A biennial event for electric vehicles pitting competitors against each other, the elements and around 3000km of road between Darwin and Adelaide, the 2013 World Solar Challenge marks Audi’s second year taking part in event after it entered an A1 1.6 TDI manual in 2011.
Aimed at illustrating how technology is migrating from the lab to production cars, the new Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI with Cylinder on Demand (COD) is being run on 95 RON unleaded petrol monitored by the organisers to provide official fuel consumption figures for each leg and an overall result. The equivalent weight of two people inside the car will also be maintained at all times during the event.
Available in local showrooms from last month priced from $37,900 – $2300 more than the non-COD 1.4 TFSI – the latest addition to the A3 Sportback family is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder producing 103kW at 5000rpm and 250Nm from 1500-3500rpm.
Sending drive to the front wheels via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the A3 claims a combined cycle average of 4.7 litres per 100km and a 0-100km/h of 8.4 seconds – 0.9sec faster than the regular 1.4 TFSI.
Piloted by a team of drivers, who under the scrutiny of World Solar Challenge organisers will adhere to the same route and checkpoints as the solar cars, the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD has the option to stay at the nearest town once the sun sets and not camp at the side of road as required for the solar teams.
Able to deactivate its second and third cylinders at low to intermediate loads and while coasting, the A3 also features further fuel-saving measures such as electromechanical power steering, brake energy recuperation and an efficient air conditioning system.
Audi’s most fuel-efficient production model, the Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra, was unveiled in Europe in August, touting diesel consumption as low as 3.2L/100km from its 81kW/250Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.
Audi says it will continue to unveil further TDI (diesel) and TFSI (petrol) models designated ‘ultra’ in the future.
After covering 984km from Darwin to Tennant Creek on Day One, for an average of 5.6L/100km, the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD has arrived in Alice Springs today with a fuel consumption figure of 4.2L/100km with another 1500km still to go.
The World Solar Challenge wraps up in Adelaide on October 13.