Audi A3 TDI Clubsport Quattro concept: first pictures

Published: 16 May 2008

Thought the Audi R8 V12 TDI was a drop of diesel fuel in a large petrol pond? Think again. This is the Audi A3 TDI Clubsport Quattro concept – another performance diesel from Ingolstadt. Set to debut later this month at the Lake Wörther Tour in Austria, this rather OTT A3 features DTM-inspired bodywork and the world’s highest specific output diesel engine. Think of the Clubsport as a way to get us excited about the facelifted A3 range, while being relatively kind to the environment too.

What’s the Audi A3 TDI Clubsport Quattro packing under that hood?

A very shiny four-pot diesel (the 1968cc diesel is stripped of its usual black cladding, you see). Add in a new turbocharger, and the four-cylinder unit produces 221bhp. That easily bests BMW’s 204bhp 2.0-litre and Mercedes’ 201bhp 2.1-litre twin-turbo diesels. The Clubsport’s 332lb ft at 1750rpm puts it midway between the BMW (295lb ft) and the Merc (368lb ft).

All that torque is combined with a six-speed manual ‘box and a four-wheel drive system to help the A3 Clubsport reach 62mph in 6.6 seconds and go on to 149mph. Not bad for a diesel A3, we say.

Keep all this performance chat in context. This is a ludicrously OTT concept car, isn't it? Maybe not... Audi remains tight-lipped on the production feasibility of the engine's 221bhp, but claims it already passes EU5 emission regulations due in 2010. With BMW and Mercedes already offering 100bhp/litre diesels, Audi could well follow suit soon.

Click 'Next' below to read more about the Audi A3 TDI Clubsport Quattro concept

Enough about the oil-burning engine, what about that go-faster body?

It's all a bit tuner special, isn't it? There’s a DTM-inspired rear spoiler, 993-era 911 GT2-esque bolt-on wheel arch extensions and 20-inch wheels. There are LED daytime running lights, that front grille gets even wider and the tracks are also up (33mm front, 46mm rear). Overall the A3 sits 36mm lower than a regular A3. You won't mistake this for a boggo 1.6, that's for sure.

Inside, you get an interior inspired by the Audi R8 V12 TDI's, so think bucket seats, lots of aluminum trim, toggle switches to replace buttons and a big red starter button on a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

What other special bits are on this concept?

The A3 Clubsport is hauled to a stop by six-piston callipers gripping 356mm carbon ceramic front brakes. Pity the rear items are standard-fit steel brakes.

There’s also Audi Drive Select that lets you alter the car's electronics to suit the conditions. You can tweak the throttle response, exhaust sound, the level of assistance from the power steering, the threshold of the ESP system and the settings for the magnetic ride dampers – all at the prod of a button.

And the colour scheme?

It’s a nod to the Austrian flag, while the big white ‘eight’ on each side is because we’re in the year 2008. How original.

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy