Audi A3 e-tron concept debuts in Shanghai [w/video]

Audi A3 e-tron Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi rolled out yet another e-tron concept alongside the new Q3 in Shanghai, and what it lacks in power, it makes up for with efficiency, fuel economy... and weight.

The original A3 sedan concept that bowed in Geneva came packing a modified version of the TT RS' turbocharged five-cylinder, outputting over 400 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. This etron variant – based on the RS3 hatch – ditches the five-pot in favor of a turbo'd and direct-injected 1.4-liter four-cylinder that brings 211 horsepower to the party, and combined with another 27 ponies pulled from the 20kW electric motor, can propel the A3 etron to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds before topping out at 143 mph.

A seven-speed dual-clutch S-tronic transmission is the only drivetrain component carried over from the concept's RS3 roots, but combined with lithium-ion battery pack stored in the trunk, Audi claims the e-tron can putt along for up to 34 miles on electric power alone thanks to the plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

The suspension carries over, with a MacPherson design up front and a four-link independent rear end, along with 20-inch wheels wrapped in 245/30 R20 rubber at all four corners. The square setup would indicate that the e-tron is all-wheel-drive, but Audi doesn't give any specifics on how power finds its way to the ground.

The exterior is a dead-ringer for the original A3 concept, albeit e-tronified with a new grille and bumper framed by a carbon fiber-reinforced frame, aluminum hood, trunk and doors. However, the weight savings is largely nullified by the battery weight in the boot, increasing the curb weight to 3,792 – nearly 400 pounds more than the original.

Inside, it's typical concept car flare partnered with Audi's next-generation MMI system complete with a UMTS module to provide wireless internet, WLAN hotspot functionality and Google mapping and POI search.

A toned-down version of the A3 sedan is due to hit the market late next year, and if Audi intends to stick to its electrified roadmap, we could see an e-tron variant arrive by 2013 at the earliest. Full details in the press blast below the fold.

[Source: Audi]

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