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Audi’s 2017 A3 e-tron goes high tech, still easy on fuel

Audi has made a handful of updates to the fuel-sipping A3 e-tron hatchback for the 2017 model year.

Visually, the e-tron benefits from the same front end design as its non-hybrid siblings. That means it receives a sharper, wider rendition of the company’s ubiquitous single-frame grille, a redesigned front bumper, and sharper headlights inspired by the ones fitted to the new 2017 A4. Careful observers will notice the e-tron receives model-specific LED daytime running lights integrated into the bottom part of the front bumper.

The list of standard features has been expanded with the latest model year with a panoramic sunroof, a rear-view camera, and Audi’s Pre Sense suite of electronic driving aids. The list of options has grown, too. Notably, buyers can pay extra for LED headlights, a fully digital (and configurable) instrument cluster known as virtual cockpit in Audi-speak, and a sport package that bundles add-ons such as a three-spoke steering wheel, shift paddles, and sport seats for the front passengers.

Audi hasn’t made any technical modifications to the A3 e-tron. That means power continues to come from a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of a turbocharged 1.4-liter TFSI four-cylinder engine and a permanent magnet-driven electric motor. Together, the two power sources deliver 204 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels.

The A3 e-tron hits 60 mph from a stop in 7.6 seconds, but it doesn’t sell only on performance. What’s more impressive is that it returns 35 mpg in a mixed cycle, according to the EPA, and it’s capable of driving on electricity alone for up to 16 miles.

Read more: Audi could build a mid-engined car on the next Porsche Boxster’s platform

The 2017 Audi A3 e-tron is set to join the standard A3, the S3, and the Cabriolet models in showrooms this fall. The base Premium trim starts at $38,900, the mid-range Premium Plus trim commands $42,000, and the range-topping Prestige model costs $47,550. Those prices don’t include a mandatory $950 destination charge, and they don’t factor in the available tax credits and incentives.