Green and performance luxury needn’t be mutually exclusive concepts. That’s a core belief at Audi. Today, that philosophy paid off with the all-new A3 TDI earning the prestigious title of 2010 Green Car of the Year®.

Audi A3 TDI

The announcement came this morning during the Los Angeles Auto Show as Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com presented the award to Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen. The Audi A3 TDI was among five model finalists nominated for the award, which began in 2005.

The 2010 Audi A3 TDI arrived at U.S. dealerships last month and initial sales have been promising. The A3 TDI is the latest example of the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions benefits provided by the critically acclaimed TDI clean diesel product line, following the wildly popular Q7 TDI, which launched in June 2009. TDI clean diesel technology was first developed by Audi 20 years ago and has come to signify the brand’s commitment to trailblazing automotive performance executed in an environmentally responsible way.

The groundbreaking TDI 2.0 engine available in the A3 delivers 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, yet achieves an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway fuel economy that is the best of any luxury car sold in America. That means the Audi A3 TDI achieve 50% better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine.

“We consider the Green Car of the Year® title one of the most important industry accolades,“ said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America. “It is of paramount importance for us to develop vehicles that achieve the very touchstones this award stands for – fuel efficiency and environmental impact. Rather than novelty features, we consider these attributes imperative to the future of automobile design. We are honored with this recognition for the Audi A3 TDI.”

In addition to setting the new industry standard in fuel efficiency, the 2010 A3 TDI remains a stylistic pacesetter as well. All new A3 models now come standard with S line exterior equipment. In addition the wheels have been upgraded and standard Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights are available on Premium Plus models.

“The Audi A3 TDI really defines what a ‘green’ car should be,” said Cogan. “At 42 mpg, it sets the bar for highway fuel efficiency in the luxury car segment. Its 50-state certified clean diesel engine is quiet, responsive, and achieves its mission without the need for exotic technologies. Plus, it’s sporty and just plain fun to drive.”

Audi A3 TDI

Indeed, the TDI technology in the A3 has a strong performance heritage. Audi was the first automaker to find success with diesel engines in motorsports, winning several times at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring, among other competitions. That same fundamental technology is found in the A3 TDI, meaning motorists do not have to sacrifice performance for efficiency.

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