Audi is adding a new member to the A3 family: the A3 Sportback 30 g-tron. Operation with natural gas or biomethane makes the compact model particularly economical and climate-friendly with very low emissions. Like all variants of the new A3 model series, it boasts a sporty design, a digital operating concept and generous standard equipment. Sales in Germany begin in fall 2020 at a base price of €30,705.88.
The first A3 Sportback g-tron introduced by Audi in 2014 already featured a sophisticated technology concept. The successor builds on that.
Operation with CNG enables a higher 12.5:1 compression ratio compared with the conventional combustion process of the 1.5 TFSI 110 kW (150 PS) and also improves efficiency. The cylinder head, injection system, turbocharger and catalytic converter were modified accordingly for the CNG engine. Before the gas reaches the injector valves, an electronic pressure regulator reduces the pressure from as much as 200 bar, which can prevail in the tanks, to between 5 and 9 bar.
The CNG model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 9.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 211 km/h (131.1 mph). Average NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) fuel consumption for the four-cylinder is just 3.6 – 3.5 kilograms CNG per 100 kilometers, corresponding to a CO2 equivalent of 99 – 96 grams per kilometer (159.3 – 154.5 g/mi). With full CNG tanks, the car has an NEDC range of up to 495 kilometers (307.6 mi) and a WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) range of up to 445 kilometers (276.5 mi). This is supplemented by the additional range offered by the reserve gasoline tank with a net usable volume of 9 liters mounted in front of the rear axle. Power is transferred to the front wheels via the standard seven-speed S tronic.
The four-cylinder always starts in CNG mode, only injecting slight amounts of gasoline under rare operating conditions. If the pressure in the CNG tanks drops below a certain threshold, which varies depending on the current driving state, the engine switches to gasoline mode. The driver does not notice this switch. The fuel level in the tanks and consumption in the respective operating mode are displayed in the digital instrument cluster. The two filler necks are placed under a common fuel flap.
The Audi A3 Sportback 30 g-tron is also a leader when it comes to economy, in part because of the favorable tax rate on natural gas and biomethane in Germany until 2026. The emissions balance is similarly positive. Due to the fuel’s high hydrogen content, a CNG automobile emits approximately 20% less CO2 than a comparable gasoline model.
There are currently some 850 CNG stations in Germany. More than half of them sell biomethane produced entirely from waste, and this number is increasing. With this fuel, driving is nearly climate-neutral.