Offering what its maker calls "a realistic glimpse into the future of mobility," the Audi A3 e-tron Concept gets its public reveal in Geneva. Based on the European hatchback version of the new A3 that will go on sale here next year in sedan form, the A3 e-tron Concept features a gas/electric combo capable of delivering impressive performance and economy with equally laudable levels of greenhouse gases. According to Audi, the use of advanced plug-in technology as evidenced in this newest e-tron exercise is destined to play a decisive role in the brand's future model strategy, a grand plan that includes introducing a vehicle of this type into virtually all of its product lines.

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A purpose-modified version of the automaker's 1.4-liter TFSI turbocharged direct-injected 4-cylinder engine provides conventional power for the A3 e-tron Concept, here tuned to develop 148 horsepower. It's linked to a 101-horse electric motor via a clutching system that ships a collective 201 ponies and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a new 6-speed e-S tronic automatic transmission. The pairing has sufficient muscle to send the car from 0-62 mph in a spritely 7.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 138 mph. Using ECE (Economic Community of Europe) standards for plug-in vehicles, Audi says the the A3 e-tron Concept also earns a 188-mpg economy rating while turning out just 35g/km of CO2.

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Like all plug-in hybrids, the A3 e-tron Concept also can operate on either single form of power. When running in pure EV mode, it can travel up to 31 miles on a single charge and reach a maximum velocity of 81 mph. Although specific timing of the transition from prototype to full-production statue remains unstated, Audi has previously indicated that it plans to introduce some form of the A3 e-tron into its lineup during 2014.


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