The VW Group, of which Audi is part, is making great use of its new super low-CO2 105PS 1.6-litre diesel engine.

In the A3 it takes CO2 just below the 110g/km cut-off for capital allowance tax, meaning a 100% writing-down allowance. Or in simpler language, business can save money by opting for this A3 over one with a higher CO2.

However, unlike previous eco-A3s, the new 1.6-litre-engined car we’ve tested here doesn’t carry the TDIe badge that has previously marked-out the most efficient Audi in a range. Instead, the car is named

like any other A3. Our test car

was even a ‘Sport’ model, which seemed highly inappropriate for a car that is all about efficiency and included stop-start, low rolling resistance tyres and an engine management system designed to return good mpg figures. The official fuel figure, by the way, is seriously impressive at 68.9mpg. However, while in some vehicles it’s easy to achieve the official figure in the real world (such as the 99g/km Golf Bluemotion) the Audi A3 isn’t one of these, and even driving economically couldn’t get us within 10mpg of the official figure. The up-side on economy, though, was that if we ignored the eco-driving style we still returned over 50mpg, something we found in the 107g/km Golf Bluemotion Technology (see page 21).

Against its nearest rival, the BMW 1-series, the A3 offers both better value and CO2, but fleet managers should ask themselves if drivers wouldn’t be just as happy driving the Golf Bluemotion? At £19,745 the A3 is a little over £2500 more expensive than the more-efficient yet near-identical, in terms of technology, Golf, while residual value expert KwikCarcost also gives the Volkswagen a better RV, which coupled to the lower price means a 5p a mile lower running cost.

Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI
105PS Sport 5dr manual
P11D price £19,745
Model price range £15,265-£28,020
Fuel consumption 68.9mpg
CO2 (tax) 109g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month £43/£86
Service interval variable
Insurance group 8
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 370/1100 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc /105PS
Top speed/0-62mph 121mph/11.7secs
On sale November
Score 7/10
Verdict Hard to justify 5p a mile
more than the better Golf