Audi A3 Saloon 1.4

TFSi Sport CoD

Audi A3 Sport Saloon, rear
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, front
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, action
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, interior
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, boot
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, action
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, interior
Audi A3 Sport Saloon, boot

THE world of executive expresses is downsizing in many respects and there are some real gems out there.

For those walking away from the larger, less economical premium saloons Audi is out to prove that less really is more with its petrol powered A3 1.4TFSi Cod.

Not too long ago it might have been deemed ridiculous to speak of a 1.4 petrol car in terms of management motoring, but the technical wizardry employed by Audi on this car ensures 134mph performance, a 0-62mph sprint of 8.4 seconds, with the added bonus a combined economy figure of 60.1mpg and amazingly low CO2 emissions of 109g/km.

The secret of much of this is in the designation CoD which means cylinders on demand.

By cutting down on unnecessary mechanical effort manage to snap at the heels of their diesel counterpart. The CoD system shuts down two of the cylinders when cruising which once would have been considered impossible. Audi had already introduced it on its larger models, but bringing it downrange is a masterstroke.

And the change from two cylinders to four and vice versa is just about seamless, happening in as little as 13 milliseconds, giving both ultra-frugal cruising and 140ps power when desired.

And fed through Audi's S-Tronic dual clutch automatic transmission it all becomes a very class act and something the fans of petrol-powered premium cars have been waiting for.

There is also an engine start-stop system which cuts in when the cars are waiting at traffic lights and junctions because no-cylinder operation is even more efficient than two-cylinder operation. 

The CoD 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.

The A3 saloon is the natural successor to the amazing Audi 80 of the 1970s which blazed a trail of reliability and quality across Britain and made Audi a major player in the UK.

This is the first ever first ever booted A3 and it slickly integrates more seats-up load space than the A3 Sportback with similarly ample passenger accommodation and performance.

In appearance it is a cross between the classic three-box concept and coupe with a distinct light refracting edge that runs along the sides.

At £24,775 it is no cheapie and there is a lot of scope for optional extras. But on the road it is a truly impressing drive, signaling that the glory days of petrol power are far from over.

FAST FACTS

Audi A3 Saloon 1.4 TFSi Sport CoD

Price: £24,775

Mechanical: 140ps, 1,395cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134mph

0-62mph: 8.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 60.1

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions: 109g/km

Bik rating:14%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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