking of individual wheels and intervention in the engine management system which helps to stabilize the vehicle. In the event of a collision, ESC with secondary collision brake assist can automatically brake the car to help prevent secondary collisions. TC, BA, EBFD and ABS are all standard as well. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Ultra standard equipment The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Ultra ($37,900 + $925 D&H) includes driver/front seat passenger auto climate, a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, power panoramic glass roof, 12-way leather power seats, 60/40 split folding rear seats, Sirius XM w/ 3-month subscription, MMI radio, Audi drive select, driver information system with color display, 3-door proximity key and push button start, auto rain and light sensor, e-tron charging system, and Xenon HIDs with LED DRLs standard. 2016 Audi A3 e-tron Ultra Monroney The e-tron Premium Plus pkg. ($4,100) adds 17' alloys with P225/R45R17 performance tires, 3D Optic Inlays, Audi Adaptive front lights - simple left or right white lamps illuminate on the direction side you are turning, auto-dimming mirror with compass, Full LED headlamps, and high gloss window surrounds. The e-tron Technology pkg. ($2,600) adds Audi MMI Naviigation w/ MMI Touch, Audi Connect w/ Online servics for 6-months, and Audi Side Assist (BSM). The Bang & Olufsen Sound System ($950 on Premium Plus and Prestige trims) and MMI navigation plus are at the top of the option list. Like the larger A6/A7/A8 here in the U.S., a seven-inch monitor extends electrically from the instrument panel. The user terminal has a rotary/push button control and MMI touch, the top of which is a touch-sensitive pad for inputting characters. Audi connect provides a 4G LTE connection to the Internet here in the U.S. The WLAN hotspot lets passengers use as many as eight mobile devices to surf and e-mail. Besides charging and pre-heating/cooling scheduling, Audi connect brings additional online services to the car that provide the driver with tailored information. Audi assistance systems begins with the automatic distance control system adaptive cruise control, which warns the driver of a detected, impending collision with the vehicle ahead and initiates braking, if necessary. Additional systems are Audi side assist, which enhances safety when changing lanes, Audi active lane assist, which helps the driver to remain in the lane, and the safety systems Audi pre sense basic and Audi pre sense front, which in certain situations take preventive measures to protect the occupants. The park assist system with selective display automatically steers the A3 Sportback e-tron into suitable spaces. The Ultra Trim Monroney does not match that of what is available on the Audi website so some prices and configurations may be different than that described above. 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron Calibration Drive After just 1.5 miles behind the wheel as I drove to a Shell on Aviation just outside of LAX to begin the top off process, the A3 e-tron in comfort mode has better steering than any C-Segment I have ever driven. A dream to drive actually. I will have more over the next 100-miles on the 405/5 Rush Hour hell on my way to San Diego once I get it topped off. Maybe an hour before I begin the measured 100 mile drive in EV Drive Mode for an EV distance and as soon as that is consumed, a reset of Trip2 to calibrate the aFCD for a near future Speed vs FE graph. 91 Octane Premium Unleaded required. The 2016 Audi A3 e-tron took a little top off drink of the good stuff. That was Shell V-Power NiTRO+ since it requires 91 Octane. From press fleet handler full and probably less than 5-miles, she consumed another 2.6 gal so the 10.6 gallon tank is probably closer to 12+ gallons even if the OEM spec is right. Topped off and displays reset. The cargo volume looks a bit larger than the 13.6 cu. ft. spec as my bags and the included charging box shows. EV mode was locked in until the ICE fired up at 34.1 miles indicated/35.0 miles actual. Notice the left power meter with the engine and charging mimic – Only indication of ICE-On or off vs. EV light. Trip Energy display. Garmin recording actual miles traveled. I am also going to try and portray what Southern Californian's deal with just about every day on the monster called the 405 and the 5. This drive started at LAX and finished in Del Mar just north of the San Diego border. 405 on a Friday afternoon of the Easter Holiday weekend. I feel sorry for all drivers out here in Southern California as it is a #ridiculous #traffic #nightmare to put it bluntly. Once the engine fired for the first time at the 35.0 mile mark, I reset Trip 2 to derive an aFCD offset. Low and behold it is positive. Meaning owners are receiving a slight bit better efficiency then indicated when taking into account the actual distance traveled. Here is the second as I was driving past San Juan Capistrano up near Dana Point. Traffic cleared for about 20 miles through Camp Pendleton and started again for the last 20 miles between Oceanside and Del Mar. I5 on a Friday afternoon of the Easter Holiday weekend. I pulled into a Shell in Del Mar with 101.7 miles indicated on my std. 104.1 mile LAX Shell to the Del Mar Shell drive segment. 2016 Audi A3 e-tron LAX Shell to Del Mar Shell Calibration Drive Results 104.1 miles actual total, 69.1 miles in HEV mode on 1.060 gal. = 65.2 mpgUS actual result. After the 35.0 miles on the plug, she went another 67.2 miles indicated at 63.7 mpg/69.1 miles actual on 1.060 gal for a 65.2 mpgUS actual result. 101.7 miles at 95.2 mpg and 67.2 miles at 63.7 mpg in HEV mode indicated 58/42% and 72/28% EV/Gasoline split for each trip distance respectively. For the entire run, the aFCD indicated 95.2 mpg while actual came in at 98.2 mpgUS. Not bad at all for a 16-mile all-electric range (AER), 39 mpgUS combined and 86 MPGe rated hatch that can drive to 60 in 7.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 mph. 2016 Audi A3 e-tron Calibration Drive Impressions Highs: Looks hot with the std. Audi 0 radius character and feature lines, laser welded body to roof seam, the $575 upcharge sexy “Misano” red pearl color, smooth electrical to mechanical transitions and back, steering feel is to die for, ride is reasonable, ergonomics for a taller driver is excellent with lots of wheel and track travel, and of course the electric and mechanical drivetrain efficiency. Lows: Rear seat room is cramped due in part to the minuscule 89 cu. ft. of passenger volume, tight ingress/egress, displays for efficiency need work, no sunglass holder, only one USB port alongside a 10 year old Apple cord/port of some sort, and the $2,800 upcharge for the Tech package which includes 7" NAVI with MMI - only thing extra with it is BSM with it. 2016 Audi e-tron - Speed vs Fuel Economy in Charge Sustaining Mode After the calibration drive of the 16–miles AER and a 35/39 mpgUS city/Highway rated 2016 Audi e-tron ran 35.0 miles actual of EV and 65.2 mpgUS actual (69.1 actual miles on 1.060 gal ) in hybrid mode. The aFCD offset of 1.023 (65.2 mpgUS act./63.7 mpgUS ind.) provided another interesting angle. If I used the short odometer of 101.7 mils on 1.060 gallons, the actual would have been 63.6 mpgUS vs. the 63.7 indicated. Those Audi Engineers were dead on with this one if not consider the odometer offset. I am sure one of them will be smiling if he ever reads this detail just as I am right now. For the overnight Speed vs Fuel Economy tests, temps ranged from 55 to 56 degrees F with winds out of the East at 2 to 3 mph on the numerous NB/SB repeated runs. 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 mph actual speed was 51, 56, 61, 66, and 71 mph indicated per both the CC setting and OEM speedometer. RPM at 60 mph was indicating 2,000 RPM vs. 1,955 calculated. Far too high for a super highway cruiser unfortunately. The EPA highway crossover for the e-tron Ultra (41 mpgUS) occurred at 62.66 mph indicating the Ultra's 41 mpg highway rating may be inflated. This e-tron is not the Ultra however as did not have the low RRc 16's but the 35/39 mpg rated 17 Pirelli performance tires. Using the 35/39 mpgUS city/highway result due to the optional performance tires, the EPA highway crossover occurred at 66.0 mph. This is a bit on the low side of a 39 mpgUS rated highway car yet still meets my honesty criteria with a 65 to 69 mph range EPA highway crossover. 2016 Audi A3 e-tron Charge Battery and EV Mode Case Study Sorry about the poor night shots as I was blindly shooting the displays at 60 mph, swapping between them and trying to keep my eyes on the road during the middle of the night. To begin, temps were between 61 and 62 degrees F with a slight 2 to 3 mph breeze out of the East on the North-South driving segments. I set CC at an actual 60 mph per Garmin GPS (61 mph per the speedo and CC) and began Charge Mode from flat at 122.3 miles. Audi A3 e-tron Charge Battery Mode At the 161.3 mile mark - 39.0 miles and 29.1 mpg indicated/39.9 miles at 29.8 mpgUS actual - the pack was full and the Audi A3 e-tron transitioned to Hold Battery mode with 30 miles of EV range displayed. I had to turn around on an off-on ramp to come close to the 60 mph actual avg. speed so I was driving at 63 and 64 mph for the leg back until the pack was full in an attempt to run the avg. speed back up to 60 mph. It only reached 59 mph before the pack was full. After Charge Battery mode, the A3 e-tron defaulted to Hold Battery mode. I turned around again at the next available on-off ramp, got up to speed 60 mph per the Garmin GPS (61 mph per the speedo and CC) and swapped to EV mode at the 164.3 mile indicated mark. Audi A3 e-tron EV Mode ICE On to Off indication in the 1st and 2nd display pics. At the 183.1 mile mark, the Range display kicked up to 30-miles, and .1 mile later, the A3 e-tron transitioned to Hybrid mode. With CC set at an actual 60 mph for the duration of the EV drive mode, the A3 e-tron covered an indicated 18.9 miles or 19.3 actual miles. 2016 Audi A3 e-tron Charge Battery and EV mode Case Study Observations Why complete this? In an attempt to see if running the Audi A3 e-tron as a simulated quasi serial hybrid is even close to just driving it. I used 60 mph as the standard speed in both Charge Battery and EV mode since we can than directly compare to combination to the Speed vs FE chart trace above showing 44.4 mpg actual at 60 mph. The results? In Charge Battery mode, the A3 e-tron covered 39.9 miles at 29.8 mpgUS to charge the pack from flat to full. This is 1.34 gallons of fuel consumed. In EV Mode, the A3 e-tron covered 19.3 actual miles. Adding the two distances up, we have an actual 59.2 miles driven with the start and finish SoC at 0 miles range or flat to 30-miles and full. This was completed on the same calculated 1.34 gallons of fuel. Using the Charge Battery Mode from flat to a full SoC and then driving the built up full SoC to flat again under EV Mode allows (59.2 miles/1.34 gal) a calculated 44.2 mpgUS. I was skeptical that driving the A3 e-tron as a Serial Hybrid and then consuming the SoC added would even come close to just driving it as a Full hybrid until I did the calculations. As they revealed, force charging the 8.8 kWh Li-Ion pack on the highway for later heavy inner city use is not only feasible but recommended! Another surprise from the minds behind the scenes at Audi. And thanks go out to the team for offering this mode in their first mass-market plug-in too! 2016 Audi e-tron The highest no-compromise performance and efficiency combination we have driven to date. And that is a wrap of the 2016 Audi A3 e-tron review.