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Thread: 2010 Audi A3 diesel

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    2010 Audi A3 diesel

    Diesel powered cars are coming back to America - but with two key differences this time.

    First, they're pleasant and powerful in addition to offering fuel efficiency that's competitive with gas-electric hybrids. Two, they're no longer confined to the engine bays of economy cars (or trucks).

    Diesel powered luxury/performance cars - for years a common sight on the roads of Europe - are finally making their way here.

    The 2010 Audi A3 is one of them.

    WHAT IT IS

    The A3 is a compact-sized, five-door entry-luxury sportwagon. It's available with either front-wheel-drive or Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

    Prices begin at $27,270 and run to $30,850 for one with AWD.

    WHAT'S NEW

    The A3 is the first U.S.-spec. Audi passenger car to offer a diesel engine, which can be selected in place of the still-standard 2.0 liter gasoline powerplant. The formerly optional 3.2 liter V-6 has been dropped from the lineup.

    Most of the previously extra-cost S Line trim upgrades are now standard.

    WHAT'S GOOD

    As much as 42 mpg on the highway with the new diesel engine - and 30 mpg around town. That beats a Toyota Yaris subcompact econo-box (just 36 miles per gallon on the highway) and is almost as good as a new Prius hybrid - but with much better performance and fun to drive qualities.

    Sharp-looking interior; handsome exterior - functional and uncommon sportwagon layout. Costs significantly less than the least expensive Lexus, Cadillac, BMW or Mercedes models - all of which begin in the low-mid $30k range.

    WHAT'S NOT SO GOOD

    You can't order the all-wheel-drive system - or get a manual transmission - with the diesel engine. Both of these features are only offered with the A3's other available engine - a gasoline burning four-cylinder.

    Some snobby types still don't consider Audi as "high end" a brand as Lexus, Cadillac, BMW or Mercedes.

    ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

    The new-for-2010 diesel engine is a 2.0 liter four-cylinder with turbocharging and direct injection. It produces 140 hp and 236 lbs.-ft. of torque vs. 200 hp and 207 lbs.-ft. of torque for the A3's other available engine - a 2.0 liter, gasoline-burning four cylinder.

    The diesel engine is teamed up with a six-speed automatic that Audi calls S tronic and front-wheel-drive only. The gas-fueled four cylinder engine can be teamed with either the S tronic six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual and either front wheel drive or all-wheel-drive

    Acceleration-wise, the diesel A3 gets to 60 mph in about 8.8 seconds vs. about 7.2-7.4 seconds for the gas-burning version (manual FWD versions are slightly quicker than the slightly heavier automatic/AWD versions).

    But the diesel's mileage is much better than the gas engine's: 30 city/42 highway vs. 21 city and 30 highway, a very impressive difference of 12 mpg on the highway and 9 mpg in the city.

    DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

    Audi sources the 2.0 liter diesel engine from its corporate partner Volkswagen. So the A3 diesel runs and drives very much like a Jetta TDI, which uses the same basic engine. It is a fantastic powerplant. At low speeds it pulls more strongly than the gas engine (due to its much higher torque output) and will even squeal the tires if you want it to. Once under way, it burbles along quietly and at much lower engine revs than the gas engine - which has to be revved to over 5,000 RPMs to produce its peak output, while the diesel engine makes it peak power at under half those RPMs. At 70 mph, the diesel is turning around 2,000 RPMs, or not much more than a fast idle.

    It is thus a less busy engine than the four, which in real world use is actually noisier than its diesel sibling because you need to wind it out more to get maximum power/performance out of it.

    The only downside is no six-speed manual - a feature that is available in the A3's lower prestige/lower-priced VW sibling. That's odd. The diesel works great with the manual (in the VW) and surely people who are inclined toward the diesel because of its high efficiency would also be inclined to choose (or want) the manual transmission, due to its potential for even greater fuel efficiency.

    But, no.

    At least not for now.

    There's nothing bad about the S tronic six-speed automatic. It shifts sharply or softly (depending on how vigorously you are driving) and doesn't have any flaws as such.

    It's just not as fun as a manual, that's all.

    I also don't get why Audi won't allow buyers to have AWD with the diesel engine. The only reason I can come up with is that the (slight) added weight of the Quattro AWD gear would slow the car down just slightly - perhaps putting its publicized 0-60 time over 9 seconds - which from a PR standpoint might be a problem because "luxury-sport" cars are supposed to be quick and in today's market anything that needs more than 9 seconds to reach 60 is considered a little bit on the doggy side.

    But in real-word driving, 9 seconds to 60 is sufficient for commuting and comfortably dealing with the typical stop-and-go driving that most people who shop a diesel-powered car have to deal with. Many such buyers also have to deal with snow and wet weather driving, too - and would probably like to have the AWD.

    If Audi would let them have it.

    STYLING & UTILITY

    Ok, this is just my opinion, but to my eyes, the A3 is the best-proportioned and classiest looking small wagon on the market. Upmarket and sporty with numerous small detail touches - such as the upside-down "L" shaped LED parking light "brow" that's integrated with the headlight assemblies - and an interior finished with serious-looking, red backlit instruments, high-gloss brushed pewter-looking metal and plastics as nice as some cars' leather.

    It's a much more adult car than, say, a Subaru WRX (with its profusion of wings and snorty scoops) and much more stylish than, say, a Volvo.

    The wagon layout gives the A3 a huge functional/everyday usefulness advantage over other entry-luxury compact sedans like the Lexus ES350. Total cargo capacity is 56 cubic feet and even with the second row seats up you've still got almost 20 cubic feet left - vs. 15 cubic feet in the ES350 (other entry-level compact luxury sedans are similar).

    And no competitor offers the versatility of the wagon bodystyle and the high-effiiency of a diesel engine. BMW's 3 series, for example, has a diesel engine in the lineup - but not in the wagon version, which comes only with a gasoline engine (as well as a much higher base price of $35,400 to start).

    Volvo sells a compact wagon - but no diesel engine.

    QUALITY & SAFETY

    Given the considerably lower price (and superior fuel efficiency) of the A3 relative to, say a BMW 3-series diesel or the new Lexus HS250h hybrid, the A3 diesel's value is hard to gainsay. When you factor in the Audi's superb workmanship and the equivalence of the features it offers relative to those and other competitors, the A3 makes a very compelling case for itself.

    The only detraction from this otherwise enticing ensemble is that side-impact air bags for the second row passengers are optional.

    Traction/stability control, ABS and full-lnegth curtain air bags are included in all versions.

    THE BOTTOM LINE

    In a crowded field the A3 diesel stands out like a filet mignon at McDonalds.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    I liked the 2.0T A3 a whole lot when I was test-driving cars a couple of years ago. I think it's a seriously underrated model. Too bad about the price.

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    Nice review. If I was a carmaker, I would be looking to switch my major fleet to diesel over the next few years. I would keep gasoline for high performance and maybe some luxury cars only. In short, I would FORCE diesel onto the market. Let the oil companies refine the necessary amounts of fuel.

    Even with the new processes for diesel refining (ULSD), I have heard that it is still less expensive to refine than gasoline. When economies of scale develop beyond where they are, the payoff would likely be a slight reduction in the cost of fuel overall at the pump.

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    Nice review. If I was a carmaker, I would be looking to switch my major fleet to diesel over the next few years. I would keep gasoline for high performance and maybe some luxury cars only. In short, I would FORCE diesel onto the market. Let the oil companies refine the necessary amounts of fuel.

    Even with the new processes for diesel refining (ULSD), I have heard that it is still less expensive to refine than gasoline. When economies of scale develop beyond where they are, the payoff would likely be a slight reduction in the cost of fuel overall at the pump.
    Thanks!

    I'm pretty impressed by the "next generation" diesels. No real downside other than the higher (but not much) up front price relative to the same car with the gas engine.

    And I say "not much" higher because if you're at all smart about it, you will drive the thing for 300,000 miles and 15-20 plus years. That is how you wring the true value out of a diesel. The MPG advantage is nice, too of course!

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    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Friend of mine did the calculations for a VW Jetta S vs VW Jetta TDI, and figuring the base prices of the two models, their relative fuel economy ratings, and the cost of fuel today, you'd have to drive the TDI 180,000 miles to recoup the additional price.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel View Post
    Friend of mine did the calculations for a VW Jetta S vs VW Jetta TDI, and figuring the base prices of the two models, their relative fuel economy ratings, and the cost of fuel today, you'd have to drive the TDI 180,000 miles to recoup the additional price.
    Yes, but at 180,000 miles the TDI is hardly broken in while the gas engine is almost certainly getting tired! The smart thing to do with a diesel is to drive the thing for 300,000-plus miles. Then you more than make up the difference... .

  8. #8

    Finally?

    Diesel powered cars are coming back to America - but with two key differences this time.

    First, they're pleasant and powerful in addition to offering fuel efficiency that's competitive with gas-electric hybrids. Two, they're no longer confined to the engine bays of economy cars (or trucks).

    Diesel powered luxury/performance cars - for years a common sight on the roads of Europe - are finally making their way here.

    The 2010 Audi A3 is one of them.
    Don't forget Mercedes, they've been bringing diesels here since the mid 1950's. Lets hope the diesels that come stay this time, and that someone doesn't ruin their reputation (again).

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    Don't forget Mercedes, they've been bringing diesels here since the mid 1950's. Lets hope the diesels that come stay this time, and that someone doesn't ruin their reputation (again).
    You never know what GM might have up its sleeve...

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    Eric or anyone with knowledge;

    Is it possible to drive diesel engines on vegetable oil? Is this at all feasible and what would it cost to confort a diseal car to one driven of McDonald vegetable oil. How about if you live in a cold climate? How are diesel engines in northern climates?

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    Eric or anyone with knowledge;

    Is it possible to drive diesel engines on vegetable oil? Is this at all feasible and what would it cost to confort a diseal car to one driven of McDonald vegetable oil. How about if you live in a cold climate? How are diesel engines in northern climates?
    Short answer - yes.

    However, raw vegetable oil is not the same thing as biodiesel - which you may have heard about, too.

    The use of raw vegetable oil in diesels requires pre-heaters and other fuel system upgrades; biodiesel can be burned in any diesel engine without major mods.

    An interesting fact of history is that diesel engines were originally designed to run on vegetable oil - not petroleum-based diesel fuel.

    See www.biodiesel.org for more information about biodiesel fuels.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Eric;

    I will look into diseal for my next vechicle. I remember my brother-in-law owning a diseal Volvo back in the early 80's man it was slow and the stench that poured out of the tail pipe was nasty. That car was a ugly boxy beast for sure. It was embarrising to drive but I did enjoy the manual shift. I was learning how to shift back then,I say Volvo had good transmissions in the 80's.

  13. #13

    Sure it is possible

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    Eric or anyone with knowledge;

    Is it possible to drive diesel engines on vegetable oil? Is this at all feasible and what would it cost to confort a diseal car to one driven of McDonald vegetable oil. How about if you live in a cold climate? How are diesel engines in northern climates?
    Yes it is possible, I run straight WVO in my Mercedes. It is really only useful economically and functionally for a commute over 20 miles one way. I would recommend a two tank setup. If you use a one tank setup, there is no heater in the fuel tank so the oil will gel and make it impossible to start, even in the summer. I got my kit from Greasecar and it works well and I installed the kit myself, so I saved a lot of money there. I live in PA and it really doesn't work that good in the winter. You want the oil above a certain temp (at least 90-100F) before it hits the injection pump, otherwise you will have serious problems down the road (like ruined lift pumps, ruined injection pumps, ruined injectors, gummed up piston rings, and clogged fuel lines).

    As for collection and filtering of oil, don't expect to get any from McDonalds, or any other chain fast food place. I get my oil from a few different restaurants. Don't expect the owner to relay to the workers how you want the oil. Some places drain their oil back into the five gallon jugs it comes in. Others take it outside and dump it in a 55 gallon drum, leaving you to deal with the mess. For filtration I use a 1500W water heater element, a motor oil filter centrifuge from a Scania truck, and a power steering pump. I would recommend a centrifuge because with a sock filter the oil is no where near clean and there can still be water in the oil.

    This should only be done in an old IDI diesel, and not in a newer one, especially not in common rails. Hope this helps.

  14. #14
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    Thankyou,I'm saving your reply . This is exctly the information I was looking for DieselEverything. Anyway diesel is the way to go in the future.

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