New Audi A3 will be free to charge into London
Londoners may breathe slightly easier in the knowledge that a specially developed A3 1.9 TDI joins the Audi range this month with extensive revisions that ensure it will fall under the proposed 120g/km CO2 limit permitting exemption from the congestion charge. Available in three-door and five-door Sportback body styles, the new A3 1.9 TDI is priced from £16,660 OTR.
Following closely behind the swift yet sparing A3 1.4 TFSI that also opens for order this month, the even more acutely economy and efficiency-focused TDI model has been developed on the foundations of the existing A3 1.9 TDI. It benefits from a specially modified version of the already frugal 105PS diesel with new friction minimizing components and redeveloped ancillary units, combined with a manual gearbox with remapped, economy-biased ratios and an in-dash indicator informing the driver of the most effective gear change points for optimum economy.
Helped externally by tyres with reduced rolling resistance, and by additional modifications to further increase aerodynamic efficiency, the A3 1.9 TDI combines 62mpg-plus fuel economy with CO2 output of just 119g/km. Acceleration from rest to 62mph in the three-door model with five-speed manual transmission takes 11.4 seconds, and a top speed of 120mph is possible where conditions allow.
The measures taken to increase economy and minimise emissions in the A3 will also be employed in the creation of more efficient versions of other models in the Audi range in the near future.
These more environmentally considerate models will be engineered with the benefit of experience gained during the development of the pioneering, aluminium-bodied A2 compact hatchback of 1999, which offered 81g/km CO2 output and 94-plus mpg capability and is widely regarded as a car born well ahead of its time.
Although the very timely arrival of the new A3 1.9 TDI is likely to give a further boost to the popularity of the already sought-after premium compact hatchback, delivery lead times for UK customers will actually be shortened. A significant proportion of left-hand-drive A3 production has now been absorbed by the Audi production facility in Brussels, freeing up additional right-hand-drive A3 range capacity within the Bavarian Ingolstadt plant.