Audi's A3 e-tron concept to be shown at Auto Shanghai for the first time today, is a plug-in hybrid technical study based on the company's four-seat RS 3 Sportback. It uses a turbocharged, direct injection, 211 hp, 1.4 liter TFSI unit and a 27 hp electric motor to give the E-Tron a top speed of 144 mph plus exceptional frugality and energy efficiency.

Technical highlights abound, including a regulated oil pump, the intelligent Audi thermal management system, a start-stop system and an energy recovery system.

The 12 kWh lithium-ion battery is charged by the energy recovery system when in use, and by a household power socket when it is parked, offering an electric-only range of up to 34 miles – which means the A3 e-tron can be operated entirely emission-free in city driving.

The e-tron's seven-speed S tronic transmission is in effect, an automatic direct shift gearbox using two transmission structures, operated by two clutches, to shift gears so quickly that there is no perceptible interruption of power delivery to the driver. It can be operated in automatic mode or as a manual gearbox changing gears using the F1-style steering-wheel paddles. Completing the F1 mimicry is a launch control system which will ensure you never get smoked by Mrs Klump at the traffic lights ever again.

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