Audi A3 Going Hybrid

May 7, 2009

Audi's been sporting a diesel-powered A3 hatchback around the U.S., as it looks at pushing its oil-burning powerplant deeper into the American driving public's hands.

Will a hybrid Audi A3 also be in the cards for the growing luxury brand? Autocar says a gas-electric A3 is indeed in the works, paired with a version of the Volkswagen Golf that's also going hybrid.

The new engine, Autocar reports, will be a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 105 hp, a 30-kW electric motor driving the front wheels and two electric motors of the same output driving the rear wheels. Four-wheel drive is the result, if only for a short driving range.

Lithium-ion batteries enable 30 miles or more of electric-only driving and top speed is 75 mph, with an unbelievable 113-mpg fuel economy rating in the Euro cycle.

There's no official word on production, Autocar says, but the car will be testing in fleets. However, Audi and Volkswagen, like Mercedes-Benz, have decided that both green drivetrains--diesel and hybrid--will have some place in their lineups. And like Mercedes, it's possible the duel will extend to U.S. cars, as it does with competing diesel and hybrid versions of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

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