2010 Audi A3 TDI

Fans of diesel engines and German engineering will have another reason to rejoice in early 2010. The Audi A3 will be available with a 2.0-liter TDI engine for American drivers.

Few would argue the Audi A3 is a very competent little hatchback, or that the current 2.0-liter turbo-four and 3.2-liter V-6 are fantastic gas engines, but the availability of an equally fantastic diesel engine can only increase the appeal of this little Audi. Americans will only be able to get the A3 TDI with the S tronic (DSG) transmission and front-wheel drive. Audi says this is because the A3 TDI exists solely for fuel efficiency, perhaps something to consider as a luxurious alternative to the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight which are also appearing at the 2009 Detroit auto show.

The A3's 2.0-liter TDI engine is shared with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, so it's no surprise the output is a familiar 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. EPA ratings for the Jetta are 29/40 mpg for front-wheel drive models with the DSG transmission and we expect similar figures for the A3. We also expect the Audi to be just as smooth and quiet as the Jetta TDI, if not a bit more refined.

Everything else in the little Audi should remain the same. A superb interior, hatchback capabilities, and lively driving dynamics won't be compromised by the diesel engine; you'll just go a little farther on each gallon of fuel. As a luxurious and sporty competitor to the increasing number of hybrids on the market, the 2010 Audi A3 TDI is clearly worth a look for eco-conscious people who also enjoy driving.

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