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Audi Eager to Launch New A3

Audi hopes compact model will echo success of Mercedes CLA.

by on Mar.12, 2014

The all-new 2015 Audi A3 is coming to America and will be offered in four different versions.

Audi plans to kick off sales of the new A3 early next month with events at every dealership in the U.S. and Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, says he is looking forward to the upcoming duel with Mercedes-Benz for buyers looking for a luxury car starting a shade under $30,000.

There’s little doubt the market is interested considering the rousing demand for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA since its introduction last autumn.  In fact, Daimler AG chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche recently said the Mercedes biggest challenge right now is getting more cars to sell since demand is so strong. And Audi’s rival says about 80% of CLA customers are new to the Mercedes brand.

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But Audi thinks it can fight back with the next-generation A3 which made its debut in Europe last year but is only now coming to the States in sedan form.  And much as the CLA has lifted the fortunes of Mercedes, which last year became the luxury market’s top-seller in the U.S., Audi hopes it can lift itself out of its distant third-place status, a seemingly realistic goal considering it became the world’s best-selling luxury brand for the first two months of 2014, nudging aside BMW.


Porsche Charged Up About New Panamera Plug-in

Maker expects big sales growth for battery-based 4-seater.

by on Oct.02, 2013

The 2014 Porsche Panamera S-E plug-in replaces the outgoing Panamera S Hybrid.

Porsche is charged up about the opportunities for its new plug-in hybrid, the 2014 Panamera S-E, with sales forecast to nearly double those of the conventional hybrid model it will replace.

The S-E is one of 10 different versions of the 2014 Porsche Panamera – nine of which the maker plans to offer in the United States.  With its lithium-ion battery pack, the new S-E model will be able to go an estimated 22 miles per charge while operating in battery-only mode at speeds up to 84 mph.

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But unlike other plug-ins currently on the market, there’s no real trade-off in performance, the coupe-like sedan launching from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds, according to Porsche.

“It’s a real Porsche, and a Porsche must go really fast,” even if it is powered by batteries, said Stefan Utsch, director of sales and marketing for the Panamera line.


Audi Will Offer e-tron Option on New A3

First plug-in will debut in 2014; other models to follow.

by on Mar.02, 2012

The Audi A3 will offer an e-tron plug-in hybrid option starting in 2014.

Even as the automaker prepares to launch its first U.S. fleet-test of a plug-in hybrid, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is confirming expansive new plans for a range of battery-based vehicles from some of its smallest to its sportiest offerings.

That electric assault will begin in 2014, Stadler announced at Audi’s annual news conference, when it begins offering a plug-in “e-tron” option for the new A3 subcompact.  The battery-based A3 will begin field testing in four U.S. markets this month, as reported earlier this week. (Click Here for more on the fleet test.)

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Among other models that will get plug-in and other advanced hybrid options are the

Meanwhile, the maker will tap into its Le Mans racing program, where it has long dominated with its Quattro all-wheel-drive and diesel technologies, and where it has introduced a new flywheel-based hybrid system on the R18 race car.  That technology – which stores energy in a fast-spinning wheel, rather than a battery – is expected to show up on a version of the maker’s A4, dubbed the B9, in the next several years, according to Britain’s Autocar.


Audi Drops a Battery Car Surprise with A3 eTron

Maker claims no immediate plans for an electric wagon.

by on Nov.28, 2011

The A3 eTron suggests Audi may have big plans for electric propulsion

Automakers typically spend a lot of time and money to promote their latest cars and concept vehicles – but occasionally one sits on the sidelines as sharp-eyed motorists might have discovered at the just-ended L.A. Motor Show.

While the German maker put the emphasis on its next-generation performance models, including the S6 sedan, Audi’s stand at the L.A. Convention Center also featured a battery-electric version of its compact Avant, or wagon, a showcar subtly decaled the A3 eTron.

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Volkswagen’s luxury subsidiary hasn’t tried to hide its interest in electric propulsion, and has confirmed it will launch production versions of the eTron battery cars it has shown, in concept form, on the auto show circuit in recent years – which raised the question of what it might have in mind for the A3 eTron.