Audi is running with a new promotional technique in which they use cleaning agents to “paint” the sidewalks in New York City. A great choice in location, considering the cleanliness of the city.
The images created on the sidewalks depict how if only one-third of Americans drove clean diesel, we’d reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 1.5 million barrels a day. I’m glad Audi is really pushing the diesel thing, and now that driving a diesel vehicle is no longer a dirty and smelly experience, I’m really hoping that it catches on in America.
A few facts about diesel:
- Clean diesel engines reduce carbon emissions by 20% over gasoline and are 30% more fuel-efficient.
- One drop of diesel fuel has 12% more power than one drop of gasoline.
- If one-third of Americans switched to from gasoline to clean diesel, it would be the equivalent of planting 2.2 billion trees.
- Diesel is currently less expensive than gasoline nationwide. While this may change day-to-day, it does come back to the issue of America’s dependence on gasoline and being dependent on speculative commodity price fluctuations.
Below is a video released by Audi showing the benefits of diesel technology:
Audi is introducing two new engines to the A3 line-up in Europe, both focusing on a significant improvement in efficiency. The engines are the same size – 1.6-liters – and are both diesel-powered TDIs. The more powerful of the two engines, at 105 horsepower, will achieve over 57 mpg, well into and above the range of gasoline-powered hybrid cars. This engine uses the same start/stop and energy recovery system as the A4 2.0 TDI e, which shuts off the engine when stopped and uses regenerative braking to recover energy normally lost when slowing down. This engine will propel the lightweight A3 from 0-62 mph in 11.4 seconds, which isn’t bad for a car that gets 57 mpg.
The other newly available engine is also a 1.6-liter TDI, but produces only 90 hp, and gets slightly less fuel economy at 52 mpg. This engine does not use the same start/stop and energy recovery system as the more powerful engine, but still gets good fuel economy, and has a decent 170 lb-ft of torque which gives it a 0-62 mph time of 12.9 seconds.
The 90 hp version will start at 22,550 Euros ($32,242 USD,) and the 105 hp car will be 23,550 Euros ($33,672 USD.) I couldn’t see any reason to choose the 90 hp version over the 105 hp alternative, especially with only a 1,000 Euro price difference. The engines will be available for order immediately.
Despite everyone lusting over the R8 V12 TDI Concept from last year, Audi has decided to halt plans on development, citing that “the market isn’t strong enough to make it realistic.” According to AutoExpress, the final blow was a lack of demand in the United States for diesels – the US accounts for one-third of global R8 sales. What a shame, we should absolutely be adopting the idea of diesel engines right now.
Audi claims the cost of re-engineering the petrol R8 to accommodate the massive twin-turbocharged diesel engine is simply too great – and that it would be unable to recoup its investment through sales alone.
But man, what an engine it is. The 5.5-liter TDI engine produced 500 horsepower and over 738 lb-ft of torque for a 0-60 mph blast of 4.2 seconds.
Audi will be launching the 2.0 TDI e in June in dealerships across Europe. The 2.0 TDI e is the most fuel efficient mid-size sedan on the market. Burning diesel fuel, it manages to get 51.13 mpg out of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and burn only 191.51 grams of CO2 per mile, which isn’t a figure we’re very familiar with here in the States.
The efficient “e” model produces 136hp, which while isn’t a great number, isn’t exactly focused on performance. It can run from 0 to 62 mph in 9.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 133mph. We Americans will just have to wait longer until diesel catches on over here, but I know many people who would be excited to get 51mpg out of a mid-size non-hybrid sedan, especially an Audi. The sedan is priced at 30,800 euros (currently a little over $42,200 USD,) and you can also get the “e” as an Avant. While it’s not exactly cheap, neither are comparable hybrids.
The A4 2.0 TDI e efficiency system works much like a hybrid, in that it turns off the engine when you’re stopped, which is especially helpful in stop-and-go traffic. Further effort has been taken to increase efficiency, such as low-resistance tires, a 6-speed manual transmission with a 5% higher final gear ratio, and a revised ECU. The system also uses a regenerative braking system (much like a hybrid,) which stores excess kinetic energy from braking in the battery, discharging it when you resume acceleration to reduce fuel use. Clever indeed.
The A4 2.0 TDI e also tries to save fuel by helping change fuel-guzzling driving habits. It has a shift indicator which is tuned to tell you the most fuel efficient times to shift, and displays all fuel efficiency information on the driver information display, making you see how much fuel you’re using and hopefully persuading you to drive more conservatively. Changing your driving habits alone have ben shown to increase efficiency by around 30% – a big savings at the pump. Audi has also improved the A4 aerodynamics in the “e” model to reduce drag,
Overseas, this is actually the fourth efficiency-focused “e” model Audi has released. Apparently the accountants over at Audi don’t think us Yankees are ready to get 44mpg out of an A6 luxury sedan, or the same 44 mpg out of the TT sports car. Don’t worry though…when gas prices go back up to $4/gallon or higher, we’ll start seeing these over here.
We just reported on the new Q7 TDI availability, but didn’t have any pricing information at the time. Well Audi just announced pricing on the 2009 Q7 TDI, which will start at $51,725 (including the $825 destination charge.) Fairly expensive, but about the same as its main rivals, the BMW X5 35d ($52,025) and Mercedes-Benz ML 320 Bluetec ($48,125.)
The Q7 TDI will also qualify for the $1,150 Alternative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit from the IRS.