The ongoing Audi crackdown on emissions has yielded another efficiency breakthrough within the A3 range, this time for the 140PS 2.0-litre TDI models which this month become the cleanest at their level in the premium sector. Thanks to the addition of engine start-stop and recuperation technology, the ever-popular common rail diesel three-door, five-door Sportback and Cabriolet variants benefit from major CO2 cuts of up to 20g/km or around 16 per cent, bringing output down to as little as 115g/km for three-door and Sportback versions.

At a glance

  • Phase-in of fuel saving start-stop and recuperation systems continues across the Audi range
  • Manual A3 2.0 TDI three-door, five-door Sportback and Cabriolet models are latest to benefit, enjoying economy improvements and reductions in CO2 output of at least 19g/km (16 per cent)
  • Three-door and Sportback A3 1.4 TFSI and 1.6 TDI models already feature this efficiency optimisation technology
  • Three-door A3 2.0 TDI prices from £18,860 OTR to £23,090 OTR, Sportback from £19,400 OTR to £23,630 OTR, Cabriolet from £22,635 OTR to £26,865 OTR
  • A3 2.0 TDI with start-stop – 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, top speed 130mph, combined mpg 64.2 (previously 55.4mpg), CO2 115g/km (previously 134g/km)
  • A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI with start-stop – 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds, top speed 130mph, combined mpg 64.2 (previously 55.4mpg), CO2 115g/km (previously 134g/km)
  • A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI with start-stop – 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds, top speed 129mph, combined mpg 61.4 (previously 53.3mpg), CO2 119g/km (previously 139g/km)

The improvements apply immediately to all 140PS A3 2.0 TDI models equipped with six-speed manual transmission. They help to increase economy by at least 8mpg across the board, and to cut CO2 output by up to 20g/km or 16 per cent, boosting the three-door and five-door A3 2.0 TDIs from a combined total of 55.4mpg to 64.2mpg and cutting emissions from 134g/km to 115g/km. The Cabriolet benefits from an 8.1mpg increase to 61.4mpg and a 20g/km CO2 reduction to 119g/km, another lowest-in-class figure in the premium Cabriolet category.

In terms of company car taxation, this significant downward shift repositions the A3 2.0 TDI in the 13% BIK category, the movement from its original 18% position equating to a saving in annual tax liability of £373 for the three-door standard hatchback model, which will now cost a 40% tax payer £972.

The start-stop system cuts engine power at idle when the clutch pedal is released and the gear lever is in its neutral position, and then restarts in just two-tenths of a second – more rapidly than any other comparable system – when the clutch is depressed.

Recuperation technology provides further fuel and CO2 savings by recycling a proportion of the wasted kinetic energy which is generated under normal braking and normally dissipated as heat, and storing this temporarily in the vehicle battery to reduce the engine load when the car subsequently accelerates again.

The updated TDIs follow hot on the heels of the efficiency standard bearers for the A3 range – the 1.4 TFSI petrol models with emissions from 132g/km and the 1.6 TDIs with outputs of as little as 109g/km. The new technology which they adopt from these highly focused alternatives has had no bearing on their prices, which for fixed head 2.0 TDI 140PS versions range from £18,860 OTR to £23,630 OTR, and for Cabriolets from £22,635 OTR to £26,865 OTR.