The ‘ultra’ badge which already marks out the model offering the most exceptional economy and the most scrupulously controlled emissions in five Audi ranges has now reached the A3 compact hatchback. The new A3 and A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI ultra models combine 83mpg capability with emissions of just 89g/km, and form part of an expanded 2016 Model Year A3 line-up that also brings quattro all-wheel-drive within even easier reach of prospective owners. All are available to order now and are expected to reach UK customers in August.
With optimised aerodynamics and advanced lightweight construction that has helped it to tip the scales up to 80kg lighter than its predecessor the A3 provides the perfect foundation for an ultra model. To create the A3 1.6 TDI ultra, the final drive ratio in the standard six-speed manual transmission working with the EU6-compliant 1.6 TDI engine has been modified, lowered sports suspension has been incorporated and special tyres have minimised rolling resistance.
Whether in three-door or five-door Sportback form the new 110PS variant, equipped exclusively with six-speed manual transmission, is capable of covering up to 83.1mpg according to the combined cycle test, equating to CO2 output of just 89g/km. The three-door version needs 10.5 seconds to reach 62mph from rest, closely followed by the Sportback at 10.7 seconds, and both models top out at 124mph.
Even more financially viable
For business users the benefits of even further reduced emissions are reflected in nil rate Vehicle Excise Duty and a drop in BIK band from 17 per cent to 16 per cent, contributing to an annual liability for a 40 per cent tax payer of £1,331.84, or just over £110 per month.
The remarkably frugal new engine is available in conjunction with SE and SE Technik specification levels incorporating specific adjustments which help to maximise its potential. When the ultra engine is present both options include 16-inch alloy wheels in specific designs, combined with low rolling resistance tyres, and both feature lowered sports suspension to minimise drag. They also share air conditioning, the acclaimed MMI radio with its slim, electrically folding screen, the Audi Music Interface, a Driver Information System, the Bluetooth mobile phone interface and a multi-function steering wheel.
SE Technik models add SD card-based satellite navigation over and above the SE version’s standard navigation preparation, and also gain rear acoustic parking sensors, cruise control and a colour screen for the Driver Information System.
These well stocked equipment lists don’t have to be the limit for A3 TDI ultra owners. They can also add features such as xenon or LED headlights, Milano leather upholstery and a technology package incorporating hard disk-based MMI navigation plus, MMI touch for data entry using fingertip ‘writing’ and Audi connect bringing numerous internet-based services to the car.
Drivers looking to add increased all-weather composure to the formula can also now choose a 1.6 TDI quattro version of the A3 Saloon or the five-door A3 Sportback. The former combines the rapid-acting multi-plate clutch-based all-wheel-drive system with six-speed manual transmission and Sport specification, and the latter with either SE or Sport options. Sport specification adds features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, sports seats with Rallye cloth upholstery, dual-zone electronic climate control and the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system.
The most accessible route to quattro drive in the Audi range so far strikes an effective balance between running cost-focused economy and all-weather driveability. The three-door A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI quattro can reach 62mph from rest in 11.2 seconds, continue to 120mph and return up to 60.1mpg according to the combined cycle test, corresponding to CO2 output of 127g/km (with 16-inch wheel).
The popular 2.0-litre TDI 150PS engine which sits on the rung above the enhanced 1.6-litre unit in the TDI line-up is also newly available with quattro drive as part of the 2016 Model Year changes, joining the 2.0-litre TDI 184PS version in offering front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive options.
All body styles are available with this new combination, and it can be paired with either Sport or S line specification. In three-door form the new A3 2.0 TDI quattro with 150PS and six-speed manual transmission can accelerate to 62mph in 8.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 133mph. Combined economy is 58.9mpg with the 17-inch wheel that forms part of the Sport specification, or 57.6mpg with the range-topping 18-inch S line wheel, resulting in CO2 outputs of 125g/km and 127g/km respectively.