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Auto blogTue, 15 Jul 2014 11:57:00 EST
Over the years, we've had a chance to test a lot of Audi E-Tron vehicles, from very early all-electric prototypes (back then we only got to sit in the passenger seat) to the A6 L E-Tron PHEV and the A1 E-Tron plug-in hybrid. All of them were concepts and promises, merely whispers of what was possible, even as the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and two Tesla models were making waves in the marketplace.
As we learned last year in our Deep Dive of the E-Tron project, all of the concepts, prototypes and rumors have finally come to fruition in this A3 Sportback E-Tron. Previously, we were given a chance to drive a prototype, but it was only very briefly. Last week, we finally got to run a production-representative example through the hilly roads between Vienna, Austria and Munich, Germany. After spending a solid day with Audi's first marketable E-Tron vehicle, we can say that it's a most amazing bit of engineering, in particular for the way that Audi has done so much to hide the fact that this is an electrified vehicle. Not entirely, of course, but the idea was to make the A3 Sportback E-Tron a no-compromise PHEV. And that means it drives and feels, in many ways, like the standard A3 Sportback despite over 700 extra pounds. Oh, and there's a charge port hidden behind the four rings in the grille.
Spy photographers have finally managed to lay a lens on the upcoming Audi S3 Cabriolet. The new convertible stepped out into the light of day for a little winter testing, and from the looks of things, the model will borrow plenty of design cues from the larger A5. Not that we're complaining. Word has it the S3 will put around 300 horsepower to the pavement via a quattro all-wheel drive system. We've also heard the machine will boast a dual-clutch transmission once it bows.
We've long been fans of the S3 Sportback, and the S5 holds a special place in our hearts as well. A smaller, lighter version of the big cabriolet with all of the aggressive proportions of its larger brother should prove to be a welcome addition to the Audi stable. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available, and be sure to check out the full gallery for a closer look.
In less than two weeks, the doors will open at the Geneva Motor Show, and we'll be there to capture all the action. Among the dozens of new debuts we're looking forward to will be the arrival of the new third-generation Audi TT, and to give us a better idea of what we're looking forward to, Ingolstadt has released this series of teaser sketches.
Looking every bit like a TT should and drawing heavily on the Allroad Shooting Brake concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show last month, the images foretell of a new Audi sports coupe with a single-frame grille, matrix LED lighting and a deeply creased hood with the four-ring emblem placed atop the nose, as on the R8.
Horizontal lines at the back preview Audi's next design language, with twin exhaust tips flanking the diffuser on base models and quad tips on the next TTS. A cleaner interior design also harkens back to the first-gen TT that started it all and from which the new one draws its inspiration. Scope out the images in the gallery above for a closer look at what's to come, then scroll down for the details in the press release below.