Other than “quattro“, an eye-catching badge many Audi buyers relish is “TDI“. A trademark shared across the Volkswagen and Audi cars, the turbocharged diesel engine become a fixture of the German luxury car brand in 1989. Finding the most effective market penetration in European where the high cost of gasoline has led to diesels selling as superiors on sale charts, dedicated Audi buyers in North America have given the TDI engined products a courteous welcome for over 20 years.
Thanks to Volkswagen Group’s immediate push with clean diesel technology that was introduced to production Audis in 2009, the TDI badge has retained a respected presence on the luxury car line (even in the United States). While many of the German luxury car brand’s 2013 model year products have lost their TDI versions, take solace in the knowledge that the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show presentation for Audi has clean diesel technology preparing to flourish.
Just in time for the 2013 calendar year as well as a future where governments are expecting improved fleet-wide fuel economy and better emissions, Audi has a drastically revised their 3.0 TDI powerplant. A clean diesel powerplant with electronic controls that can make 2,000 decisions per second, the newly developed 3.0 TDI V6 has many notes of optimism for Audi diesel fans. Debuting on the 2013 model year Audi Q7 crossover vehicle that has been for sale since September, the new 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engine boasts a well-rounded improvement on the previous diesel powerplant. Weighing 55 pounds less than its predecessor (also a 3-liter six-cylinder powerplant), Audi’s 3.0 TDI is more bountiful on the power department. Finding an additional 15 horsepower, the 2013 Audi Q7 TDI is on even footing in that department with the Mercedes-Benz ML 350 BlueTEC diesel.
Coaxing added efficiency from their TDI engine design, the additional horsepower of the 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel powerplant is also married with crucial advancements in fuel economy and emissions. Audi’s new generation 3.0 TDI V6 is measured to provide fuel efficiency of 18 miles per gallon city and 28 miles per gallon highway. In combined city/highway driving, an additional three miles per gallon is possible with the 2013 Audi Q7 over the previous year’s model (Recorded by Audi as a 12 percent improvement). Complying with stricter diesel emissions criteria, Audi’s new 3.0 TDI is also slated to emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide than a near equal gasoline engine.
Premiering on the Q7, Audi’s appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show will unveil A6, A7, A8 and Q5 variants powered by the 3.0 TDI V6 engine for the 2014-model year. The Audi A8 TDI will be the next model due to hit showrooms in spring of 2013. The remaining A6, A7 and Q5 will be added to the North American line-up in the fall of next year. Since the Audi Q7 is Audi’s heaviest production vehicle, better fuel economy will be possible from the assortment of 2014 model year vehicles. For the 2014 Audi A8 sedan, the new 3.0 TDI engine will provide average combined fuel consumption at 25 miles per gallon.
The TDI engine in North American Audi products appears alive and well into the future. Defeating diesel engine stigma in extreme ways with the Audi SQ5 (not currently available in North America), the four-ring emblem is intent to constantly reaffirm their TDI as a piece of machinery that can deliver premium quality performance with remarkable fuel efficiency.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
The ever-expanding range of performance edition Audi models is becoming a tantalizing treat to the European car lovers all over the world. Making use of the ‘S’ and ‘RS’ branding at a heightened frequency to corner the growing high performance models from Mercedes-Benz AMG division as well as BMW’s M line, Audi has been showing exceptional ambition in flourishing the go-fast attitude vehicles wearing the four-ring emblem. Creating coupes, convertibles, sedans and Avant wagons to match performance-seeking tastes, Audi’s latest venture with the S model badge is a departure from the current menu of vehicles.
Popularizing diesel as a performance engine ever since their R10 prototype sports car won the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi has been tempted to for a while to bring the technology to the street. Several years ago, much speculation surrounded a TDI version of the Audi R8 supercar but it never materialized. The first S model vehicle to feature one of Audi’s crossover vehicles has the basis for performance enhancements, the SQ5 will be most noteworthy as the premiere of TDI engine technology for this sport application. The Audi SQ5 will be powered by what will be the highest output TDI powerplant to be featured in the car brand‘s street-legal vehicle collection. Generating a forceful 313 horsepower, the Audi SQ5’s six-cylinder 3.0 TDI engine incorporates many touches for optimized diesel performance such as twin turbochargers. Compared to the Porsche Cayenne Diesel built by Audi’s VW Group sister brand, the SQ5 is 63 horsepower more powerful also pushed by 73 additional feet-pounds of torque.
The Audi SQ5’s hood, the 3.0 TDI performance diesel is joined to an 8-speed tiptronic gearbox. Channelled through Audi’s quattro permanent all-wheel drive technology, the SQ5’s true nature comes with impressive acceleration. Launching from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 5.1 seconds, the diesel-powered Audi SQ5 is a formidable performer against even some performance V-8 crossover vehicles. A top speed of 155 miles per hour is obtainable with the Audi SQ5 crossover. Spinning 245/45 tires, 20-inch and optional 21-inch wheels circulate tied to a sport-tuned suspension system. With the Audi SQ5 quattro providing torque vectoring, the crossover vehicle is additionally controlled through an extra cost Audi select drive system that offers dynamic steering.
With the 313-horsepower 3.0 TDI powerplant mated to quattro drive provides the necessary physical prowess of an Audi S model vehicle, the next area of improvement to the Q5 is making the crossover look aggressive enough to earn a sport moniker. The trademark front Audi grille on the SQ5 is treated with a platinum gray to create the appearance of aluminum. The side mirror covered with aluminum-like detail complements a high gloss package around the windows on the Audi SQ5 crossover giving the vehicle a unique glimmer. Modified bumper covers and a rear spoiler completes the accentuation of the Audi SQ5 to its friskier character.
Playing along the similar styling theme of the exterior, the Audi SQ5 cabin receives attention. Interior paneling of the Audi SQ5 provides the owner with a choice of Carbon Atlas, Piano finish and the new Aluminum/Beaufort wood black trim pieces. Brushed aluminum inlays and the S badge advertising completes an ultra-modern interior appearance. Power adjustable sport seats within a two-tone, leather-upholstered cabin insures comfort for the Audi SQ5’s passenger behind the high-performance diesel engine.
The Audi SQ5 TDI crossover vehicle will be made available in European dealerships by early 2013. There has not been an announcement if the sale of the Audi SQ5 will extend into North America.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Introduced in Europe, the A1 came to life from the same chassis used for the Volkswagen Polo (another car some American have summoning unsuccessfully) as the Audi brand’s challenger against the BMW 1 Series or Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Sharing similar expense pressures of driving, the motorists inside countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom have been battered hard by higher fuel prices on top of car insurance costs. Luxury cars like the Audi A1 are creations based on necessity returning the market as a sporty personal hatchback. Spawned initially in three-door form, the Audi A1’s five-door version charms the tight European roads with youthful looks and practicality.
The 2012 Audi A1 Sportback is another product the German auto company wishes to link thoughts of performance with practicality. While the Sportback name appears more common on the European Audi vehicle line-up, the S7 Sportback brought to the United States lends understanding to the marketing and design principle the five-door A1 looks to accomplish. Adding two additional doors for the rear passengers, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback’s persona is casually altered. Rather being a nifty sport look, the five-door version of the A1 Sportback is propelled as a more considerate, mature existence. Measuring a total length of 3.95 meters (155.52 inches), the Audi A1 Sportback is more than 14.5 inches shorter than the smallest North American Audi offering, the A3. The A1 Sportback incorporates the new Audi brand design traits including the flared wheel wells and the furious-looking front headlamp housings. Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights can be optioned on the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback. On the back of the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback, SuperRed LED taillight units quickly warn following vehicles. Showing that Audi’s knowledge of materials stretches beyond aluminum, one-third of the five-door A1 Sportback consists of high strength steel.
Structurally stable on a front-wheel drive train (there is no mention of quattro all-wheel drive), the Audi A1 Sportback invokes a strong sense of control with an electronic stability program, strong brakes featuring front ventilation and an electronic limited slip differential. In different trim levels, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback sports a trendy assortment of wheels. 2012 Audi A1 Sportback models trimmed in the Attraction version wears rather basic 15-inch steel wheels. The Ambition trim model of the A1 Sportback upgrades the outer look with 16-inch alloys with optional 17-inch cast aluminum and quattro GmbH sourced 18-inch wheels perfecting appearances. An additional outside styling touch is a two-tone colouring scheme on the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback accenting the roof against the list of 12 exterior colours.
With the cabin opened by the two new passenger doors, occupants inside the Audi A1 Sportback partake in a delightfully spacious interior surrounding. Up to 32.49 cubic feet of cargo room is created in the Audi A1 cabin when the rear seats are folded. Helping to create a comfortable environment for adult passengers, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback comes standard equipped as a four-seat vehicle. Optional features provided on the 2012 A1 Sportback includes five-passenger seating, 14-speaker Bose surround sound system, Audi MMI navigation plus with a 6.5-inch screen and the Internet equipment as well as software that can turn the vehicle into a WLAN hotspot.
In touch with the European tastes for diesel power and small gasoline engines, the 2012 Audi A1 Sportback is propelled by a selection of six power plants. Thee gasoline and three Audi TDI engine choices all configured with four cylinder banks, entry-level power comes from a 1.2 TFSI powerplant producing 86 horsepower. Top gasoline power for the 2012 Audi A1 is realized with a supercharged and turbocharged 185 horsepower, 1.4 liter inline-4 that allows the premium subcompact to run from 0 to 62 miles per hour in a stout 7 seconds flat. The performance-leading diesel for the 2012 A1 Sportback is a 2.0 TDI that combines 143 horsepower with average fuel economy said to be over 57 miles per gallon. Five-speed and six-speed manual transmissions and a 7-speed twin-clutch S tronic gearbox are available through the Audi A1 Sportback’s engine line-up.
While the potentially lower rates of van insurance could tempt for more financially strapped families, the more energetic presence of smaller utility cars is a solid way to retain a zest for life. Soon to be a realization of automotive customers in Munich in 2012, motorists in American cities are not expected to see the A1 Sportback for the immediate future. However, Audi has a history of being receptive to North American interests in European-only vehicles. Just like the TTRS and the RS5, the Audi A1 Sportback could only be a matter of a petition away.
Information and photo source: Audi AG
Audi gets another podium finish this year at Le Mans, but this time it’s third place. Not bad, but I think they were expecting the R15 to do better than it did. Of course there are always growing pains with a brand new piece of machinery like the R15.
All of the Audi drivers were complaining that the R15 was understeering excessively due to the high temperatures. They added a new front bodywork section with a different aerodynamic configuration on Saturday, which helped, according to Tom Kristensen – “Our car was very good after the changes.” Another problem occurred with the intercoolers in the sidepods of the R15s. They became so dirty, that they constantly needed to be cleaned, and as a result of the increasing temperatures, power needed to be occasionally reduced.
Additionally, two of the three R15s were taken out of the race early because of accidents. German driver Lucas Luhr lost control of the car during the high speed “Porsche Curves” and slammed backwards into the barriers, and the R15 was severely damaged. The other R15 TDI was taken out because of a faulty high-pressure injection pump, which is normally very reliable, and as a result, is barely accessible to change.
With the third car being the only running R15, the drivers kept up with the two leading Peugeots, only to have the rear suspension go out, losing them four laps. In the end, the R15 TDI and its drivers did very well finishing 3rd place, but there is no doubt that Audi Sport Team Joest is a bit disappointed with the results. Of course they learned a lot with this race, and will surely make the necessary changes to the R15 TDI to do better next year, and hopefully bring back first place, which they’ve won eight times before.
Audi has chosen the three driver teams that will race the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June. They will be driving the excellent and proven R15 TDI, which is just…great.
The team driving car 1 will be Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) pictured above, which is the same team that won the 12-hour race at Sebring.
Car 2 will be driven by Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner (pictured above,) all Germans, who also already ran at Sebring.
Finally, Car 3 will be driven by the German Timo Bernhard and the two French Romain Dumas and Alexandre Prémat, pictured above.
Timo and Romain are both new to the team, and have thoroughly familiarized themselves with the R15 TDI, which has undergone some changes since Sebring. Due to regulations, Audi had to increase the weight of the R15 TDI by 66 lbs, and added an aerodynamics package which better suits the high speed Le Mans track.
Individual driver pictures are below.
For Audi Sport Team Joest, the 77th edition of the endurance classic will start at 2:30 pm on Monday, June 8, with scrutineering in downtown Le Mans. On Wednesday night, a 6-hour free practice session is on the agenda. Qualifying will be held on Thursday night from 7 pm to 9 pm and 10 pm to 12 pm, the race will start at 3 pm on Saturday.
If Audi wins this year, it will be their ninth overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, tying Ferrari as best contenders. Good luck Audi!
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.
Audi (and parent company VW) are launching their initiative to get diesel into the American mainstream again. With hybrid-level efficiency and plenty of power on tap, we Americans need to start learning from the Europeans and looking at getting a diesel-powered car on our next purchase.
So here we have a large Audi SUV that runs on a 225 horsepower 3.0-liter TDI V6 which pushes out an exceptional 406 lbft of torque available at a mere 1750 RPMs – a direct side effect from diesel-powered engines. The Q7 TDI will get a 6-speed Tiptronic transmission paired to a quattro AWD drivetrain.
For those who don’t know, TDI stands for “Turbocharged Direct Injection,” which is simply VW’s term for their modern turbocharged diesel engines. The benefits of driving a diesel are many, but it hasn’t really caught on in the States yet, but with our recent gas price spike, people might start thinking more about the future and buy diesel. The problem is that currently, diesel fuel is more expensive than standard petrol, which cancels out the advantage of better fuel efficiency.
But now, diesel prices are falling again (although very slowly,) and hopefully people will start seeing the upsides again. Modern diesel engines are significantly better than the black smoke-spitting engines of yore. Not only do they provide better fuel economy, but it burns cleaner and emits fewer emissions, and provides exceptional power and torque compared to their gasoline-burning siblings.
Here’s one man looking forward to seeing many “TDI” badges roaming our streets.
More pictures of the Audi Q7 TDI below: