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by Tim Beissmann

The first Audi A1 1.6 TDI has landed in Australia ahead of the new model’s imminent launch.

The diesel-powered Audi A1 is competing in the 2011 World Solar Challenge, where it aims to cover the 3028km journey from Darwin to Adelaide using an average of just 3.4 litres/100km.

The new model is powered by a 1.6-litre TDI engine that produces 66kW of power and 230Nm of torque. The Audi A1 1.6 TDI will be available with two transmission options: a five-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic.

The manual returns a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of just 3.8 litres/100km and emits just 99g/km CO2. This makes it more fuel efficient than the Toyota Prius, puts it on par with the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion, and makes it the equal-second-most fuel efficient vehicle in Australia behind the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic (3.7 litres/100km).

The A1 1.6 TDI S tronic variant is a little less efficient – 4.2 litres/100km combined, 110g/km CO2 – but still promises to be one of the greenest vehicles in Australia.

The drivetrain is the same as the one offered in the Volkswagen Polo 66TDI Comfortline, which achieves 4.6-4.7 litres/100km combined. The more efficient Audi A1 takes advantage of a number of fuel-saving technologies, including start-stop, regenerative braking and measures to reduce internal engine friction.

Audi Australia’s Anna Burgdorf confirmed the A1 1.6 TDI will only be available in the entry-level Attraction spec in Australia, as she said it would be positioned as a “price and weight leader”. Ms Burgdorf said the diesel variants were “unlikely” to carry a price premium over their petrol counterparts, but said final pricing would be confirmed closer to the launch. The petrol-powered Attraction models are priced from $29,900 for the manual and $32,250 for the S tronic.

Like the rest of the Audi A1 line-up, the A1 1.6 TDI will be offered only as a three-door hatch with four seats.

The Audi A1 has quickly established itself as one of Audi Australia’s most popular – and therefore most important – vehicles. After the first nine months of 2011, it has outsold the larger Audi A3 (1301 vs 1292) to become the second-most popular vehicle in the premium small class (behind the Mercedes-Benz B-Class on 1867 units).

It ranks third overall across Audi Australia’s range, behind the A4 (2472) and the Q5 (2108).




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