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Audi starts idle-stop

Stop that: Audi's fuel-saving idle-stop system is available only on manual A4 and A5 models for now.

Audi idle-stop arrives in selected A4 and A5 models but with manual-only for now

Audi logo9 Mar 2010

AUDI has followed rival BMW in introducing idle-stop fuel-saving technology in a limited number of models.

But while the initial trio of recipients – namely the front-drive A4 2.0 TDI e (eco diesel) and 155kW 2.0 TFSI quattro (performance petrol) models in the A4 and A5 – will only be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, S-tronic ‘automatic’ versions, as well as a far broader range of engines and vehicles, are pencilled in for the near future.

And while Audi insists it is not adopting an all-encompassing moniker for its efficiency enhancing measures like BMW (EfficientDynamics), Ford (EcoBoost) and Holden (EcoLine), the company is beginning to bandy about the term ‘Progressive Performance.’ “More new models destined for Australia in 2010 will also benefit from this consumption-reducing technology,” says marketing manager Immo Buschmann.

Both the A4 and A5 sit on Audi’s MLB (Modulare Längsbaukasten) platform that also underpins the Q5, the upcoming fourth-generation A8 and A7 coupe-sedan, as well as the next-generation A6 due in 2011 – so expect to see more of the same eco measures hitting these vehicles as well.

“These technologies form part of what Audi calls its modular efficiency platform, or toolbox, and are designed to save every drop of fuel possible,” a spokesperson said.

7 center imageLeft: Audi's idle-stop dashboard indicator. Below: The on-off button for Audi's idle-stop system on A4 and A5 2.0-litre TSI models.

Idle-stop, along with energy recuperation and what Audi dubs the ‘Driver Efficiency Program’ tech does not add to the existing price of the particular models that get it.

Fully switch-off-able, Audi’s 'Stop-Start' idle-stop regime works best in heavy traffic, where up to 1.5 litres per 100 kilometres can be cut from the fuel consumption figure, since it can shut down the engine once the car has fully stopped, the gear lever is in neutral and the clutch pedal is released. The instant the driver operates the clutch the engine reignites. On the highway the savings amount to 0.2L/100km, as well as at least five grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions.

The Driver Efficiency Program, meanwhile, relays all consumption-related data in the instrument cluster, and includes a shift-up light that can help slash fuel use by up to 30 per cent according to Audi’s data.

Lastly, the energy recovery system employs the car’s deceleration phases to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy, storing it into the car’s battery until being released back into the electrical system, saving the alternator from having to do that and so relieving its reliance on engine power to conserve fuel.

“From innovative powertrain technologies like TDI, FSI and TFSI to highly efficient air-conditioning, the goal of the modular efficiency platform is to improve the entire vehicle’s energy management,” Audi states.

The company’s goal is to cut fuel consumption of its range by 20 per cent over 2007 levels by 2012.

“We believe the concept of Progressive Performance, or reducing consumption through intelligent use of every drop of fuel, is extremely important for Australian customers,” Mr Buschmann said.

“It’s about ‘motoring without regret’ and these two models represent the first of many models to come to Australia which employ Audi’s modular efficiency technologies.”
2010 Audi idle-stop model pricing
A4 2.0 TDI e $49,900
A4 2.0 TFSI quattro $67,500
A5 2.0 TFSI quattro $76,800

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