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Solar Challenge takes Audi into the Night

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TENNANT CREEK, AUSTRALIA – Oct 8, 2013: The new Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD has covered almost a third of the total distance of the Bridgestone Solar Challenge on the first day of the event.

The Audi was operating at real-world speeds and in real-world conditions, but still achieved an impressive 5.6 l/100 km in temperatures as high as 39 degrees and, with nearly a 1000 km to do in one day, making the most of the Northern Territory’s 130 km/h speed limit.

The A3’s performance is even more impressive considering it is running on the manufacturer’s recommendation of 95 RON unleaded petrol (not 98 RON fuel for added performance). It also averaged a high-speed 105 km/h during the first day’s driving, despite the slow start through traffic as the team departed Darwin.

The Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD left Darwin at 08.00 am, the first vehicle to leave the northern capital in the Bridgestone Solar Challenge, but such is the impressive performance of the lead solar cars which are averaging as much as 100 kmh, the Audi mixed it with them for the first 300 km before pulling out a steady lead so that it arrived at the Katherine check point as the first car. As day turned into night, the solar cars came to a halt strung out along the Stuart Highway as their source of power sunk into the west, but the Audi continued to Tennant Creek and beds for its crew, not the roadside camping under the stars that awaited the solar car competitors.

The second day of the event for the Audi team, 508 km from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs, will test the ultimate economy of the A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD and its ability to use only two of its four cylinders on light and part throttle to dramatically cut fuel consumption and emissions.

“The combination of the demands of the this large international event, which has brought teams from more than 23 countries and the Territory economy has driven a shortage of accommodation on the Stuart Highway, hence our long first day,” says Bob Jennings, one of Australia’s leading motoring writers and chief driver for the event. “Unlike many economy events, we have a fuel consumption figure that applies to the real world,” says Bob Jennings, one of Australia’s leading motoring writers and chief driver for the event.

“It is a figure that reflects normal road speeds, loads on the car and heavy traffic conditions with convoys of cars following the solar racers, not to mention the thousands of spectator who have lined the route, even in the most remote areas.

“The next leg, though, will see us really test what this Audi can do in terms of fuel economy, but we will still be travelling at highway speeds, two people in the car and with their luggage, so we expect an even better fuel consumption figure, but not one that is out of the reach of owners of the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD.”

Audi sets a Solar Challenge for its newest technology
For the second event in succession, Audi has been invited to participate in the event to illustrate how technology is migrating from the laboratory and the mobile test-bed, as epitomized by the solar cars and the teams from around the world that have created them, to production cars for use in the real world. Audi enjoys an unique reputation for developing new technology, often first testing it under extreme race track conditions and then perfecting it for production cars to the benefit of its owners.

The A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD will be piloted by a team of drivers under the scrutiny of the organisers of the Bridgestone Solar Challenge, and will adhere to the same route and checkpoints as the solar cars. The Audi A3, though, will have the option to continue to the nearest town after the sun has set and not camp at the side of road once the sun has ceased providing its energy, which is the case for the solar teams. Throughout, the fuel used will be monitored by the organisers to provide official fuel consumption figures for each leg and an overall result. The demanding climatic conditions – normally hot, but with an early arrival of summer this year, will be even harsher than normal, combined with the weight of two people inside the car at all times to demonstrate ‘real world’ conditions, as well as the long driving days, will ensure that this is true test of the Cylinder on Demand technology. It’s a test that will clearly demonstrate its viability and usability under Australian conditions.

The new Audi A3 Sportback arrived in Australia in May, and the engine line-up was completed in September with the introduction of the new 1.4 TFSI variant with Cylinder on Demand (COD) technology. This technology has filtered down from Audi’s top-end performance cars like the S8, S7, S6 and RS 6 models and truly delivers on its promise of outstanding fuel economy. By deactivating the second and third cylinders at low to intermediate loads and while coasting, it returns a combined average fuel consumption of 4.7 litres per 100km.

This new 1.4 TFSI COD model develops 103kW at 5000rpm and a healthy 250Nm from 1500-3500rpm. This fuel-sipping variant therefore offers strong, yet frugal performance, with low consumption and still reaches 100km/h from a standstill in 8.4 seconds - all for an MLP of $37,900*.

Like earlier variants of the new A3 Sportback range, a seven-speed S tronic transmission is standard with this 1.4 TFSI. Shifting in just a few milliseconds, the S tronic transmission delivers the perfect combination of sporty performance and smooth driving qualities.

The progress of the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD in the 2013 Bridgestone Solar Challenge may be followed on the Audi Australia Facebook page and its web site,

Background – What is Audi ultra?
ultra is Audi’s expertise in producing vehicles which are efficient and sustainable. This efficiency technology is engineered into every new Audi model, with significant fuel consumption savings the hallmark of each new generation of Audi models.

The modular efficiency platform used across most Audi engines, which includes features like start-stop technology, thermal efficiency management and direct fuel injection (FSI) means all Audi engines deliver outstanding fuel economy.

Further advanced technology, like the Cylinder-on-Demand technology showcased in this A3 variant, shows what is possible even in smaller segments.

Not only restricted to powertrain technologies, ultra also refers to Audi’s expertise in lightweight technology and its commitment to reversing the weight spiral. The new A3 Sportback is a good example of this, and is up to 85 kg lighter than its predecessor.

Further measures to reduce consumption like electromechanical power steering, a ‘coasting’ mode in some transmissions, brake energy recuperation and efficient air conditioning systems are spreading across the range. Not all are obvious to the eye, but all contribute to greater efficiency.

In Europe, Audi has also unveiled the first of its designated ultra models, titled the Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra. It is the brand’s most fuel-efficient production model. With 81 kW of power output, the Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra consumes just 3.2 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres. This equates to an astounding 85 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometre. Audi will continue to unveil further TDI and TFSI models designated ‘ultra’ in the future.