The new year has started with good news about green car progress from Audi, with emissions from the firm’s new A3 1.6 TDI cut to just 99g/km CO2.
Achieving less than 100g/km CO2 is a significant drop in emissions, even from the original 1.9 TDIe, and ensures that the A3 is the lowest emitting car in the premium sector. It looks like the race really is now on between Audi and BMW to reduce emissions.
The CO2 output of 99g/km equates to 74.3mpg; both of these figures would have been unthinkable for a premium hatchback just a few years ago.
Audi has achieved this through 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 smaller 15-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres.
These alterations combine with existing A3 1.6 TDI features including start-stop and energy recuperation systems on the turbocharged diesel engine with high pressure common rail injection. 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.
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.
The engine develops the same 105PS power output and 250Nm torque peak as all other versions, and so matches them on performance, with a 0-62mph time of 11.4 seconds and a top speed of 121mph.
The A3 1.6 TDI with 99g/km output will be available exclusively in Standard specification, which means 15-inch alloy wheels rather than the normal 16-inch wheels, manual air conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows and a Chorus radio with single CD player.
Just one model is available, in three-door form with five-speed manual transmission and in Standard trim only, priced at £18,005. It’s exempt from road tax and is available to order now.
All other variations of the 1.6 TDI continue to offer 68.9mpg and 109g/km CO2, which is still class-leading.