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First look: Audi clubs A3

Clubbed: Wild new A3 concept gets the full race treatment.

Audi gets uber-diesel with the 165kW/450Nm A3 TDI Clubsport quattro concept

20 May 2008

AUDI is taking the opportunity to again show off its burgeoning diesel capabilities by producing a monster A3 ultra-hot-hatch show car.

Having made motoring history by winning Le Mans with a diesel-powered race car, Audi is keen to make the most of its hard-won reputation by producing high-performance sports vehicles with turbo-diesel engines – a concept flagged by the fact that the TT coupe and roadster are produced with diesel variants.

Built for an annual gathering of Audi and Volkswagen enthusiasts, which starts at Lake Wörther in Austria tomorrow, the A3 TDI Clubsport quattro show car goes for a full track look with huge race-style wheel-arch extensions, a big rear spoiler, competition bucket seats, an aluminium open-gate gearshift gate and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

7 center imageBut the real interest lies under the bonnet because the 2.0-litre, common-rail fuel-injected TDI engine has been pumped up to produce some 165kW of power, which would be enough in isolation to be impressive without considerating the incredible torque figure of 450Nm.

With an uprated turbo and revised intake manifolds, that is 40kW and 100Nm more than the same engine in the TT, and enough to push the lightweight A3 show car from rest to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 240km/h.

Drive goes to all four 20x9.0-inch wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox with a lightweight casing, while stopping power is provided by six-piston calipers clamping carbon-ceramic discs at the front and standard A3 brakes at the rear.

The driver can tailor many of the electronic systems, including the throttle response characteristics, the exhaust sound, the level of power assistance for the steering, the cut-in thresholds for the electronic stability control system and the operating mode of the magnetic-ride dampers.

To underline the performance diesel theme, Audi has also taken its R8 TDI Le Mans concept car to the Lake Wörther Tour, which finishes on Sunday.

Based on the road-going R8 and revealed in January at the Detroit auto show, this concept car is equipped with a 6.0-litre V12 turbo-diesel based on the dual Le Mans winner's and pumps out an incredible 368kW and 1000Nm for a top speed of more than 300km/h.

Audi has not confirmed a production R8 diesel – although it is likely – and the A3 clubsport is clearly just a concept car at this stage, but Audi is undoubtedly committed to diesel technology and keen to produce a range of high-performance diesels.

Expect the TT to lead the sports diesel charge in Australia, with a local launch late this year or early in 2009.

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