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Audi’s Understated First Plug-In Veers From Showy BMW

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Audi AG, the world’s second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, is betting that green-car fans are more interested in low emissions than distinctive designs.

While electric autos like the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S garner interest because their styling stands out, Audi’s first plug-in hybrid is a modified version of its A3 hatchback that looks identical to the conventional model. The A3 Sportback E-Tron can drive emission free for 50 kilometers (31 miles) and will cost as much as 15,100 euros ($20,600) more than its gasoline-powered twin when it goes on sale this month.