Bridgestone World Solar Challenge - Day 3.Audi A3 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge - Day 3.


  • Frugal new A3 covers the third day’s 684km with an astonishing fuel economy average of 3.9 litres per 100km
  • The A3 Sportback maintains a slender lead over the solar cars
  • Advanced 1.4 TFSI COD demonstrates real-world fuel economy in the harsh tropics and deserts of Australia

Coober Pedy, 8 October 2013:  After maintaining its lead over the top solar cars in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, Day Three saw the top two solar cars catch up with the first car away from the start in Darwin, the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD, but the exceptionally efficient A3 Sportback overtook the sun-powered cars just north of Coober Pedy.

“The top solar teams have been flying today, so we were not surprised to see them arrive minutes after us at the midday halt in Kulgera,” says Bob Jennings, one of Australia’s most-respected motoring writers and chief driver for the event. “But we had a more leisurely break, then they stayed in front of the Audi until their mandatory 17:00 halt, when we were able to overtake them again. We will start day four with a narrow 73 km lead.”  

Despite the temptation to tap too much of the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD’s punchy performance to stay head of the solar cars, the Audi team not only maintained their light right foot to maximize the fuel-sipping ability of the Cylinder on Demand technology, they actually improved on their day two figure, getting below 4.0 litres per 100 km for the first time. 

“We also have to give some credit to the route and the weather,” explained Bob Jennings. “The majority of the 684 km route was slightly downhill from Alice Springs and while the heat was maintained, there was a gusty tail wind which had no effect on the aerodynamic stability of the Audi A3, but it did help with the fuel consumption.”  

With one more full day, 540 kms from Coober Pedy to Port Augusta, before the final day’s run into Adelaide to complete the 3000 km coast to coast drive across Australia, the Audi team will be making an extra strong effort to further reduce their fuel consumption, despite the challenge of going uphill again. 

“The Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD has proven to be just like the rest of the Audi range, highly efficient and more than up to the task of crossing Australia and beating its demanding conditions,” says Bob Jennings. 

Audi sets a Solar Challenge for its newest technology

For the second event in succession, Audi has been invited to participate in the event to illustrate how technology is migrating from the laboratory and the mobile test-bed, as epitomized by the solar cars and the teams from around the world that have created them, to production cars for use in the real world. Audi enjoys an unique reputation for developing new technology, often first testing it under extreme race track conditions and then perfecting it for production cars to the benefit of its owners. 

The A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD will be piloted by a team of drivers under the scrutiny of the organisers of the Bridgestone Solar Challenge, and will adhere to the same route and checkpoints as the solar cars. The Audi A3, though, will have the option to continue to the nearest town after the sun has set and not camp at the side of road once the sun has ceased providing its energy, which is the case for the solar teams. Throughout, the fuel used will be monitored by the organisers to provide official fuel consumption figures for each leg and an overall result. The demanding climatic conditions – normally hot, but with an early arrival of summer this year, will be even harsher than normal, combined with the weight of two people inside the car at all times to demonstrate ‘real world’ conditions, as well as the long driving days, will ensure that this is true test of the Cylinder on Demand technology. It’s a test that will clearly demonstrate its viability and usability under Australian conditions. 

The new Audi A3 Sportback arrived in Australia in May, and the engine line-up was completed in September with the introduction of the new 1.4 TFSI variant with Cylinder on Demand (COD) technology. This technology has filtered down from Audi’s top-end performance cars like the S8, S7, S6 and RS 6 models and truly delivers on its promise of outstanding fuel economy. By deactivating the second and third cylinders at low to intermediate loads and while coasting, it returns a combined average fuel consumption of 4.7 litres per 100km. 

This new 1.4 TFSI COD model develops 103kW at 5000rpm and a healthy 250Nm from 1500-3500rpm. This fuel-sipping variant therefore offers strong, yet frugal performance, with low consumption and still reaches 100km/h from a standstill in 8.4 seconds – all for an MLP of $37,900*. 

Like earlier variants of the new A3 Sportback range, a seven-speed S tronic transmission is standard with this 1.4 TFSI. Shifting in just a few milliseconds, the S tronic transmission delivers the perfect combination of sporty performance and smooth driving qualities. 

The progress of the Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI COD in the 2013 Bridgestone Solar Challenge may be followed on the Audi Australia Facebook page and its web site,

Background – What is Audi ultra?

ultra is Audi’s expertise in producing vehicles which are efficient and sustainable. This efficiency technology is engineered into every new Audi model, with significant fuel consumption savings the hallmark of each new generation of Audi models. 

The modular efficiency platform used across most Audi engines, which includes features like start-stop technology, thermal efficiency management and direct fuel injection (FSI) means all Audi engines deliver outstanding fuel economy. 

Further advanced technology, like the Cylinder-on-Demand technology showcased in this A3 variant, shows what is possible even in smaller segments. 

Not only restricted to powertrain technologies, ultra also refers to Audi’s expertise in lightweight technology and its commitment to reversing the weight spiral. The new A3 Sportback is a good example of this, and is up to 85 kg lighter than its predecessor. 

Further measures to reduce consumption like electromechanical power steering, a ‘coasting’ mode in some transmissions, brake energy recuperation and efficient air conditioning systems are spreading across the range. Not all are obvious to the eye, but all contribute to greater efficiency. 

In Europe, Audi has also unveiled the first of its designated ultra models, titled the Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra. It is the brand’s most fuel-efficient production model. With 81 kW of power output, the Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra consumes just 3.2 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres. This equates to an astounding 85 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometre.  Audi will continue to unveil further TDI and TFSI models designated ‘ultra’ in the future.