Audi is aiming to clean up diesel’s image with the introduction of its second generation TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) technology. It includes a 3.0 liter V6 engine with 240 HP and 428 lb-ft of torque.
There were design changes throughout the engine to improve its efficiency including a significant weight reduction. Changes include swapping out aluminum for magnesium and a new 2-chain drive instead of the old 4-chain. Overall, they’ve gotten the weight down by 55 pounds.
There are five different Audi TDI models; the A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7, which average from 28 to 38 mpg. Diesel fuel is not only more powerful than gas, but it emits 10 to 30 percent fewer greenhouses gases. You’d think this would have people flocking to diesel vehicles, but there’s a stigma to diesel that needs to be overcome.
When you say diesel, most people immediately think dirty, stinky and smoky, but that simply is no longer the case. They’re as quiet as their gas cousins and long gone are the clouds of blue-gray smoke left in their wakes.
We put the A6, A7 and Q5 through their paces in the recent 2014 Audi TDI Efficiency Rally held in Washington, DC and the results of the drive lived up to the expectations set by Audi. The drive took us through Virginia and Maryland, along highways, scenic byways, and through lots of twists and turns.
The only way you’d have known we were driving diesels was the TDI Clean Diesel graphic on the sides of all our pristine white Audis. They were quiet, smooth and comfortable to drive, and to ride in as a passenger.
When it came time to tally our results, even with one set of drivers aiming to drive as hard as possible and get the worst mileage (raises hand) the average for the group was 38.1 miles per gallon.
Diesels have long been the dirty, unwashed cousins of traditional gas vehicles, but fuel and vehicle improvements have combined to make them an efficient, environmentally friendly option that are worth taking for a drive yourself.
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.