Audi Australia has launched its first ‘e’ model Downunder.
The new A3 Sportback 1.9 TDI e is the latest generation of highly fuel efficient vehicles from Audi, developed as a result of the brand’s desire to achieve maximum efficiency for everyday driving situations.
Following its debut in October 2007 at the Australian International Motor Show, the Audi A3 Sportback 1.9 TDI e went on to take part later the same month in the Panasonic Solar Challenge ‘Greenfleet’ fuel economy class. Driving from Darwin to Adelaide in its maiden World Solar Challenge voyage, the A3 Sportback 1.9 TDI e achieved an outstanding average fuel consumption result of just 3.3l/100km, according to official results published by the organisers.
Travelling a total of 3,543 km from point to point, at times fuel consumption dropped as low as 2.6l/100km on the journey. Average C02 emissions were just 98g/km.
Audi’s managing director, Joerg Hofmann, says the new A3 e model has garnered strong public attention.
“The success of Audi’s e, or efficiency, models has been strong. In Australia, there has been interest in the car well-ahead of its launch, thanks to its performance in the World Solar Challenge as well as its combination of dynamism and low consumption,” Mr Hofmann said.
“We are very committed to TDI technology on a global scale, but also for Australia. Audi TDI technology is the right technology for today. It is efficient, clean, thanks to standard diesel particulate filters, and carries none of the negatives of the diesels of old.”
The new A3 Sportback ‘e’ model is now on sale in Australia and priced from $38,900.
It features a 5-speed manual transmission, 77kW of power and 250Nm of torque. Official consumption figures are 4.5 l/100km and 119 g/km of CO2. It can travel more than 1,200 km on its single 55 litre tank of fuel.
According to Dr Peter Gebhard, Audi’s spokesman for Vehicle Physics and Fuel Consumption, the issue of fuel consumption has long been seen as a matter of elementary customer benefit at Audi, and is therefore a focus of technical development.
As a result, Audi developed its e-model strategy – first launching the technology in the A3 and A4 model lines. The cars were rapidly developed to demonstrate how seriously the company takes the issue of reducing fuel consumption and saving resources, and its commitment to providing workable solutions. An A8 e model is now also available.
Even with their special design, Audi’s ‘e’ models uncompromisingly satisfy customer expectations with respect to drivability, just like any other car made by Audi.
The A3 1.9 TDI e generates 77 kW, and reduces CO2 emissions by 10 g/km or 8 percent compared to the basic 1.9 TDI version (not available in Australia).
With 119 g/km it even undercuts the much talked about limit of 120 g/km – and does so with outstanding performance.
In terms of customer-relevant CO2 emissions, the A3 1.9 TDI e is on a par with hybrid models, but in terms of dynamism it is far superior.
It has longer transmission ratios for 3rd to 5th gears and incorporates a whole series of weight-reduction modifications, including vehicle aerodynamics. The wheels are of 205/55 16 inch format and are fitted to low rolling-resistance tyres. Even the engine electronics have been tuned for optimum fuel economy.
According to Dr Gebhard, it is not enough to simply develop measures to reduce fuel consumption by looking at the engine.
“The engine is only responsible for half the fuel consumption, and only a fraction of this can be optimised. This makes it important for every single vehicle component to be examined for its potential to reduce consumption and be optimised wherever possible,” he said.
Intelligent technical details enable the driver to use fuel even more efficiently, including a gear shift indicator located in the instrument cluster and in the direct field of vision. Depending on current engine load and speed, it tells the driver whether the next gear would be a better choice.
Ultimately it is the driver who is responsible for driving style, and therefore fuel consumption – despite all technical advances. Individual style can reduce fuel consumption, and with it emissions, by up to 30 percent, without compromising on speed and dynamism.
Audi will have an e-model in each of its core model series in the foreseeable future.
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