- The Washington Times - Friday, November 13, 2009

HERNDON | Audi has announced pricing for the 2010 A3 TDI, its second U.S. clean-diesel offering launched this year. Expected to begin arriving at U.S. dealers in late November, the 50-state-certified A3 TDI delivers the highest highway fuel economy in the luxury-car category - 42 miles per gallon, according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

Manufacturers suggested retail price (excluding $825 destination charge, taxes, title, options and dealer charges) for the A3 TDI clean diesel with S tronic front-wheel drive is $29,950.

Audi launched its first TDI clean-diesel model, the Q7 TDI, earlier this year. The Audi Q7 TDI built awareness with American luxury-car consumers that modern clean-diesel technology is markedly improved in emissions, quietness, ride comfort and overall performance. Both the A3 TDI and Q7 TDI clean-diesel vehicles share several common attributes, including 50-state clean-diesel technology, 30 percent better fuel economy and a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas than gasoline engines of comparable size.

In fact, the EPA calculated that if only one-third of the vehicles on American roads ran on clean diesel, the U.S. would use 1.5 million fewer barrels of oil each day. Audi was the first German car manufacturer to combine turbocharging with diesel-engine technology in 1989, and has continued to evolve its technology ever since. Audi Sport has helped prepare the way for TDI clean-diesel in the United States by racing the R10 TDI sports car from 2006 to 2008 in the American Le Mans Series and sweeping the major endurance races at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans in Atlanta. In addition, the R10 TDI won all three 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance races in which it competed from 2006 to 2008. The R15 TDI continued the TDI clean-diesel performance tradition by winning the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in March.

The Audi A3 TDI offers the same sophistication, styling, operating efficiency and ride comfort that has distinguished Audi throughout its model range. Standard amenities include lighted vanity mirrors for drivers and front passengers within the sun visors, leather seating surfaces, cargo nets behind front seats, split folding 40/60 rear seats and rear-seat armrest with dual cup holders. Distinctive options include Audi Navigation Plus with RDS traffic, Bluetooth hands-free phone preparation, Audi music interface (integration for iPod and related technology), Bose premium sound, the Titanium package with dark gray wheels and black grille, leather/alcantara seating, wood trim, rain/light sensors, auto-dimming exterior and interior rear-view mirror with integrated compass, and LED daytime running lights.

The pulling power of torque is the signature performance feature in all diesel models, and the A3 TDI clean-diesel is no different. Offering 140 hp and 236 foot-pounds of torque, this model performs briskly and efficiently with unmatched performance with its EPA-estimated 30/42 mpg city/highway fuel efficiency.

The competitive set for the A3 TDI clean-diesel is unique. Only one competitor is currently playing in the field of fuel-efficient compact luxury vehicles, but does not offer the driving experience or the 5-door flexibility that includes 40/60 split rear-folding seats. The Lexus HS 250h offers similar combined fuel economy with hybrid technology, but not superlative highway mileage range. The A3 TDI offers more superlatives in value, including a standard S line exterior sport appearance for 2010, a tighter steering/turning circle, a top speed of 130 mph, as well as a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion.

The Audi approach toward efficiency is not only catered toward TDI clean-diesel vehicles. Audi is also the first car company in the United States to equip 100 percent of its gasoline engines with FSI direct-injection technology, beginning with model year 2010. Audi began racing with FSI direct-injection technology in 2000 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and American Le Mans Series with the R8 FSI prototype racing sports car. Once this technology first became available for U.S. Audi customers in late 2004 with the introduction of the 2005 A6 3.2 FSI Quattro, the list of Audi vehicles sold in the U.S. with FSI direct-injection technology has continued to grow.

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