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The 45 finalists for this year's Australia's Best Cars awards are more environmentally friendly and more fuel efficient, according to judges.

The finalists for the 2011 awards average just 179 grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre - compared to an average 185 grams for the 2010 finalists.

Average fuel consumption is also fractionally down, from 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres to 7.37 litres per 100 kilometres.

The improved figures have been achieved despite a slight reduction in vehicles powered by alternate fuel sources, such as diesel and hybrids, making it to the finals.

Andrew McKellar, executive director, Australian Automobile Association (AAA) said the decrease is an indication of trends within the automotive industry.

"It is an indication manufacturers are working hard to maximise the efficiency of their drivetrains," Mr McKellar said.

"A lot of the improvements our judges have found haven't been with radical headline-grabbing technology, but rather significant and constant technological improvement.

"The industry is clearly making a lot of progress in this area."

The judges cited the example of the 118TSI petrol engine found in the new Volkswagen Jetta.

The 1.4-litre twincharged petrol engine is an example of the current phenomenon of using small capacity engines to minimise fuel consumption and emissions, while adding low boost turbocharging or supercharging (or both in the case of the Jetta) to maintain power.

The result is a car that produces more power and accelerates faster than the previous generation turbocharged diesel Jetta 103TDI that won its category in 2010.

In addition, the Jetta 118TSI uses roughly the same 6 litres per 100 kilometres of fuel, and produces just 144 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, compared with the 165 from last year's winner.

Similarly, the new Audi A6 3.0 TDI produces four more kilowatts of power, but uses 1.1 less litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and produces 31 fewer grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre than the model it replaces.

"These are just two examples of the impressive ongoing technological advancements from within the industry," Mr McKellar said.

The Australia's Best Cars awards will be presented on Tuesday 29 November at the RACV City Club in Melbourne.


For further information contact:

Andrew McKellar
Chief executive, Australian Automobile Association
P: 612 624 77311

The new Audi A6 TDi is significantly more environmentally friendly than its predecessor - which won its category at the 2010 Australia's Best Cars awards.