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New 125kW A3 TDI to open diesel Audi attack

Bristling: A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI sprints to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds, but averages fuel consumption of just 5.9L/100km.

Perky new 125kW TDI engine bound for A3 as Audi details high-performance diesel plan

11 May 2006

GERMAN brand Audi is poised to release two new turbo-diesel model variants for its A3 small car in Australia by the end of this year.

A new 125kW 2.0 TDI is under close scrutiny as a high-performance diesel range-topper, while an entry-level 77kW 1.9 TDI has already been confirmed for an October release.

Both will bring the total number of A3 diesel models to three, supplanting the existing 103kW/320Nm 2.0 TDI unit that also serves the Audi A4, the Volkswagen Golf and VW's new Passat.

The 125kW 2.0 TDI, producing 350Nm of torque in German tune, may be available with the Haldex all-wheel drive as well as front-wheel drive.

In German-spec A3 Sportback six-speed automatic mode, the 125kW 2.0 TDI is capable of hitting the 0-100km-sprint time in 7.9 seconds, on the way to a 222km/h top speed.

Yet it averages 5.9L/100km (recording 4.9L/100km in the highway cycle and 7.6L/100km in the city cycle). The six-speed manual model is even more frugal.

The same powerplant is making waves in Europe right now in the Golf GT TDI, billed as a high-performance and high-economy alternative to the iconic GTI in VW’s hot-hatch artillery.

Audi is expected to pitch the 1.9 TDI – which delivers 250Nm of torque and is the same four-cylinder engine as found in the Golf and Beetle 1.9 TDI models – as a more affordable and economical opener to the Sportback range.

The less-popular three-door version – which accounts for less than 15 per cent of all A3 sales – may also gain this engine.

Audi Australia managing director Joerg Hofmann has said that high-performance diesels are part of the company’s future.

This vision kicks off next month with the release of the A8 4.2 TDI, the first high-end luxury car in Australia with turbo-diesel power.

In this case, the 4134cc V8 produces 240kW and 650Nm (available from just 1600rpm) and can tear to 100km from standstill in 6.1 seconds. It can also reportedly average 9.4L/100km.

7 center imageAlso due mid-year is the second A4 to feature turbo-diesel power after the release last November of the 2.0 TDI. Pinched from the A6 3.0 TDI V6, the A4 produces 165kW and 450Nm and will be mated to a six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

In a 171kW/500Nm state of tune, this engine will also power the base version of the upcoming Q7 4WD from September.

Powerful diesels are a logical step in Audi’s quest for a sportier reputation, particularly as the company is using an ‘Audi=Performance’ tagline.

To that end, Audi has already launched the B6 S4 and RS4 sedans, with the RS4 Avant, S6 and S8 due here by year’s end.

Meanwhile, the second-generation version of Audi’s Allroad is definitely on track for an Australian release sometime in the first half of next year.

"It will arrive earlier rather than later next year," said Mr Hofmann.

Audi is keen to establish the larger, seven-seater Q7 4WD wagon in the luxury SUV segment in Australia, before trying again with the Allroad, which has not sold to expectations since its release.

One company insider admitted that the Allroad’s projected pricing would make it considerably more expensive than the equivalent-engined Q7, which is a much larger and roomier vehicle.

"We have to see how we can position it with the A6 Avant and Q7," said Mr Hofmann. "There is a particular niche for this type of vehicle ... (and) there are also plenty of current Allroad customers who will be looking for a replacement." Like the new version, today’s Allroad is heavily based on the A6 Avant (wagon). It was introduced in concept-car guise at the 1998 Detroit motor show, before entering production in 2000.

What's coming from Audi:

A4 3.0 TDI sedan variant - June
A8 4.2 TDI sedan variant - June
A4 Cabriolet facelift - June
Q7 SUV - September
A3 1.9 TDI hatch variant - October
A3 2.0 TDI hatch variant - October
RS4 Avant redesign - October
A8 4.2 FSI V8 sedan variant - October
S8 sedan redesign - November
S6 sedan redesign - November
TT coupe redesign - November/December
Allroad crossover redesign - 2007

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