Of all the major car makers, Audi has probably coped with the changing car landscape better than the rest. From posting record car sales for 2008, despite the gloom and doom that has permeated the whole car industry, to launching more new models than you can count, the push is onward and upward. And the world has fallen in love with its cars, from modest little hatchbacks to Supercars.
But with a watchful eye on the changing concerns of the car buying public, Audi is seeking new ways to offer more for less, particularly in the economy/emissions area. So today Audi has announced that it will extend the availability of Stop-Start, energy recuperation and driver efficiency aids on its models from the third quarter of 2009.
At present Audi doesn’t offer Stop-Start on any of its cars, but it plans to introduce Stop-Start on the Audi A3 1.4 TSi manual and on 2.0 litre A4 and A5 models with a manual ‘box. More models will follow, but no word yet on whether they will extend Stop-Start to the auto ‘box cars.
Audi are also introducing an on-board computer with an efficiency programme that will display all the relevant data relating to driving style and consumption. It is claimed that up to 30% of fuel costs are driving-style related so, if you chooses to take notice of the new display, you will reap some pretty impressive savings.
But this is one of those odd information displays, just like the instant mpg figures you get on many cars. You either become obsessed with the figures and do everything you can to keep the mpg as high as possible, or it drives you round the twist and you switch it off before you run in to the car in front whilst trying to squeeze the next round-up figure on the display. Or is that just me! Still, a good option if you’re trying to be frugal.
Energy recuperation aids economy by recovering energy during deceleration and feeding it back to the alternator, thereby reducing (marginally) fuel consumption. Audi already offers the system on some manual models across its range, but will be extending the range of models that benefit.
Audi is aiming to reduce fuel consumption across its range by 20% by 2012. This will go some way to doing it, without reducing performance and driving pleasure.