Four new TDI diesels to join Audi lineup in North America

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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There's more than one way to achieve ever more stringent fuel economy standards while making sure valued customers don't take a performance hit in the process. Gas-electric hybrids are one solution that Audi is starting to embrace, but the German brand has been luring in European clients with powerful fuel-efficient turbo-diesels for decades, so why not apply the technology here?

Up until recently fuel prices haven't been high enough to warrant a change, and in the past North American diesel fuel wasn't clean enough to pass through refined European-spec injection systems without clogging them up, but with gasoline prices hovering between $3.50 and $4 a gallon in the U.S. and averaging above $1.20 per litre here in Canada, and cleaner burning diesel fuel now widespread at ample retail locations, apparently Audi feels the time is right to expand its diesel offerings here in North America.

What's the direct benefit? In a press release Audi claims that every "TDI vehicle delivers up to 30-percent better fuel economy and 30-percent lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines, resulting in longer range and fewer trips to the fuel pump."

Consider the compact A3 TDI sport wagon and midsize Q7 TDI crossover models, which have long been sold here, as well received experiments, enough so that Audi will add turbo-diesel variants of its A6 and A8 sedans, plus its A7 four-door coupe and the same compact Q5 crossover that now comes in hybrid trim. The four new TDI models will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, but so far, despite rumours, there's no A4 TDI to woo disenfranchised BMW 335d buyers now forced to buy a 3-Series hybrid. Opportunity lost?

All four new TDI models will receive the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 as offered with the current Q7 TDI, good for 240-horsepower and 407 lb-ft of torque, as well as Audi's eight-speed automatic transmission. In the Q7 TDI, which is larger and heavier than all the new TDI offerings, with what is likely the highest coefficient of drag at 0.37, Audi claims 11.5 L/100km in the city and 7.1 on the highway, so therefore all new TDI models should achieve better ratings and greater performance.

"Owners of Audi TDI engines have helped save over 4 million gallons of gasoline, or the equivalent of more than 240,000 barrels of foreign oil, since the introduction of Audi TDI to the U.S. in 2009," said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. "And, TDI technology delivers better fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance."

How quick will they be? Audi says you can expect zero to 100 km/h times of six and a half seconds for the largest and heaviest new entrant, the A8 TDI, so expect faster acceleration from all of its lighter TDI siblings.

That A8 TDI will be the first to arrive in the spring of 2013 as a 2014 model, with A6, A7 and Q5 TDI models arriving later in the fall.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Sport Sedan, Audi, Q7 TDI, A3 TDI, A8 TDI, A7 TDI, A6 TDI, Q5 TDI,

Geographic location: North America

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