Audi Bets More on the Power of Four

Sources at Audi have confirmed that the German automaker plans to place more emphasis on its 2.0-liter turbocharged four in its 2010 U.S. lineups at the expense of both the older Volkswagen-sourced 250-horsepower/3.2-liter narrow-angle VR6 as well as its own newer, direct-injected 265-horse/ 3.2-liter six. The VR6 will no longer be offered in Audi's A3, A4 or TT models, which are currently being fitted with the turbo four-cylinders in about a 9:1 ratio. In the A3 and TT lines, the turbo four makes 200 horses while the A4's version packs 11 more ponies in the underhood corral. Even the slick A5 Coupe will see a more prominent role for four-cylinder power, as the T-charged 2.0 becomes the standard-issue motivator for 2010 while the direct-injected 3.2 V6 will only be offered in combination with quattro all-wheel drive and the optional six-speed Tiptronic transmission.

Although it may be losing its V6, the 2010 A3 will add a new front-drive 2.0 TDI model to the mix. Announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January, the 50-state clean diesel at its heart is rated at 140 horsepower but makes a stout 236 lb.-ft. of peak torque, identical to the twist figure of the departing optional engine and 19 lb.-ft. more than the carryover turbo four. Backed by the firm's seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automated transmission, it promises to deliver solid performance and 40-plus mpg numbers. The 2.0 TDI package will place equal emphasis on luxury, with items like leather seating and interior trims, dual-zone auto climate control, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Hill-hold Assist and 17-inch alloy wheels highlighting a lengthy roster of standards. Audi has not yet released pricing on the new A3 2.0 TDI, which goes on sale sometime late this year.

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