First drive: Audi A3 2.0 TDI

* New diesel engine * Economy improved * Emissions lower...

15 August 2008

First drive: Audi A3 2.0 TDI

Do you suffer from performance anxiety? Of course, we refer to the inevitable disappointment of calculating your fuel economy. The updated A3 may have the answer.

The figures for the new 2.0-litre diesel engine will inflate your confidence as well as your bank balance. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have dropped, and its much quieter than the old engine.

Happily, efficiency doesnt mean sacrificing power and the 138bhp version (it also comes in 168bhp form) has enough thrust to whisk you out of junctions and surge past slower traffic. Better still, its all done as smoothly as a freshly conditioned James Bond through butter.

The tank range of 670 miles means youll be able to drive from Aberdeen to Plymouth without filling up. Only the rather firm ride might wear your patience by the end of the trip.

The rest of the changes are subtle. Yes, the wheels, bumpers, lights, bonnet and door mirrors are new, but the A3s understated image remains intact.

Inside, there are a few new switches and fresh fabrics. It all looks good and works well, with one exception: opt for an armrest and youll have to lift it to reach the tiny cup holders beneath. Reducing the cars fluid consumption is one thing, but surely the drivers allowed a drink?

Audi A3 2.0TDI Price £18,470
On sale now
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Power 138bhp
0-62mph 9.4sec
Top speed 129mph
Economy 55.4mpg
CO2 g/km/tax 134/18%