A3 TDI with S-tronic transmission and front-wheel drive will start at 29,950 US dollars.

Diesels remain a tough sell in the North American market but the German premium brands, with the technology they have to offer, are still compelled to try.

This time it's Audi introducing the new A3 TDI for the U.S. Market, for which the Ingolstadt-based automaker released pricing details yesterday.

Starting price for the A3 TDI 'clean diesel', as Audi likes to remind consumers, with the S-tronic transmission and front-wheel drive is $29,950, excluding a delivery charge of $825.

That's the news, right there. Audi spends the rest of the considerably long press release touting the advantages of diesel technology.

As in the European edition, the 2.0 liter TDI provides 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque (320 Nm). That makes for a 42 mpg mileage rating (5.6 liters/100 km) for the A3 TDI. That beats just about any luxury compact in the marketplace.

The difficulty for European automakers in the U.S. Market had always been to meet the stringent emissions standards that are set in each U.S. State for diesel powered passenger cars. Those regulations are far more restrictive than they are for transport trucks. That coupled with the lack of availability of highly-refined (low-sulfur) diesel fuel also made selling diesels in all 50 states a challenge.

But now that BMW, Audi and Mercedes have overcome, at the very least, the emissions challenge, they still have to sell the vehicles to a skeptical public not used to fueling their cars at the diesel island of their local gas station.

And the poor dollar/euro exchange rate doesn't help them, either.


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