In­tro­duc­ing the IT car

Stand by and plug in for the e-tron, an im­mi­nent CBD sta­tus sym­bol

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - KARLA PIN­COTT­cott@cars­

MOVEover, iPad. Your po­si­tion as the ultimate city ac­ces­sory is about to be stolen by the Audi A1 e-tron.

The at­ten­tion be­ing given to the lit­tle two-door, four-seater at Ber­lin’s Miche­lin Chal­lenge Biben­dum is ad­vance warn­ing there will be a queue when it ar­rives in Aus­tralia.

And there would have been a queue to drive it in Ber­lin but the baby on dis­play in its Sun­day best was hands-off.

So it was left to its big brother, the A3 Sport­back e-tron, to demon­strate on the test track some of what we can ex­pect from the A1.

The A3 at Chal­lenge Biben­dum is a re­search model. An Audi en­gi­neer said it is not be­ing con­sid­ered for pro­duc­tion as the model is near­ing re­newal. How­ever, the A1 e-tron will be on sale over­seas late next year.

The A3’s elec­tric mo­tor has con­tin­u­ous out­put of 60kW, with peak out­puts of 100kW and 270Nm of torque, driv­ing the front wheels via a sin­gle- speed trans­mis­sion. Three driv­ing modes— Dy­namic, Auto and Ef­fi­ciency— change re­sponses to throt­tle in­put and also raise or sup­press the amount of power used.

Four other set­tings ad­just how much en­ergy is re­cov­ered dur­ing brak­ing. In ‘‘ sail­ing’’ mode, the sys­tem de­cou­ples and the car es­sen­tially coasts un­til more power is needed.

The lithium-ion bat­tery pack can be recharged from dead­flat in nine hours from a house­hold sup­ply, and in four hours from 400-volt three­p­hase cur­rent. Audi says in the A3, full charge will give 140km.

The lighter A1 e-tron will have a 45kW mo­tor that can peak at 75kW, work­ing with a range ex­ten­der in the form of a sin­gle-ro­tor Wankel en­gine and 15kW elec­tric gen­er­a­tor to give a 200km range.

On the track, the A3 e-tron’s feel is close to a nor­mal com­pact, with peak torque ev­i­dent and good han­dling.

More stylish and with more brand in­tegrity than the re­badged Toy­ota iQ that Aston Martin will sell as the Cygnet, the A1 e-tron is likely to be the next CBD sta­tus sym­bol.

This is the car the early adopters will want to be in, and the uber-chic to be seen in.

Show stealer: The Audi A1 e-tron starred in Ber­lin; (left) Audi CEO Ru­pert Stadler with a con­cept R8 e-tron

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