Audi redesigns the A3 to run free under new London congestion charges

I suppose you could argue that any car that will be exempt from the recently proposed London congestion charge has, for people who drive regularly in the city, a big minus sign under the price tag. The number following that minus sign differs depending on the way the car will be used, but that there is an effective discount for these cars is not escaping automakers. The latest example comes from Audi, which is making it clear that the new A3 will be exempt from the updated congestion charges should they go into effect. The exempt, green version of the A3 emits 119g/km of CO2 from a 1.9 TDI and gets 62.7mpg (combined). Not bad for a large hatchback, don't you think?

This A3 was designed specifically to break through the 120 g/km of CO2 limit in the proposed changes and is more economical than the 1.4L TFSI A3 that was introduced earlier this year (proof that greener legislation works). Audi engineers used reduced rolling resistance tires and a modified 105PS diesel with friction-minimizing components and a manual gearbox that offers the driver a dashboard indicator about when to make the most economical gear shifts. Audi says these changes will drift into future models.

Starting in October, Audi will offer three- and five-door versions of the A3, starting at £16,660 OTR. Read more after the jump. If you're in London, check with the dealer to gauge what your personal minus sign might be.

[Source: Audi]

New 'green' version of Audi hatchback with 119g/km CO2 output will be exempt from proposed congestion charge
  • A3 1.9 TDI with engine, transmission and aerodynamics optimized to reduce CO2 output to 119g/km and increase fuel economy to 62.7mpg (combined)
  • Open for order in late August at £16,660 OTR in three-door form or £17,160 OTR for the five-door Sportback – first deliveries in early October
  • A3 1.9 TDI with five-speed manual transmission – 105PS @ 4,000rpm, 250Nm @ 1,900rpm, 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds, 120mph, 62.7mpg, CO2 119g/km
Londoners may breathe slightly easier in the knowledge that a specially developed A3 1.9 TDI joins the Audi range this month with extensive revisions that ensure it will fall under the proposed 120g/km CO2 limit permitting exemption from the congestion charge. Available in three-door and five-door Sportback body styles, the new A3 1.9 TDI is priced from £16,660 OTR.

Following closely behind the swift yet sparing A3 1.4 TFSI that also opens for order this month, the even more acutely economy and efficiency-focused TDI model has been developed on the foundations of the existing A3 1.9 TDI. It benefits from a specially modified version of the already frugal 105PS diesel with new friction minimizing components and redeveloped ancillary units, combined with a manual gearbox with remapped, economy-biased ratios and an in-dash indicator informing the driver of the most effective gear change points for optimum economy.

Helped externally by tyres with reduced rolling resistance, and by additional modifications to further increase aerodynamic efficiency, the A3 1.9 TDI combines 62mpg-plus fuel economy with CO2 output of just 119g/km. Acceleration from rest to 62mph in the three-door model with five-speed manual transmission takes 11.4 seconds, and a top speed of 120mph is possible where conditions allow.

The measures taken to increase economy and minimise emissions in the A3 will also be employed in the creation of more efficient versions of other models in the Audi range in the near future.

These more environmentally considerate models will be engineered with the benefit of experience gained during the development of the pioneering, aluminium-bodied A2 compact hatchback of 1999, which offered 81g/km CO2 output and 94-plus mpg capability and is widely regarded as a car born well ahead of its time.

Improved availability
Although the very timely arrival of the new A3 1.9 TDI is likely to give a further boost to the popularity of the already sought-after premium compact hatchback, delivery lead times for UK customers will actually be shortened. A significant proportion of left-hand-drive A3 production has now been absorbed by the Audi production facility in Brussels, freeing up additional right-hand-drive A3 range capacity within the Bavarian Ingolstadt plant.

Picture caption

Audi drives down emissions – Specially developed A3 1.9 TDI models with extensive engine, transmission and aerodynamic revisions permitting exemption from the congestion charge join the Audi range this month. Prices start from £16,660 OTR.

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