2014 Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybridEnlarge Photo
AUDI A3 Sportback e-tron
Unlike the all-electric A3 originally unveiled under the e-tron banner, the production Audi A3 e-tron will be a plug-in hybrid, part of a range of plug-ins planned for the new Audi A3, sharing its chassis with the upcoming Volkswagen Golf.
It'll use the a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, paired to a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, with a 75 kilowatt electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission. Together, there's a full 204 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque available--62 mph comes up in just 7.6 seconds, says Audi.
More importantly, a potential 31 miles of electric range and quoted (European) economy of over 150 mpg is on the cards--we just have to wait until 2014 to get true figures.
Audi A3 g-tron
2014 Audi A3 g-tron
2014 Audi A3 g-tronEnlarge Photo
The A3 g-tron is the odd one out in this list, for it is neither hybrid nor electric.
Instead, it's an A3 running on natural gas--a much cleaner fuel than typical oil-based fossil fuels. Audi wants to make it even cleaner than that, by setting up a process that allows g-tron drivers to fill up on "e-gas", a clean natural gas derived from the methanation of hydrogen, powered by electricity from wind farms.
It sounds complicated, but reduces the net emissions of the vehicle to negligible amounts. Even without this process, it'll be among the cleaner cars in Europe when it debuts at the end of this year.
Audi A4 e-tron Plug-In Hybrid
2013 Audi A4 sedanEnlarge Photo
Audi confirmed last March it will offer a Plug-In Hybrid variant of its next-generation A4 sedan in 2015 or thereabouts.
The Audi A4 is the brand's highest-volume vehicle in the U.S., and the next A4--to be launched by 2015--is likely to offer a breathtaking variety of powerplants: gasoline, diesel, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid.
It may likely first be offered as with the same 1.4-liter gasoline hybrid powertrain as the Jetta Hybrid. If, however, Audi decides to differentiate its offerings from VW's conventional hybrids, the A4 e-tron too might be a plug-in hybrid from the start.
As a volume model, though, we're skeptical of that idea. We suspect Audi will offer a hybrid variant for this one, as well as a plug-in hybrid--and the hybrid will likely come first.