Tax doesn’t have to be taxing for Audi fleet customers, who still have a choice of over 150 Audi model variants which undercut new, significantly lower, CO2 emissions thresholds that have just tightened the tax rules for company car purchases.
This month’s Budget included major changes to capital allowances – the amounts a business can offset against corporation tax on the purchase of a new company car in 2013/14. Under the new rules fleet purchasers can now only benefit from the most advantageous annual allowance of 18 per cent if their chosen car emits between 96g/km and 130g/km of CO2.
Cars with emissions of up to 95g/km qualify for a 100 per cent first-year capital allowance from April 1, reducing to 75g/km in April 15. Until March 31 the lower limit was 111g/km and the upper 160g/km.
The availability of such a wide variety of model options that fall comfortably within the new HMRC ‘main rate’ banding is thanks in no small part to the Vorsprung durch Technik brand’s continuing efficiency offensive. As part of this, a significant number of engines have already been replaced with smaller capacity, dramatically more efficient and yet stronger performing equivalents.
The state-of-the-art Audi engine range is also bolstered by an equally advanced array of ancillary technologies. As well as engine start-stop and energy recuperation, these include cylinder deactivation technology, new direct and indirect dual injection systems, transmissions with ‘free-wheeling’ capability and advanced thermal management for rapid engine heat-up.
A total of 16 engine and transmission combinations in the A1 and A1 Sportback ranges comply, from the A1 1.6 TDI with manual transmission offering 74.3mpg with 99g/km output through to the A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 122PS S line manual with 52.3mpg and 126g/km. In the all-new A3 and A3 Sportback ranges the total rises to 18 combinations, spanning the A3 1.6 TDI with 99g/km and 74.3mpg through to the A3 Sportback 1.8 TFSI S tronic delivering 180PS, 50.4mpg and 130g/km. From the summer, the number of A3 options will increase further still as the all-new A3 Saloon opens for ordering.
Ten versions of the compact executive A4 Saloon and Avant are also unaffected by the tightened regulations, including the 177PS 2.0-litre TDI with 61.4mpg capability and 120g/km, while the A5 Sportback, Coupe and Cabriolet ranges offer a choice of eleven options, one of which is the strong and super refined 3.0-litre V6 TDI delivering 204PS and 57.6mpg with 129g/km output in the A5 Sportback. Finally, in the A6 range the 2.0-litre TDI engine with 177PS remains within reach in the Saloon, which combines 57.6mpg potential with a 129g/km output.
When the various SE, Sport, S line and Black Edition specification permutations are also factored in, the total number of compliant model choices in the Audi range comfortably exceeds 150, and many more are set to follow. With the recent allowance changes, and benefit-in-kind tax rate rises totalling six per cent planned over the next four years, these especially efficient Audi models have never been in sharper focus.