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