Smaller engines are finding favour.
Witness the latest addition to the Audi A3 range – a turbocharged 1.4-litre unit which delivers 125bhp.
Previously this sort of engine capacity was reserved for superminis. But advances in technology mean that small units can now punch far above their weight.
The A3 does this by combining turbocharging with direct injection to ensure a very efficient injection and combustion process.
The end result is 125bhp at 5,000rpm, although this does not tell the full story.
Thanks to the turbocharger, the power is available from the moment you press the accelerator pedal – no lag, just instant response and sprightly performance.
The other figures are CO2 emissions of 154g/km and claimed combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg.
Although a 1.9 TDI diesel will deliver better economy, drivers will benefit from lower benefit-in-kind tax bills in the 1.4 TFSI as it is slightly cheaper at the front-end and sits in a BIK band lower as it does not suffer from the 3% diesel surcharge.
For fleets with a heavy leaning on diesel, the 1.4 TFSI offers a relatively cost-effective option.
Behind the wheel
Although 125bhp does not sound much these days, it is enough to endow the A3 with a fizzy nature.
Thanks to a quick response turbo and direct injection the 1.4 TFSI is quick to respond to throttle inputs and very willing to rev round to the red line.
It’s much more involving to drive than a diesel too, as you can actually use all the revs to gain performance rather than surfing a wave of low-down torque.
On the move, engine noise is well suppressed and the ride errs on the side of firm.
With a slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, the smallest engine in the A3 range brings a lot of driving enjoyment.
If you or your drivers fancy a change from diesel power, the 1.4 TFSI engine is well worth a look.
Forget its diminutive size – this engine has enough power and character to make it a viable alternative to the ubiquitous TDI diesel.
Model: 1.4 TFSI
Max power (bhp/rpm): 125/5,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 147/1,500
Max speed (mph): 126
0-62mph (secs): 9.6
Fuel consumption (mpg): 43.5
CO2 emissions (g/km): 154
Prices (OTR): £16,365-£20,665
On sale: Now