Hybrid this, electric vehicle that, plenty of car enthusiasts still swear diesel – or bio-diesel, even – is the way to go for green-meets-performance vehicles. Building off the success their A3 and Q7 TDI diesels have achieved in the United States, Audi has confirmed they’ll be bringing more diesel models to our shores within the next two years or so. Audi President Johan de Nyssche said as much at press conference in Virginia last month.
U.S.-bound A6 and A8 sedans, along with the Q5 SUV, will all see 3.0 liter V6 Turbodiesel variants hit dealer showrooms in the next 24 to 30 months, according to de Nyscche. The three new TDI models will give Audi a full range of diesel offerings, complementing the giant Q7 SUV and mini five-door hatchback/wagon A3. The A3 TDI was named North American Green Car of the Year in 2010 and has been a hit with consumers across the land, particularly so up here in the eco-friendly (or is that eco-trendy?) San Francisco Bay Area, where I literally seem them all over the streets. Audi’s most popular model, the A4 sedan, won’t see a diesel version in the U.S. until model year 2014, when a 2.0L turbo four is said to be headed our way.
What’s interesting is that the A3 TDI has been as big a seller as it has in the States. Not that it’s about to challenge the Camrys and Civics of our highways for sales supremacy, but it’s done pretty well considering it’s a luxury diesel hatchback – not exactly a perennial best-seller of a category in the land of Escalades and V8 sedans. Beyond that, the diesel A3 offers neither Quattro all-wheel drive nor a manual transmission, two popular options amongst gas-powered A3s. The 2011 A3 TDI also starts at $30,250, nearly $7k more than the Volkswagen Golf TDI, a very similar car from the same parent company. Perhaps the A3 attracts first-time luxury car buyers, some of whom are then drawn to the Green pedigree of the TDI drivetrain. Perhaps it’s the clean Euro styling and standard leather seats of the A3 that make it worth the extra bucks in buyers’ eyes. Or maybe it’s the simple fact that there aren’t many diesel options in U.S. showrooms right now, and the A3 is more upscale than its VW siblings but far less spendy than the other non-SUV Euro diesel option, the BMW 335d sedan. Bimmer’s diesel starts at around $45,000, or roughly half again as much as the Audi.
At any rate, I’ll be curious to see how an expanded fleet of Audis does in the U.S. Regular unleaded is currently at $4.09/gallon at my nearest Shell station, and while I fully understand I pay way more than most of you for my fuel up here in Northern California, there’s no doubt that non-gasoline vehicles are finally on the rise here in the States. To that end, Audi has also promised a range of hybrid vehicles, positing them as efficient city cars to complement the diesel-sippers better suited to open highway cruising.
Any of you own a diesel right now? Which one, and how do you like it?
[Via: Motor Trend]