A few years ago consumers were unable to buy new diesel powered vehicles in California due to the strictest emission controls in the US. So in a bit of a surprise, Audi chose to take the wraps off four new diesel powered vehicles for the 2014 model year. For the 2012 model year Audi only had 2 diesel models available, the A3 five door and Q7 SUV. Since 2009 these 2 models have accounted for a savings of about 240,000 barrels of foreign oil.
Audi will begin selling diesel versions of A6, A7 and A8 sedans and Q5 SUV throughout 2013. All four vehicles, in addition to the current Q7 TDI, will get a new generation 3.0L V6 turbocharged diesel engine. Although displacement remains the same, the engine is actually anew design with a block that weighs 40 pounds less than the earlier model. Power output has been boosted to 240 horsepower while torque remains the same (406 pound feet). The new engines will be mated to an eight speed automatic transmission.
The new diesel powered A8 yields 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 6.53 L/100 kms on the highway for a combined fuel economy figure of 8.4 L/100 kms. Zero to 100 kilometres takes 6.4 seconds, impressive considering the weight of the vehicle.
The arrival of these TDI alternatives was made possible after the European Union raised emission standards closer to those of the US and Canada, which are still more stringent. Cars can now be produced to one standard and marketed globally. An Audi representative at the show indicated the engines sold on either side of the Atlantic are identical. Engine management systems and the catalytic convertors used are tailored to meet the differences in various markets. The new diesel engines produce less hydrocarbons and Nitrogen oxides than the previous designs. The health risk associated with the higher particulate and Nitrogen Oxides in earlier diesel engines was one of the driving forces behind California adopting the most aggressive standards in the world and many US states matching their guidelines instead of the more lax Federal standards.
The A8 TDI will go on sale first in early 2013. The A7, A7 and Q5 will appear in dealer showrooms in the Fall of 2013. There was no firm date given for availability of the new engine in the Q7 but assume it will match the A8 deliveries. Pricing has yet to be confirmed for any of the models.