While Japanese automakers have the hybrid lead, the front-runners in diesel are companies of German descent. Mercedes is bringing home the bacon with BLUETEC, BMW is slapping twin turbochargers onto a 3.0-liter diesel, and Volkswagen will implement BlueMotion into five different VWs. Audi intends to join the oil-burning club here in the States with the introduction of the 3.0 TDI, which is good for 240 HP and 406 lb.-ft. of torque. With all that twist, tires should scream from rubber-stripping takeoffs, but even aggressive driving won't translate at the pump as bad as their gasoline counterparts. Audi expects a 35-percent fuel economy bump vs. similar gasoline powerplants.

The 3.0 TDI has an ultra-low emission system in the exhaust tract, which kills NOX gas by means of a carbonic acid diamide solution, helping the diesel to meet the LEV II Bin 5 classification. That means each of the 50 states will accept the 3.0 TDI as a salable vehicle. It's hard not to get excited about an engine that takes off like it's shot out of a canon and also gets up to 40 MPG on the highway. Expect the new Audi diesel to arrive first in the Q7, and later in the A4.

Audi's press release is after the jump.

[Source: Audi]


PRESS RELEASE

Audi launches TDI initiative in the USA

* Cleanest diesel engine in the world to go into production in 2008
* TDI engines achieve a major reduction in fuel consumption
* New drive technologies for even greater efficiency

Audi is launching its TDI initiative on the North American market. As early as next year, Audi will be putting the cleanest diesel engine in the world into production in the USA virtually in parallel to its launch in Europe: the 3.0 TDI with ultra-low emission system will initially be available for the Audi Q7, and later for the new Audi A4 too. Audi has been expanding steadily in the USA for many years now, and sees the market as holding high potential for its cutting-edge TDI engines. The low-sulphur fuel required for the engines' operation was introduced throughout the country a year ago, paving the way for the initiative to begin.

The TDI engine is the most successful efficiency technology in existence; Audi first introduced it into series production 18 years ago and has been progressively extending its lead over rival technologies ever since. "The TDI units burn up to 35 percent less fuel than the average of petrol engines typically used in the USA. This means that the TDI can assume an important role in the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions," comments Ralph Weyler, Board Member for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG. At the "German TecDay", an information event organised jointly by Volkswagen, Bosch and the Association of the German Automotive Industry in San Francisco, California, Weyler emphasised: "No other drive system can beat the TDI's combination of high power and low fuel consumption."

According to calculations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States could save 1.4 million barrels of crude oil every day if just one third of all passenger cars and light-duty commercial vehicles were equipped with up-to-date diesel engines.

Leading market research firms such as J. D. Power predict that diesel engines will have a 12 to 15 percent share of the US market in 2015, which represents a substantial jump compared to the current share of sales of around four percent.

The new Audi 3.0 TDI with ultra-low emission system develops an output of 176 kW (240 bhp) and 550 Nm of torque, making it both powerful and efficient. New technologies optimise the combustion process in the V6: the common-rail injection system builds up 2000 bar of pressure, while sensors monitor the combustion chambers. One crucial innovation is the ultra-low emission system in the exhaust tract, which largely eliminates nitrogen oxides by means of a carbonic acid diamide solution. With this system on board, the 3.0 TDI fulfils the toughest emission standard in the world – the LEV II Bin 5 classification, which is operative in the US states of California, New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. The high-tech diesel from Audi also already complies with the emissions limits that are due to come into force in Europe from 2014.

Audi is tackling the issue of efficiency with all its resources – with new technologies, new engines and new drive concepts. A host of other forward-looking solutions are available besides the cleanest diesel engine in the world. These include the groundbreaking, ultra-efficient FSI engines with petrol direct injection, as well as technology modules for Intelligent Energy Management (IEM), such as a start/stop system and a micro-hybrid. In view of the fact that the fuels themselves have a key role to play in the reduction of CO2 emissions, Audi is also focusing its attention on the second generation of biofuels which use the entire plant rather than just its fruits.

Whatever new development it is working on, the brand with the four rings stays true to one clearly defined precept: Audi seeks to heighten the efficiency of all its new models, whilst at the same time further enhancing their sporty profile and the driving pleasure they offer.