• Mar 8, 2011
Audi's clean diesel initiative here in the United States started with the A3 TDI hatchback and Q7 TDI crossover, but in the coming years, we can expect the vast majority of the company's volume models to offer oil-burning powerplants. This isn't the first time the German automaker has spoke of expanding its diesel lineup here in the U.S., but during a press conference this morning, Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen outlined exactly what we can expect to see over the next 24 to 30 months.

The first new implementations of TDI clean diesel will be in the A6 and A8 sedans, as well as the Q5 crossover. All three of these models are expected to have hybrid variants, as well, meaning customers will have a full range of powertrain options in the coming years.

As for the A4 – Audi's highest-volume model – TDI power is still in the cards for U.S. consumption. Instead of offering a diesel engine in the current model, Audi will be waiting until the next-generation car arrives. The all-new A4 is expected to launch in 2015, or possibly even 2014.

Finally, de Nysschen stated that Audi's first electric vehicle is expected to arrive in the U.S. by early 2013. The automaker's e-tron EV technology has been displayed multiple times over the past few years, and while it's unclear exactly what sort of electric vehicle will arrive in the U.S., our bet is on something R8-based to rival BMW's new EfficientDynamics i8 sports car.


[Image: Drew Phillips/AOL]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dear Audi,

      Please remember to bring the TDI stateside with something for our left foot to do...

      Save the manuals!!

      Cheers!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have they said if they will be offering quattro with the TDI models? I'd love to have an Audi A3 TDI, but I'm not going to but one unless they offer an all wheel drive version. There just seems something very wrong with buying a front wheel drive Audi.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Agreed! An A3 TDI quattro is pretty much the perfect vehicle for me. I'd put very serious consideration into buying one if we could get them here. That's definitely a serious hole in their lineup that needs a plug. We don't all want SUV's if we wish to have a diesel with awd.

        I'd even take a Golf TDI 4motion if we could get them here too, but that's even less likely.
        Prosecamen
        • 9 Months Ago
        Satanic car companies will burn in hell for their love of greed.
      • 3 Years Ago

      I'd love a TDI with quattro, something that has been seriously lacking in their US lineup.

      But this will be too little, too late for me to wait for my next vehicle :(
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'll take a diesel over a hybrid any day.

      O and Hube, second is the best, and there is still debate about the third.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Quote from sloturbo: - "The premium cost ($3,000 to $5000 over their gas counterpart) and the cost of diesel ($.30 - $.50 cents more per gallon in CA over reg gas)" -

        Which passenger car or SUV is $3-5k more than its gas counterpart? Don't forget to look at how the vehicle is equipped. In reality, the difference is much closer to $2k and even less in a number of cases(note the M-B diesels).

        Secondly, a difference of $0.30-0.50 per gallon equates to 10-12% and the increased mileage of a diesel is often much more than that which completely erases the cost difference per gallon.

        For the record, the national average for Regular Unleaded is $3.52/gal and for Diesel is $3.87/gal. That's a difference of $0.351/gal which equates to almost exactly 10%. Prices as of 3/7/2011 taken from the EIA segment of the Dept. of Energy.
        That same report shows the price difference in CA as $0.248/gal ($4.122 vs $3.874 per gallon), which equals an even more advantageous 6.4% difference in price.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ Steve2112:
        OK, so a couple of vehicles are on the low end of what sloturbo claimed, fine I concede that and blame myself for going off of memory rather than the actual prices. He said $3-5K when most are $2-3K, seems a bit of an exagerration and that's what I was calling him on. For instance, not one is near $5k or even much over $4k. I also noticed that you left out M-B vehicles. For the record, the diesel option adds $1500 to any of the models for which you can opt for the diesel.

        Case in point,
        ML350 with 4Matic starts at $48,990(4Matic is a $2,500 option which is standard on the BlueTec).
        ML350 BlueTec starts at $50,490
        Difference is $1,500

        For the GL-Class, there is no 6cyl version to compare to (in the US) so the BlueTec ends up being the cheapest version of the GL we can buy here by $1,000 compared to the GL450. Both have 4Matic standard.
        For the R-Class, the price difference is $1,500 exactly because both version come with 4Matic standard.
        For the E-Class, the price difference is also exactly $1,500 because BlueTec does not require 4Matic as it does on the ML.

        So, on to the price of the fuel. Yes, diesel is 10-15% more costly than Regular Unleaded. But, again, that only matters if you are bad at math. The increased efficiency of a diesel outweighs the higher cost per gallon for the fuel. Let's look at a few comparisons. In this case, let's look only at the combined mileage figures because that's more accurate to the average driver and it's what the EPA uses to calculate the yearly fuel costs as well, which they base on 15k miles driven per year(at a 55/45 city/hwy split).

        Jetta SE(2.5L auto) - 27mpg
        Jetta TDI(2.0L auto) - 34mpg
        34-27 = 7, 7/27 = 25.9% increase in mileage
        EPA lists the yearly fuel cost for the Jetta SE at $1,954 and $1,707 for the TDI. That's a savings of $247/yr.

        For the M-B vehicles, the differences are stark enough that you make up the difference in price in only a few years due to the larger savings in fuel cost. Though admittedly some of that difference comes from the fact that the M-B cars will require pricier Premium fuel.

        ML350 4Matic - 17mpg
        ML350 BlueTec - 21mpg
        21-17 = 4, 4/17 = 23.5% increase in mileage
        The EPA claims a yearly fuel cost of $3,316 for the gas ML and $2,763 for the diesel.
        3316-2763 = $553 saved per year in fuel. The difference in price is $1,500 meaning you break even after less than 3yrs.

        So, how does this compare to buying a hybrid car over a gas version of the same car. This means that stand-alone hybrids like the Prius, HS250 and CR-Z are exempt since there's no gas-only version for us to comapre to.

        How about the Camry and Camry Hybrid?
        I'll be honest, Toyota's aren't my strong point and I can't seem to find out which trim level the Camry Hybrid is comparable to which is why I am comparing it to both the LE and Base. Looking at the Toyota website, it seems that all 3 are equipped similarly but the LE and Hybrid offer options packages that can't be had on the base trim level. This obviously doesn't explain the price differences fully, but the site isn't all that helpful in that regard during my late night research.

        The Camry Hybrid has a base price of $27,435 compared to $21,630 for the base Camry(auto) and $23,085 for the Camry LE(auto). I doubt the Hybrid is equipped like an SE or XLE and the info I've found agrees with that. So, on the low end, that's a difference of $4,350, or more than you'd pay for the option of a diesel in any US-Spec car or SUV.

        So, how does a hybrid compare on the yearly fuel cost then?
        Using fueleconomy.gov, they show a yearly cost for a 2.5L, auto Camry to be $2,033. For the Camry Hybrid, they show a cost of $1,600.
        2,033-1,600 = 433/yr in fuel cost savings. That means you will be driving the Camry Hybrid for 10yrs or so before the fuel savings add up to the difference in price you paid for the car. Yes, that's a better paypack timeframe than the Jetta will give you, but 10yrs is still a very long time to wait to recover your initial cost. Heck, most people won't own the car for nearly that long. It should also be noted that the Jetta is an outlier, along with the Golf TDI, other diesel options are more cost-effective.

        In other words, opting for a diesel is about as cost-effective as buying a Hybrid. That is to say, neither is exactly a great economical choice but somehow hybrids are seen as an economical choice while diesels are not despite a similar cost structure including long payback timeframes.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @montoym

        The Jetta TDI is priced $4k above the Jetta SE ($22995 vs $18195). Except for the transmission (6 speed in TDI vs. 5 in the SE), they are the same, as VW's site describes the TDI has "Jetta SE trim". The Golf TDI also is also around $4k, starting at $23885 vs $19755. The Touareg TDI is about $3k more expensive than the V6 model ($47950 vs $44450). The BMW 335d is around $2k more expensive than the 335i ($44150 vs. 42050). The Audi A3 Premium TDI is around $3k more than the 2.0T ($30250 vs. $27270). All prices are taken directly from the manufacturer's web sites.

        Look, I like the idea of diesel. I love monster torque and the improved mileage. The extra cost is a factor. Around where I live, diesel is going for around 10-15% above gas. That, combined with the extra up-front cost, is a big turn off. Yes, I know they last a really long time. Really, though, that isn't a factor. I drove my first Mazda Protege until it hit 180k miles. My current car has 90k. Both required very little maintenance on the drivetrain. The Golf TDI is rated at 30/42 while similar cars such as the Elantra and Focus are also getting 40MPG highway. Am I really doing any better with the diesel?
        • 3 Years Ago
        The premium cost ($3,000 to $5000 over their gas counterpart) and the cost of diesel ($.30 - $.50 cents more per gallon in CA over reg gas) have to come down before the US market will embrace them.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Clarkson owns a diesel Range Rover, if I'm not mistaken. If he doesn't own one now, he definitely has owned it in the past.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Turbo Diesel please!!!
      saverre1375
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sounds like a bunch of double talk from Audi, just to keep interest in its vehicles. It seems the Germans want to keep all the advanced diesel engine technology in europe. We here in the USA are not even thought about. I guess we wil have to wait for the Japanese, and then the Germans wil come to the USA. Always second, doesn't it get old. The USA is a great Car Country and they ignore it!
        Prosecamen
        • 9 Months Ago
        @saverre1375
        I hope God drops a meteor on top of every car company in the world. They can all burn in hell with their love for money.
      • 3 Years Ago
      In terms of a less complex powertrain that delivers needed mpg, DIESEL.Not sure what is going to happen when the hybrids need a rebuild...5k used car with a potential 10k rebuild...hmmmmm
      BTW, I hope being third isnt a turd...yuk yuk
      • 3 Years Ago
      How can they call it "clean", when there is no single SULEV diesel model?

      If diesels are "clean", then hybrids must be super-duper-ultra clean..
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes and they are. But, a hybrid being very clean doesn't mean that a diesel isn't. It's just a matter of degree. Just like a Billionaire is certainly rich, but does that mean a multi-millionaire isn't?

        It is a clean diesel, as in, cleaner than an older diesel. As in a clean coal is cleaner than a standard coal plant. It's not necessarily a comparison to all vehicles as a whole. But, you'd be surprised.

        Beyond that though, the current standards are strict enough that a current diesel would have been considered one of the cleanest vehicles on the road under the previous standards, gas or diesel. That was for standards that were in effect not terribly long ago, 2001-2006. The current standards are that much more strict compared to the strictest of the old standards.

        Let's compare some figures from the LEV I standards(the previous CARB standards which were tougher than existing EPA standards of the time) to the current Tier II Federal standards. Tier 2 figures are for Tier 2 Bin 5(T2B5) which any 50-state legal diesel has to meet and the LEV I standards are for ULEV I which was the toughest LEV I standard under the previous CARB ratings.

        T2B5 - all figures in g/mi
        NOx - 0.07
        NMOG - 0.090
        CO - 4.2
        PM - 0.01
        HCHO - 0.018

        ULEV I - all figures in g/mi
        NOx - 0.30
        NMOG - 0.055
        CO - 2.1
        PM - N/A
        HCHO - 0.011

        As you can see, the new average standards aren't actually terribly far off from what was considered an extremely clean car just a few years prior. NOx in fact is much lower on the Tier 2 standards. Prior to Tier 2, diesels had to meet seperate standards, now they have to meet the same standards as gas vehicles.

        Now, let's look at what the current VW Jetta TDI actually scores on the EPA test.
        Figures taken from http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-hybrid-news/49909-2009-vw-jetta-tdi-emissions-results-in.html
        All figures again given in g/mi.

        NOx - 0.05
        NMOG - 0.012
        CO - 0.4
        PM - 0.000
        HCHO - not provided

        The VW diesel passes the previous, most-strict test with flying colors. Yes, I know it's a comparison to an outdated test, but, that also shows how far diesels have come in just a few short years. They were quite dirty in years past, but they have cleaned up dramatically in recent years. Most of that gain is from the switch to ULSD a few years back as well.

        In fact, the Jetta TDI misses dropping a Bin or two due primarily to the NOx figures. The rest of the figures are low enough to score it as a T2B2 or T2B3 car depending on whether they could tweak the NMOG down a couple of thousandths of a g/mi as well. T2B2 requires 0.010g/mi for NMOG while the Jetta emits 0.012g/mi. The NOx and slightly high NMOG are also the only measurements keeping the VW TDI from being an SULEV or PZEV as well. The CO and PM figures are well below the required limits. SULEV II/PZEV and T2B2 all have nearly identical limits except for CO which SULEV II and PZEV limit to 1.0g/mi while T2B2 allows 2.1g/mi.

        Just some facts and figures to add to the conversation.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This sounds like music to my ears. But why does it have to take SO long? Haven't they been working on this for a while? Despite the time left waiting, I would much rather have a diesel option over hybrid...can't wait to see the Q5 TDI with Quattro =)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am an Audi fan and former owner but AoA makes me yawn. They've canceled all Avants in the US for SUV's... no thanks. The badge whores love the SUV's (see Audi, Porsche sales) but that doesn't mean I need to be impressed by them. Would still way rather have the allroad (4.2 TDI!!!) than a Q. Then they take forever to bring any diesels to the U.S... 2014-2015 before the A4 arrives? That is so far from now, why even bother announcing it. Unfortunately Audi is now a follower, not a leader.

      Audi would be a serious contender for my vehicle dollars if some of the euro models were available here, but they are not. Yes I am bitter :) Seriously loved my C5 A6 Avant and I very much miss it. Seems I will be shopping the Golf R vs a used Audi Avant vs a used M-B when our current VW gets replaced later this year.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Completely agree, as a enthusiast it is disheartening to see this ridiculous wait for a TDI engine in a practical car.
        AoA you are really missing the opportunity to capture this market, hello $4 gas right now !!!

        We need to see the A4 with a TDI engine for a daily driver, we will be happy with the 2.0TDI 4 cylinder, give us manual transmission and Quattro.

        Such a shame to see how our choices for Avants have diminished and same goes for manual transmissions.
        Q5 Q7 ( &Q3 ?) all getting priority and Hybrids, uggg...

        Also no mention of the A4 Allroad for the US market, why not just offer us this spec with a TDI engine in it...

        The A3 diesel is a success, even if it was hampered with FWD and only DSG transmission, and obviously the Golf/Jetta/Jetta Sportwagon show how popular this can become.

        As someone who grew up in Europe with diesel engines, and as someone who went to LeMans races watching and supporting the silent beauty of the TDI racers, it is sad to see that us potential customers are not being given an opportunity to buy a practical Audi with a Diesel engine...
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