Audi expands its hatchback family with the addition of its first plug-in hybrid model, the A3 Sportback e-tron, in Europe.According to Audi South Africa, the A3 Sportback e-tron is “currently under review for local introduction” with a possible launch in 2016.It’s powered by a 1.4 TFSI petrol and an electric motor, mated to a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission, for a total output of 150kW and 350Nm. Drivers can choose from four driving modes - comfort, auto, dynamic and individual.EV RANGE OF 50KMIts battery has a capacity of 8.8kWh and can be charged two hours from an industrial outlet. A versatile charging system is standard, while a smartphone app provides remote charging and precooling/preheating.It accelerates to 100km/h in 7.6 seconds on to a top speed of 222km/h (limited to 130km/h in electric mode). GALLERY: 2014 Audi A3 Sportback e-tronFuel consumption is rated at a claimed 1.5 litres/100km with emissions of 35g/km. In EV mode it has a range of 50km.The engine is shifted 6cm to the right compared to the standard A3 engine layout to make room for additional components. Its crankcase is made of lightweight aluminum and the engine weighs just 100kg. The A3 e-tron has a curb weight (without driver) of 1540kg. In Europe, the A3 Sportback e-tron is sold with a charging system that comprises of a control unit with graphical display, a car cable and two power cables with the household and industrial plugs appropriate for the respective country.NEW DESIGNIn terms of design, it benefits from a matt black grille with 14 chromed-struts, forked chromed struts in the air inlets and sporty bumpers and side sill trims. The rear receives design changes including a grey diffuser with two chromed horizontal slats. E-tron badges adorn the grille, the luggage compartment hatch and the fenders. According to Audi: “The dynamic lines of the exterior continue to the elegant and clean interior of the A3 Sportback e-tron, much the same when compared to its A3 siblings.” Inside, the powermeter, which replaces the tachometer, shows the system’s overall output, as well as the status of the drivetrain and battery charge. The tachometer can be shown in the display between the speedometer and the powermeter. The monitor for the optional MMI navigation plus uses graphics to visualise energy flows in the hybrid system. Luggage capacity is rated at 280 litres.