Audi A3 TDI Named 2010 Green Car of the Year


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By Marty Bernstein
Senior Editor
AIADA Contributing Editor
The Auto Channel
Detroit Bureau

As fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness have become more important to car buyers over the past few years, so has the annual Green Car of the Year award become more important to auto makers. Presented since 2005, it is an award that resonates with both consumers and industry insiders, and the competition for it is fierce. December 3rd, at the L.A. Auto Show, before a packed room of automotive journalists, analysts, executives, and television cameras, Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, announced the winner of the 2010 Green Car of the Year award.

There were five finalist contenders for this prestigious Green COTY Award: the Audi A3 TDI, Toyota Prius, VW Golf TDI, Mercury Milan Hybrid, and Honda Insight. After teasing the audience with a description of the 2010 Green Car of The Year Award, Cogan named the Audi A3 TDI as the winner. Accepting the award was Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America.

The stage curtains behind the podium parted and a gleaming white A3 TDI drove onto the stage. A grinning de Nysschen strode to the podium for the trophy presentation from Cogan and a flare of flashbulbs.

“Now I know how actors feel when they win an Academy Award,” de Nysschen told the crowd, adding, “We consider the Green Car of the Year title one of the most important industry accolades.”

de Nysschen went on to emphasize Audi’s commitment to building and selling green automobiles. “It is of paramount importance for us to develop vehicles that achieve the very touchstones this award stands for – fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Rather than novelty features, we consider these attributes imperative to the future of automobile design. We are honored with this recognition for the Audi A3 TDI.”

“Over 20 years ago, Audi began developing vehicles that were as environmentally responsible as they were technologically innovative. With the first TDI engine in 1989 we embarked on a path that has come to define us. And today, we find ourselves more committed to it than ever. Green is no longer progressive, but rather, expected,” de Nysschen noted.

Jurors for this year’s event included Dr. Alan Lloyd, president of the International Council of Clean Transportation; Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Matt Petersen, president Global Green USA; Jay Leno, automotive expert and TV host; and auto icon Carrol Shelby.

Audi’s unique diesel technology – TDI or Turbo Direct Injection – has received a tremendous boost from its diesel powered racecars winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans three years in a row as well as numerous other races, including Sebring in the United States. The A3 TDI’s 2.0 engine delivers 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, yet achieves an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway fuel economy, the best of any luxury car sold in America. That means the Audi A3 TDI achieve 50 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is quite reasonable: the A3 TDI clean diesel with S tronic front wheel drive goes for $29,950

This is not a basic vehicle either. Standard amenities include lighted vanity mirrors, leather seating, cargo nets behind front seats, split folding 40/60 rear seats, and rear seat arm rest with dual cup holders. And of course, there’s a long list of options and accessories.

The 2010 Audi A3 TDI arrived at Audi’s 250 U.S. dealerships last month. For photos and video of the Green Car of the Year winner, click here

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