A new, ultra-efficient version of the Audi A3 1.6 TDI - already the most economical premium sector car with the lowest CO2 output - is available to order from this week, extending the compact hatchback's lead by paring back CO2 output even further to just 99g/km and boosting combined economy to up to 74.3mpg. This exceptional frugality is available in one specific Audi A3 configuration - the three-door body style equipped to Standard specification - priced at £18,005 OTR. All other variations of the 1.6 TDI continue to offer the class-leading combination of 68.9mpg potential and 109g/km CO2 output.
The key elements responsible for the efficiency gains in the most focused 1.6 TDI to date include a modified final drive ratio for the standard five-speed manual transmission, a reduced ride height, under-body revisions to reduce aerodynamic drag and the use of slightly smaller 15-inch alloy wheels shod with low rolling resistance tyres.
These small but significant alterations combine with the existing Audi A3 1.6 TDI features including engine start-stop and energy recuperation systems. The start-stop system conserves fuel by cutting engine power at idle when the clutch pedal is released and the gear lever is in its neutral position, and then restarting when the clutch is depressed, while the recuperation function recycles a proportion of the wasted kinetic energy generated under normal braking and normally dissipated as heat, and stores this temporarily in the battery to reduce engine load when the car subsequently accelerates again.
Despite its remarkable combined economy figure of 74.3mpg and its road tax eliminating 99g/km CO2 output, the Audi A3 1.6 TDI can draw on the same 105PS power output and 250Nm torque peak as all other versions, and consequently can match them on performance, clearing 62mph from rest in 11.4 seconds and offering the option to continue to 121mph where conditions allow.
The Audi A3 1.6 TDI with 99g output will be available exclusively in Standard specification, which in this specific case includes 15-inch 7-arm design alloy wheels (normally 16-inch 7-arm design), manual air conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows and a Chorus radio with single CD player. Versions equipped to SE, Sport and S line specification, and all Sportback models, continue to offer the class-leading 109g/km output and the potential to cover up to 68.9mpg (except the Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI S tronic with 112g/km output and 65.7mpg).
These efficiency standard bearers are far from the exception to the rule for Audi. The Vorsprung durch Technik brand offers an exceptional range of models that champion the cause, the most notable being the Audi A4 TDIe Saloon with emissions of 120g/km and 61.4mpg capability, the Audi A6 TDIe with 53.3mpg and 139g/km and the Audi TT TDI quattro with 53.3mpg and 139g/km. In 2010, another highlight will be launched in the shape of the all-new Audi A8 luxury saloon, which in 3.0-litre TDI 204PS form will deliver another class best with the potential to cover up to 47.1mpg while emitting just 159g/km of CO2.
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