• Sep 14th 2008 at 6:01PM
  • 17
Click for a high res gallery of the mileage marathon vehicles

It's been a few years since Audi sold diesel-powered cars in the U.S., but that's about to change. After three years of showing what diesel is capable of at Le Mans and in the ALMS, Audi will introduce a diesel-powered Q7 TDI sometime in early 2009. Before that happens, Audi wants to show America what kind of mileage its diesel lineup gets in the real world. To do so, the German automaker has assembled a fleet of 23 vehicles including the coming Q7, the Q5, A4 and A3. Currently the Q7 is the only Audi diesel announced for the U.S. although the company has acknowledged that it's considering other models. A motley collection (aren't all groupings of journalists motley?) of 184 journalists and guests from around the world have been invited to drive the fleet across the continent from New York to Los Angeles in four legs with the goal of seeing who can get the best real world mileage. Among that collection will be several members of the Autoblog and AutoblogGreen teams, including yours truly. The Mileage Marathon kicks off on Oct. 6 in Manhattan and hits the city of angels two weeks later. We'll bring you live reports from the road as we wind across the country, so stay tuned.

[Source: Audi]

Press release

Ingolstadt, 2008-09-08

Audi Mileage Marathon

The world's cleanest diesel in its first endurance test

  • Audi launches diesel offensive in the US with major real-world driving tour
  • TDI with ultra low emission system to prove its supremacy
  • Dynamic driving performance with highly efficient fuel consumption

The TDI is the world's most successful efficiency technology. Now the latest Audi TDI is making its way to the US: Audi is introducing the world's cleanest diesel to the streets of America inside the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI with ultra low emission system. Once there, and prior to its market launch, it will prove its supremacy when it comes to driving fun and fuel efficiency in an endurance test – the Audi Mileage Marathon.

The Mileage Marathon covers more than 4,800 miles – that's over 7,700 kilometers – running from New York to Los Angeles through major cities and passing countless natural wonders. From October 5-20, 184 drivers from all over the world will do more than just get to know a lot of fascinating roads during a total of 13 daily stages – they'll also experience the confident sportiness and extraordinary efficiency of the TDI models from Audi.

The big real-world driving tour will be driven with 23 cars from four different model lines, all examples of Audi's characteristic combination of superior mobility and unbeatable efficiency. Along with the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI, the brand new Audi Q5 3.0 TDI will make its debut on the wide roads of the North American continent. The Audi A4, the sportiest sedan in its class, will also make its appearance with the superb 3.0 TDI engine.

The Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI – equipped with the innovative and particularly efficient S tronic transmission – will add yet another highlight to the Mileage Marathon's efficiency statistics.

Efficiency is key over the long haul

The route of the Audi Mileage Marathon leads across the American continent from New York to Los Angeles, passing major cities like Chicago, Dallas and Las Vegas during the 13 daily stages, as well as natural wonders including the Rocky Mountains, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon. The entire route totals more than 4,800 miles – over 7,700 kilometers – with a realistic mix of city driving and rural driving on highways and country roads. In this environment and under conditions that come close to everyday driving, the TDI will be able to clearly show off its superiority over every other efficiency technology.

Debut for the TDI with ultra low emission system

In the Audi Mileage Marathon, the TDI with ultra low emission system will be making its debut in a tough endurance test several months before the planned market launch in the US and in Europe in 2009. This exhaust emission control system reduces nitrogen oxides by up to 90 percent, making it compliant with California's LEV II BIN 5 – the world's most stringent emission standard. It also already exceeds the requirements of the Euro 6 standards that are targeted for 2014. The Audi Mileage Marathon will show that this doesn't reduce the engine's dynamism and outstanding fuel efficiency.

With the latest generation of TDI, Audi once again confirms its pioneering role in the world's most successful technology for fuel efficiency: when Audi started series production of the first TDI, the engine was clearly a major technical advancement. The TDI quickly became a synonym for superior propulsive power and top efficiency, and set the trend for the entire automotive industry. There is still no propulsion system that can beat the TDI when it comes to high performance and actual fuel consumption.

Major potential to reduce worldwide consumption levels

Since it features the lowest emissions, the TDI with ultra low emission system can be employed worldwide, even in California and all other US states that currently have the most stringent emission standards. Compared with the fleet average of the gasoline engines typically found in the US, the TDI achieves a fuel-efficiency advantage of up to 40 percent. This means that today's diesel technology that is designed for tomorrow can make a greater contribution than any other type of engine to reducing the consumption of fossil fuels.

Part of an integrated efficiency strategy

Perfecting the TDI is just one part of Audi's integrated technology strategy to further reduce CO2 and the emission of pollutants in all models. Audi meanwhile relies on the outstanding potential of its state-of-the-art combustion engines and on the components of its modular efficiency system: with direct injection and turbocharging, the TFSI gasoline engines and TDI diesel engines already provide convincing performance with comparatively low consumption, while their innovative technologies form a solid basis for further significant reductions of consumption in coming years.

AUDI AG sold a total of 964,151 cars in 2007 and thus achieved its twelfth consecutive record year. With revenue of €33,617 million and profit before tax of €2,915 million, the company attained its best figures ever. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). At the end of 2007, production of the Audi A6 started in Aurangabad, India. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Lamborghini S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 57,000 people worldwide, including 45,000 in Germany. The brand with the four rings invests more than € 2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015 to 40.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh.....great idea, let's parade cars in front of U.S. buyers that they can't buy! *sigh*
        • 6 Years Ago
        Q7 has been publicly confirmed, the A4 has been confirmed by Audi's people to those who tested the B8 at Infineon, the A5 is hoped to make the trip.

        I'll be looking out for this group as I'd love to grab a few minutes in the A5 TDI.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Perhaps, if we're lucky, they'll bring a comprehensive set of diesels over instead of just the ridiculous, repulsive Q7. I could go for an A4 Avant TDI.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wonder what the price tag is for these ECONOMY vehicles ???
        • 6 Years Ago
        Competitive with the other vehicles in their size/amenity/performance class that use more fuel. If you want a fancy mid-size sedan, your choices are A4, 3-series, Infiniti G, Lexus IS, Lexus ES (if you don't care whether the car's any fun), Cadillac CTS (bigger than the others, but priced similarly.) Mid 30s to upper 40s (if you go for the sportier optioned-out versions.) They're not necessarily economical to BUY, they're economical in their fuel consumption, but you probably knew that before asking your snarky question.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Economy? are you retarded? Cars like the A5 TDI hit sixty .2 seconds slower than the S5. People don't purchase cars like these to enjoy Jetta TDI levels of fuel economy, they buy them because they represent the clear bang for the buck in terms of performance and economy. That's why diesel occupies 70% of the luxury market in Europe. That's why most top spec diesel models are fractions slower than their performance brethren while returning almost double the mpg. It's a pity people are so tunnel visioned.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ha, I saw one of those in Monterey two weeks ago.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Q7 mileage marathon? My prediction: it won't make it very far.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These guys asked me for directions in Dallas, TX! No kidding!
      • 6 Years Ago
      A4 has been confirmed by Audi's people to those who tested the B8 at Infineon,they'll bring a comprehensive set of diesels over instead of just the ridiculous.
      Used Cars
      • 6 Years Ago
      Go environment! We'll celebrate it by driving four cars across the continent.
        • 6 Years Ago
        They'll be driving 23 vehicles across the continent.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Still think diesel is best stop gap power/fuel source until a truly viable fuel/power source is ready for the masses at a reasonable price...Hydrogen perhaps....
      Mercedes and VW seem to be our only choices at this point in time........Audi has cetainly proved diesel is a more than wothy competitor on the race track.....hopefully they can demonstrate diesel's worthiness to the American public and offer us more than the Q7......if I wanted to pay big bucks for a diesel , the MB E class would be a good choice... but for $55-60K...probably not.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Where in Manhattan will the kick off be? I'm in Midtown and would interested in seeing the group.
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