Audi has just unveiled the Audi A3 e tron Concept at Auto Shanghai 2011 motor show in China. The car is based on the Audi A3 sedan as opposed to previous announcements which said the car would be based on the Audi A3 Sportback.
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In an unusual twist, Audi has decided to unveil the Audi A3 e tron Concept as a sedan rather than going with its original plans of showcasing the technology in an Audi A3 Sportback, as reported last week. Either way, a similar project principle still stands.

The Audi A3 e tron Concept offers a plug-in hybrid powerplant which uses the combination of a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, outputting 155kW of power, along with an electric motor unit which provides an additional 20kW. With 175kW on tap, Audi says the A3 e tron is capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds and can go on to a top speed of 231km/h.

The beauty of the e tron Concept is the fact that it is a plug-in hybrid which can actually be driven on electric power alone. Using this mode, Audi says the car will provide an electric-only (12kWh) range of up to 54km, meaning this car could be driven to work and back, and then recharged at home, in most commuting circumstances, without ever needing to refill petrol.

Other standout highlights include the body structure and the extensive use of lightweight material. Much of the frame and body is made from carbon fibre on the e tron, with some aspects made from aluminium. This means the concept is relatively light in weight - as far as luxury plug-in hybrids go anyway - tipping the scales at 1720kg (Chevrolet Volt 1715kg).

The car also features futuristic 20 inch wheels, a minimalist interior and dashboard layout with a pop-up LCD screen, and a Lamborghini-like flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel.