The new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron will be the first plug-in hybrid from the German luxury brand to be sold in Australia – but it almost certainly won’t be the last.
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The new A3 Sportback e-tron hatch will arrive in Australia in first quarter of 2015 – a slight delay on the car’s original predicted arrival late this year. But nothing has changed in terms of the car’s mechanical packaging, nor its intended purpose – to be a starting point for Audi Australia to explore whether its customers are ready for plug-in hybrid mobility.

The five-door hatch is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that is teamed to a six-speed dual-clutch automatic with an in-built electric motor, and a 75kW electric motor that is teamed to a bank of batteries under the rear seat. The front-wheel drivetrain is capable of a combined 150kW of power and 350Nm of torque.

Audi A3 e-tron

On the European combined cycle, the A3 Sportback e-tron uses just 1.5 litres per 100km – a figure that, if replicated locally, will make the car one of the most fuel efficient on the market – close to the likes of fellow plug-in hybrid models the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (1.9L/100km claimed) and Holden Volt (1.2L/100km claimed).

Audi Australia senior product communications executive Shaun Cleary told CarAdvice ahead of the launch of the A3 Sportback e-tron in Vienna this week that the car will perform an important role for the brand in Australia in helping get the e-tron message across.

“It’s going to be e-tron in just about every model range. So we’ve got to set that e-tron brand up across nearly every model. Like S, like RS – e-tron will be there too,” Cleary said. “TDI diesel, TFSI petrol and e-tron. It’s a third pillar drivetrain technology.”

Audi A3 e-tron

Pricing for the new model will be critical to its success, and it appears clear that the German brand is thinking a price close to $60,000 will be likely.

“We haven’t locked in price yet, but it will be around about S3 money,” Cleary said, suggesting the new eco flagship model will mirror the current go-fast hero’s $59,900 price tag.

To put that price in perspective, the Holden Volt is positioned at $59,990, while the more family-oriented plug-in Outlander PHEV starts at a more wallet-friendly $47,490.

Stay tuned for more news on the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, and our first drive review coming later this week.