The FSI engine uses a high pressure common rail system to inject petrol directly into the combustion chamber, delivering higher torque and power, but simultaneously reducing fuel consumption by up to 15%. The less fuel burnt, the lower the carbon dioxide produced, meaning lower company car tax bills under the CO2 emissions-based tax system.
The first FSI engine is a 2.0-litre four cylinder unit that also features a NOx storage converter to break down and burn harmful emissions of oxides of nitrogen. But the experience of Audi UK suggests a growing proportion of British drivers see no conflict in ordering a prestige car with a diesel engine.
Kevin Rose, director of Audi UK, said: 'We have traditionally had a high diesel mix of about 25% of sales across our range, but that is growing to 35%, and in our order intake it has touched 40% as a reaction to the new company car tax system.'
Rose is optimistic that this sharp increase in diesel sales will not upset the supply-demand relationship in the used car market. He believes the longevity, performance and fuel economy arguments in favour of diesel are still being won, and that in three years' time demand for secondhand diesels will be even higher than today.
Protecting its residual values lies at the heart of the company's strategy, following its rapid growth - it will sell more than 50,000 new cars this year.