Tag Archives: TDI

2015 Audi A3 TDI Premium Plus

Audi’s sporty A3 TDI gives gas pumps the finger!

Not much for looks, but fun to drive, excellent fuel economy!
Not much for looks, but the A3 is fun to drive and offers excellent fuel economy!

            Boxy, compact and easy on fuel … yawn, that sounds like your typical econobox, but for one key trait, the Audi A3 handles like a sports sedan.

That’s what it is, an entry-level sports sedan somewhat along the lines of a small BMW, just not a BMW. Handling is excellent and as good as, or better than, any other small sports sedan in the $32 grand neighborhood, except a BMW.

Yet that’s OK, because it costs less and the red test model also had another big plus that a BMW won’t, a mostly entertaining clean diesel engine.

Mine was the TDI, which translates to a 2.0-liter turbo diesel that starts at $32,600, and adds an $895 delivery charge. But equipped, as this one was, with the Premium Plus package, you tack on $2,550. With a $2,600 Audi MMi navigation package the test car settled at $38,645.

Still, that’s reasonable for a sporty car that gets 31 mpg city and 43 mpg highway, according to the EPA. As impressive as that sounds, I managed an amazing 46.3 mpg in a round-trip jaunt to Indianapolis. In one nearly straight (hey, it was Indiana) highway stint I got 50 mpg on the button. The one-way diesel bill was $16 and change. When full the car boasts a 600-mile range.

Forget any thoughts of the diesel stinking or smoking more than Don Draper. Those days are gone. Continue reading 2015 Audi A3 TDI Premium Plus

2014 Audi Q5 TDI quattro

Audi Q5 blends luxury, utility with clean turbo diesel

Audi Q5/Standaufnahme Luxury sport-utility vehicles all pretty much look alike, and all are loaded with luxury and high-tech features, so it’s in the blending of all these features where excellence outs itself.

Even in high-end utes it has been uncommon for me to be fully comfortable with the size, the looks, the performance and the fuel consumption. Audi’s Q5 changed all that.

This was not your standard Q5 either. This was the TDI quattro model with 8-speed Tiptronic automatic that allows you to paddle shift your way through the gears, if you so choose. TDI stands for Turbo Direct Injection and the Glacier White Metallic ($500 extra) test ute wasn’t shy about its diesel power, slapping a bold TDI decal on the doors and the words, “Clean Diesel” under that.

First, Audi has done more for diesel in the last 10 years than any automaker, both in development and in publicity. Audi developed a turbo diesel for its prototype racers, even winning the noted 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race with a turbo-diesel powered racer.

So power and efficiency are built into the Q5’s 3.0-liter TDI V6. How much? This boasts 240 horsepower while delivering an EPA estimated 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Those look like reasonable estimates as I got 27.5 mpg in a week’s drive, about 60% being city miles. Continue reading 2014 Audi Q5 TDI quattro

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL

Passat’s diesel economical and we’re not blowing smoke!

Perception often matters as much as reality, especially in the retail world of which the auto business is a top dog.vw1

So the perception of a diesel engine being loud, smoky and not terribly pleasant to drive remains Volkswagen’s biggest obstacle when selling its pleasant mid-size front-drive Passat. This and the Chevrolet Cruze are the main turbo diesel cars available on our market today.

Their advantage is excellent fuel economy and reduced engine maintenance. That’s the case for both.

But VW has been offering its turbo diesels (TDI in VW parlance) for years, so you’d expect its version to perform better and feel more refined. It does not. My test earlier this year of the Cruze shows it to be quieter, run smoother and feel, well, more refined.

However, the tested champagne silver Passat TDI SEL, got excellent fuel mileage. Rated 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, I got a stellar 41.4 mpg in about a 50-50 mix of city and highway driving. The Cruze, while rated at 27 mpg city and 46 mpg highway netted me just 35 mpg in a drive tilted toward highway miles. Continue reading 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 50s Edition

Beetle drop-top reflects heritage of 1950s models

New vs. old, now tell me the new one doesn't do a terrific job of reflecting the old Beetle's personality!
New vs. old, now tell me the new one doesn’t do a terrific job of reflecting the old Beetle’s personality!

Simplicity is its own reward, but it’s often accompanied by modest cost and a style that stands out in today’s overwrought world.Such has always been the case with Volkswagen’s simply shaped Beetle.

Now comes a new Beetle convertible, replacing the 8-year-old New Beetle convertible. THIS new iteration actually is more in tune with the original, with a less rounded roofline that looks perfect. Yet overall the car has grown 6 inches longer and 3.3 inches wider than its predecessor.

Making this 2013 model all the more tantalizing, VW offers three special decade editions, including the tested 50s Edition bathed in black and featuring key chrome trim along with beige leather seats. This Beetle looks so ’50s-ish you may want to slick back your hair or put on a poodle skirt. This model also adds chrome exterior mirrors, a chrome strip along the car’s lower extremities to remind you of earlier models’ small running boards, and 17-inch chrome Heritage wheels that look much like the simple chrome wheel covers of the 1950s.

Not that old? Well, VW also offers a Denim Blue 60s Edition with two-tone interior, and Toffee Brown 70s Edition. They vary a bit on engine and other specs, but include small spoilers. Continue reading 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 50s Edition