Cylinder-on-Demand technology filters down from Audi S and RS models to bring 60mpg economy potential to A1and A3 1.4-litre TFSI

  • A1 and A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 140PS models with Cylinder-on-Demand technology join the range to supplement 1.4-litre 122PS versions
  • CoD System switches virtually imperceptibly between two and four-cylinder modes in as little as 13 milliseconds to optimise efficiency
  • Now available in Sport, S line and Black Edition specification priced from £16,740 OTR to £21,605 OTR
  • A3 and A3 Sportback CoD models also join in addition to 1.4 TFSI 122PS versions – now available in SE, Sport and S line specification priced from £20,055 OTR to £24,050 OTR
  • Lower purchase and fuelling costs than 2.0 TDI equivalent plus BIK savings of up to £1,044 for 40% tax payer
  • 140PS at 5,000rpm, 250Nm from 1,500-3,500rpm, 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, top speed 132mph, combined MPG 60.1, CO2 109g/km (A1 1.4 TFSI 140PS S tronic)

Less really is more in the new Audi A1 and A3 TFSI Cylinder-on-Demand (CoD) models, which by cutting down on unnecessary mechanical effort manage to snap at the heels of their TDI counterparts with fuel economy figures of up to 60.1mpg. Capable of making a near seamless switch between two cylinder and four cylinder operation in as little as 13 milliseconds, the advanced new petrol-powered models can cruise ultra-frugally, but also immediately draw on 140PS when required, so despite their dramatic economy gains they remain very much on the pace.

Available to order from this week priced from £16,740 OTR in the A1 and £20,055 OTR in the A3, the new 1.4-litre TFSI 140PS CoD models carry a premium of £850 over their continuing 1.4 TFSI 122PS equivalents in both ranges, positioning them as attractive alternatives to the 2.0-litre TDI variants.

All versions of the A1 and A1 Sportback are equipped initially with the seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission, and all versions of the A3 and A3 Sportback with a six-speed manual gearbox. Both transmissions will however become available for all A1 and A3 CoD models later this year.

Delivering its peak 140PS output at 5,000rpm and a maximum of 250 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm, the sophisticated new unit gives 0-62mph acceleration times of 7.9 and 8.0 seconds in the A1 and five-door A1 Sportback equipped with S tronic transmission. The A3 and A3 Sportback with manual transmission complete the sprint in 8.3 and 8.4 seconds. Top speeds are 132mph in all cases.

According to the official combined cycle test the Sport, S line and Black Edition versions of the A1 can return up to 60.1mpg, equating to CO2 output of 109g/km. A1 Sportback Sport versions also match their three-door counterparts at 60.1mpg and 109g/km, while S line and Black Edition versions of the five-door run them close with 57.6mpg potential and 113g/km output.

In the A3, combined economy tops out at 60.1mpg and CO2 output at 109g/km regardless of the specification chosen, with the A3 Sportback only fractionally behind at 58.9mpg and 112g/km. In all versions, an engine start-stop system cuts in when the cars are waiting at traffic lights and junctions because no-cylinder operation is even more efficient than two-cylinder operation.

Technology adopted from S and RS models

The key to this steep ascent in economy is the adoption of the cylinder on demand technology which made its debut in a similar form last year in the S6, S7 Sportback and S8, and which has also just benefited the new RS 6 Avant and RS 7 Sportback. When applied to the four-cylinder engine it shuts down the second and third cylinders under low and intermediate loads and when coasting. In order for it to do this, engine speed must be between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm, and torque between approximately 25 and 75 Nm.

Deactivation of the cylinders is performed by means of sleeves called cam elements, each of which carries two different cam profiles. When the sleeves are slipped over the camshafts by means of an electromagnetic actuator, the zero-lift profiles rotate over the exhaust and intake valves. They don’t actuate the valves; the valve springs hold them closed. Injection is deactivated at the same time. Efficiency in the active cylinders 1 and 4 is increased, however, because the operating points shift toward higher loads.

As soon as the driver calls for strong acceleration by pressing hard on the throttle pedal, the sleeves are pushed back and the deactivated cylinders are activated again. All of these switching operations take place in 13 to 35 milliseconds, depending on engine speed, and are carried out virtually imperceptibly thanks to manipulation of the injection system and the throttle valve and modifications to the engine bearings, the dual-mass flywheel and the exhaust system.

Intelligent technology

The Cylinder-on-Demand technology doesn’t only operate according to set parameters. Using information from the throttle pedal sensors, it determines how the driver is driving, and if it detects an irregular pattern, for instance over a series of roundabouts or on a twisting A-road, it inhibits cylinder deactivation because here it would generally only be of short duration and wouldn’t save any fuel. Two-cylinder operation is also disengaged if the driver brakes, enabling all four cylinders to support braking when coasting, and if the car is travelling downhill.

More infrequent visits to the filling station and cheaper fuel prices are just two of the benefits this technology brings to the petrol A1 and A3 ranges. Business users weighing these cars up against their 2.0-litre TDI equivalents will find that with the help of their lower purchase prices and virtually identical CO2 outputs the Cylinder-on-Demand A1 models offer a 40% tax payer a benefit-in-kind saving of up to £919 per annum. Upgrading to one of their A3 counterparts brings even greater financial rewards of up to £1,044 per annum. When combined with low B and C Vehicle Excise Duty bands these figures bring petrol power very much back into contention.

In A1 and A1 Sportback models this highly beneficial new engine can be paired with Sport, S line and Black Edition specification. In the A3 and A3 Sportback, it is available in SE, Sport and S line versions.

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All-new A3 now offers reworked 1.2 TFSI engine with 105 PS and 57.6 mpg capability

  • Significant gains in fuel efficiency and faster acceleration
  • Prices start from £17,905 OTR and rise to £22,760 OTR
  • Available to order now in SE, Sport or S line specification
  • Identical power output to A3 1.6 TDI, 10.3 seconds 0-62mph time and 175 Nm of torque

Already renowned for offering all the refinement of a much larger car, the all-new Audi A3 now has an even more compact engine that also deftly belies its size. With 57mpg potential the latest generation 1.2-litre TFSI petrol unit comes remarkably close to achieving the economy of a TDI without the attendant penalties at the fuel pumps or the diesel surcharge on the company car choice list. A3 1.2 TFSI models are also the most attainable in the range, with prices from £17,905 OTR.

The revised and updated 1.2-litre TFSI exemplifies the philosophy of downsizing and has been designed for low weight. Helped by Audi ultra lightweight construction technology, the all-new A3 equipped with this engine can cover up to six more miles per gallon than its predecessor, regardless of whether it is equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox or optional seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Both versions can return up to 57.6mpg according to the combined cycle test.

Thanks to ample 105 PS and 175 Nm outputs, economy isn’t the only string to their bow – the six-speed manual version reaches 62 mph from rest 0.7 seconds quicker than its predecessor at 10.3 seconds without compromising efficiency – CO2 output is now 13 g/km less than before at 114 g/km.

With this sprint time, which is almost half a second quicker than the 1.6 TDI which shares its 105PS power output, and potential economy that comes closer than ever to its outstanding 74.3mpg capability, the new unit offers A3 customers a genuine alternative to taking the TDI route with lower purchase and running costs.

The most diminutive unit in the Audi range achieves its excellent efficiency not only with the help of a start-stop system and energy recuperation, but also through numerous optimisation measures. Its piston rings and crank shaft bearings have been engineered for minimal friction, its aluminium crankcase has its own coolant circuit separate from the cylinder head and a regulated water pump ensures that the water in its block is not circulated immediately after the engine is started, enabling the engine to come up to temperature more quickly.

Common rail injection

The common rail unit injects the fuel at up to 150 bar pressure into the combustion chambers, and its turbocharger has an electric actuator that actuates the wastegate flap particularly quickly and precisely. This enables rapid generation of boost pressure and a decrease in fuel consumption under partial load.

Customers can choose the A3 1.2 TFSI in SE, Sport and S line specification. Standard equipment common to all includes alloy wheels, air conditioning or climate control, the Audi Music Interface (AMI) linked to an electrically retracting colour MMI display screen, Bluetooth connectivity, a Driver’s Information System and preparation for SD card-based satellite navigation. Sport models include larger alloy wheels, front sports seats, sports suspension, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system, additional aluminium interior elements and chrome body detailing.

The highest specification S line models benefit from 18-inch partly polished alloy wheels, Xenon Plus headlights with LED-daytime running lights, Biathlon cloth and leather upholstery with S line embossing and contrasting silver stitching, matt brushed aluminium inlays and a flat-bottomed S line steering wheel.

Prices start from £17,905 OTR for the A3 1.2 TFSI with six-speed manual transmission in SE specification and rise to £22,760 OTR for the range-topping S line model with optional S tronic twin-clutch transmission. Ordering is possible now for three-door versions, and will become available for five-door Sportback versions in the summer. First deliveries of three-door versions will begin in May.

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Driven: Audi A3 2.0 TDI SE

Audi's A3 is a fine car, but does it look a bit too much like its predecessor, wonders James Foxall.

You tend not to see many new Audi A3s on the road. Or at least you think you don’t. Reality is, they’re probably everywhere but you think they’re the old model. It’s fair to say Audi has received a degree of criticism for the A3’s unadventurous styling. Of course no one’s managed to say how it's supposed to design a family hatch…

But it's being on the inside that you get to appreciate the new A3 for what it does best. The quality is of a much bigger car. The doors slam with a satisfying thunk. Materials everywhere you touch are top notch and the dash oozes class.

The MMI controller for the satnav and sound system is down in front of the electric parking brake. It’s so intuitive you'll soon be using it without looking at the buttons, which proves the designers have succeeded in my book. If there is a criticism of the interior it’s that there isn’t anywhere to put any of the addenda accompanying modern life. The result is the cupholders also function as phone, food, wallet and key holders and will soon be be full of crumbs, which somehow doesn’t suit the A3’s premium feel.

The 2.0-litre TDI doesn’t sound too appealing when started from cold but the gutsy 236lb ft of torque makes up for that with strong surges of power whatever the gear.

It’s economical, too. Audi’s claim of 68.9mpg on the EU Combined cycle seems a trifle optimistic but I have managed to get the average up to 55.2mpg on the trip computer, which suits my purposes.

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Audi A8 L receives its own automotive “Bafta”

Official car of the 2013 EE British Academy Film Awards gets some recognition of its own in industry-acclaimed chauffeur awards.

  • Audi A8 L takes home trophy in £50,000 to £75,000 category
  • Second consecutive win and third overall victory since awards began
  • Priced from £57,650 OTR to £95,440 OTR
  • Engines range from 204 PS 3.0 TDI to 500 PS W12 quattro
  • Audi A8 L hybrid priced at £65,405 OTR

The Audi luxury car that whisked many of the stars of stage, screen and TV to the red carpet last night for the 2013 EE British Academy Film Awards (the BAFTAs) has just attracted some limelight of its own. The long wheelbase A8 L has been voted Chauffeur Car of the Year in the £50,000 to £75,000 category by leading online industry magazine

This year’s Chauffeur Car of the Year category award is the third for the opulent long wheelbase luxury saloon, which also took the top spot in 2005 and 2011. It was bestowed not just on the strength of the car itself, but also by virtue of the successful Audi UK chauffeur programme through which professional drivers can run one on a contract hire basis and benefit from exceptional support.

Paul Gibson, Editor of, commented: " The A8 L offers the chauffeur an excellent all-round package. Excellent economy, comfort, all-wheel drive and workable boot space are key factors which helped it clinch the award.”

He added: “ When putting it against its competitors, it was also obvious that the manufacturer’s dedicated chauffeur programme is one of the best in the marketplace.”

James Douglas, Head of Fleet Sales at Audi UK, added: “I am delighted that not only believed the A8 was deserving of such a hard fought award, but also saw fit to commend the Audi chauffeur programme which provides access to it. We have gone to great lengths to structure a programme which we believe makes obtaining and running one of our luxury cars as stress-free as driving one, and it is immensely encouraging to know that this specialist title views it so positively.”

Luxury now with even greater efficiency

The excellent economy which was instrumental in the latest victory for the A8 L is commonly associated with the TDI versions, but it can now also be enjoyed in petrol models with even lower CO2 output and the potential for zero emissions driving – the A8 hybrid and A8 L hybrid.

Powered by a 2.0-litre TFSI four cylinder petrol unit working in conjunction with a 40 kW electric motor, the A8 L hybrid can drive using electric power alone at speeds of up to 62 mph. When outright performance takes precedence, outputs of 245 PS and 480 Nm enable acceleration from zero to 62mph in 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 142mph. At the same time, equally important running costs can be kept in check thanks to the potential for in excess of 44 mpg, equating to C02 emissions of 149g/km – the lowest in the A8 L range.

In common with all A8 L models, the hybrid adds 130mm of extra leg room for rear seat passengers, and expands the lavish A8 equipment list to include features such as heated front and outer rear seats, electric sun blinds and deluxe four-zone climate control.

Prices start at £57,650 OTR for the A8 L SE, rising to £95,440 OTR for the flagship 6.3-litre W12 quattro. The A8 L hybrid is priced at £65,545 OTR.

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