As diesels continue to account for a minority of cars sold by Audi in the US, the German automaker and Volkswagen unit continues to expand its diesel models in Europe for the sake of fuel efficiency. Early this year, Audi will debut its new A4, A5 and A6 variants in Europe as part of what it calls its "ultra" strategy of pairing performance with fuel economy. Audi will have 11 new models for 2014, and the updated A4, A5 and A6 will use Audi's 2.0-liter turbodiesel powertrain. Versions of that engine will range from 136 to 190 horsepower, while torque will range from 236 to 295 pound-feet.

More importantly, the models will get anywhere from 51 to 60 miles per gallon, when tested on the more lenient European driving cycle. And while manual transmission will be standard (this is Europe, after all), the A6 will have a seven-speed automatic transmission option. Pricing will start at 32,600 euros ($44,000 US) for the base A4 and work its way up to 45,000 euros (about $61,000) for the top of the line A6.

Last year, Audi boosted its diesel sales in the US by 40 percent to just over 10,000 units, though that accounted for just a fraction of the approximately 158,000 cars the company sold domestically in 2013. Audi has a press release on the new models below.
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The new ultra models from Audi
A4, A5 and A6 with impressive efficiency

• New ultra models from Audi with 136 hp, 163 hp and 190 hp
• Greater efficiency with unchanged driving dynamics
• Emissions of just 104 to 119 grams of CO2 per kilometer (167.37 to 191.51 g/mile)

Audi A6 2.0 TDI ultra, Audi A5 2.0 TDI ultra, Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra

Audi is expanding its ultra strategy with 11 new models: Especially efficient engine versions in the A4, A5 and A6 model lines will be launched in early 2014. A new and powerful two-liter TDI will provide the drive at 100 kW (136 hp), 120 kW (163 hp) or 140 kW (190 hp); the engine emits just 104 to 119 grams of CO2 per kilometer (167.37 to 191.51 g/mile) depending on the model.

The "ultra" designation stands for sustainable mobility that is fully available for everyday use. With a combined fuel consumption rate of 3.9 to 4.6 liters per 100 kilometers (60.31 to 51.13 US mpg) and CO2 emissions of 104 to 119 grams per kilometer (167.37 to 191.51 g/mile), the new ultra models from Audi are among the most efficient cars of their segment – without any limitation on the driving dynamics or customary comfort.

Audi Board Member for Development, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg: "The latest TDI technology, ultra-efficient transmissions, advanced exhaust aftertreatment – customers will hardly see anything, but they'll notice the effects of powerful acceleration and, thanks to extremely low fuel consumption, when paying at the gas station. The Audi ultra models score points with big advantages for everyday operation – just what customers appreciate."

The A4, A5 and A6 families come with the 2.0 TDI. Newly developed in many areas, it affords exemplary efficiency and power. The high torque (320 or 400 Nm [236.02 or 295.02 lb-ft]) ensures sporty power generation even at low engine speeds, along with low fuel consumption.

Audi Head of Powertrain Development, Dr. Stefan Knirsch: "An innovative, highly efficient SCR system removes nitrogen oxides from the exhaust. This measure means that the new ultra models will of course meet the future Euro 6 emission standards while achieving lower fuel consumption."

Standard on the ultra models is a manual transmission that makes the gear ratio somewhat taller in the upper gears. Optional on the A6 is an innovative seven-speed S tronic that further reduces the average consumption rate to 4.4 liters per 100 kilometers (53.46 US mpg) with 4.6 liters on the Avant (51.13 US mpg). This corresponds to a CO2 emission of only 114 grams per kilometer (183.47 g/mile) and 119 grams (191.51 g/mile) for the Avant. This completely redesigned dual-clutch transmission launches a new generation, distinguished by high efficiency as well as by especially fast and comfortable gear changing. The innovations include minimized internal friction, highly efficient oil supply and a centrifugal pendulum-type absorber that counteracts undesirable vibrations and allows low-noise driving at very low engine speeds. A harmonious gradation of the gears in interplay with the wide spread provides comfortable driving. The seven-speed S tronic as well as the six-speed manual transmission conducts the power to the front wheels.

The standard start-stop system and the driver information system with efficiency program make an important contribution to the economy of the new ultra models from Audi. On the A4 and A4 Avant, modifications of details in the aerodynamics and a lowered body also optimize the fuel consumption.

This combination of efficiency measures yields trend-setting consumption and emission figures: from only 3.9 l/100 km (104 g/km) [60.31 US mpg / 167.37 g/mile] for the A4 Sedan (100 kW), 4.2 l/100 km (109 g/km) [56.00 US mpg / 175.42 g/mile] for the A4 Avant (100 kW) and A5 Coupé (120 kW) and 4.3 l/100 km (111 g/km) [54.70 US mpg / 178.64 g/mile] for the A5 Sportback (120 kW). The A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI ultra with 100 kW of power will follow a bit later. With no restrictions on equipment, the A6 2.0 TDI ultra achieves the especially low CO2 emission level of 114 g/km (183.47 g/mile) with 117 g/km (188.29 g/mile) with manual transmission. Per 100 kilometers it consumes on average 4.4 liters of fuel (53.46 US mpg) and 4.5 liters (52.27 US mpg) with manual transmission. Its Avant sister model manages with 4.6 l/100 km (51.13 US mpg) with 119 g/km (191.51 g/mile), irrespective of the transmission.

The new ultra models will go on sale successively from the first quarter of 2014. The 100 kW version of the A4 starts at €32,600, the A4 Avant at €34,250. With a 120 kW engine, prices for the A4 begin at €34,700, for the A4 Avant at €36,350. The A5 Sportback is available for €37,350 and the A5 Coupé for €38,150. The A6 is priced at €39,900, the A6 Avant at €42,250; the prices for both model versions with S tronic is €2,250 more.

The ultra range from Audi also includes the A3 1.6 TDI ultra, that had its debut as the first ultra model in fall 2013. It consumes on average just 3.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (85 grams of CO2 per kilometer) [73.50 US mpg / 136.79 g/mile]. All ultra models are visually identifiable by the discreet lettering at the rear.

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