2015 Audi A7 TDI ・ Photo by Audi Media Services
Back in 2010, federal regulations mandated the sale of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel in the United States for use as a highway fuel. ULSD is a cleaner-burning diesel fuel containing 97 percent less sulfur than the previously mandated low-sulfur diesel (LSD).
ULSD fuel enables the use of cleaner technology diesel engines along with the employment of advanced emissions control devices, resulting in significantly improved air quality. Running on this fuel, this list of 2014 diesel cars represents the cleanest burning diesel passenger car fleet ever offered in this country. In fact, many of them run cleaner than gasoline fueled automobiles.
Diesel engines are also both more powerful and fuel-efficient than similar-sized gasoline engines. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, they are typically 30 to 35 percent more fuel-efficient. They also generate more low-end torque, which gives their host automobile improved acceleration off the line. Compared to the diesel engines of the past, these contemporary designs, along with their new noise- and vibration-damping technologies, have made diesel engines both quieter and smoother. Cold-weather starting has been improved also.
Europeans have known and embraced this for quite some time. Paying between six and ten dollars MORE per gallon than we do, fuel-efficiency has been an issue over there for a very long time. For this reason, you’ll find every vehicle on this list of 2014 diesel cars—save one—hails from European manufacturers.
BTW, the 2014 model year ushers in the broadest array of diesel-powered automobiles ever offered in the USA.
For 2014, Audi is introducing an all-new version of its smallest U.S. offering, and in sedan form only. Previous Audi A3 models were hatchbacks. What we know of the new model is a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine producing 236 ft-lbs of torque will power the diesel version. In comparison, its gasoline counterpart only generates 184 ft-lbs of torque.
Fuel economy numbers have yet to be released for the diesel powerplant. However, the outgoing 2013 model returned 30 miles per gallon in the city, 42 on the highway, and 30 combined. Audi’s six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission will be offered as standard equipment.
In addition to its superior fuel economy, the 2015 Audi A3 TDI looks just like its larger siblings in the Audi family. In fact, it can be difficult to tell Audi’s models apart now. Because of this, with the Audi A3 TDI you get the benefits of a smaller, more fuel efficient package, while sacrificing none of the prestige of the larger Audi models.
Further, as the entry level Audi model, you also get a well-crafted interior renowned for both exceptional design and exacting fit and finish. It’s the best of all worlds—all of the luxury and style of one of the automotive marketplace’s most desirable models, coupled with the fuel economy of a more prosaic bargain-oriented brand focused purely on fuel economy.
What’s more, pretty much the full depth and breadth of Audi’s options list can be applied to the A3. If you’d like, your A3 can rock Audi’s Bang & Olufsen audio system, WiFi, and LED lighting. Cargo capacity, at 15 cubic feet, is adequate for a car of its size. Additionally, the rear seats fold to increase this function. Firm pricing has yet to be set, although the 2013 model started at $31,145. Price increases are typically held to a minimum year over year, so we expect the 2015 model to be priced similarly.
One of the entries in the luxury “four-door coupe” category, the Audi A7 takes all of the goodness of the Audi A6 and wraps it in a more seductively styled shell. As a result, everything we said about the A6 applies equally to the A7, with a single caveat; the A7 uses a power rear liftgate, which functions like a hatchback. OK, it IS a hatchback, but somehow it feels demeaning to apply that term to a car this sweet.
The Audi A7 TDI’s standard features list includes a set of nineteen-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights, the power rear liftgate, and front and rear parking sensor arrays. All three rearview mirrors offer an auto-dimming function. The A7 TDI also features keyless entry and start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a tri-zone automatic climate control system, and leather upholstery for the heated eight-way power adjustable seats.
You’ll also find voice-activated navigation, a rearview camera system, and a ten-speaker audio system supporting HD radio, a CD player, satellite radio, and an iPod interface. Audi’s enhanced MMI controller is also included, alongside Bluetooth audio and telephony and Audi Connect, which is comprised of an enhanced Web-based navigation solution, information acquisition, and WiFi.
Powering the mid-sized Audi sedan is a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel-fueled V6 capable of generating 240 horsepower and 428 ft-lbs of torque. According to Audi’s generally conservative estimates, with this engine, the all-wheel drive A6 will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. An eight-speed automatic transmission is employed.
According to the EPA, fuel economy with the A7 Audi’s TDI engine is rated at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 38 on the highway, and 30 combined. Pricing starts at $67,795.
Looking for even more exclusivity in an already exclusive product category? Look no farther. Acquiring a copy of Audi’s A8, perennially lagging behind the BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz flagships in terms of sales as it does, will mean you won’t see yourself coming and going everyday as you would with a 7 Series, S Class, or an LS sedan.
And yet, the Audi A8 is commensurate to the others in every measure. In fact, it could well be said to be a dynamic blending of the best elements of each of those other three cars—and with way better fuel economy if you go with the A8 L TDI.
Standard features include a set of nineteen-inch wheels, smart xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a sunroof, an adaptive air suspension system, a dual-zone automatic climate control system and auto-dimming and power-folding exterior rearview mirrors. You’ll also find a set of heated twelve-way adjustable front seats with driver memory, and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel column.
Adding a rich look to the interior are both aluminum and wood interior trim, while a power rear sunshade helps maintain its cool. The big Audi is also fitted with a power-operated trunk lid, soft-closing doors, keyless entry and start, navigation, a rearview camera monitoring system, and Audi's MMI electronics interface with voice control.
Rounding out the feature set are Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, along with a Bose surround-sound audio system supporting a CD player and an iPod interface. Also included is Audi Connect, which is comprised of an enhanced Web-based navigation solution, information acquisition, and WiFi.
The 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine powering the all-aluminum sedan is rated at 240 horsepower and 406 ft-lbs of torque. The EPA says to expect 24 miles per gallon in the city, 36 on the highway, and 29 combined from the all-wheel drive powertrain, which includes an eight-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $83,395.
Available in both sedan and sport wagon iterations, BMW’s 3 Series diesel models combine sporty handling with a comfortable ride, nicely outfitted interiors, and exceptional fuel economy. They are also blessed with good power, as you’d expect from BMW products. The sport wagon is new for 2014 after having been discontinued for a year following the changeover to the new body style.
BMW models designated 328d, use a 2.0-liter, turbocharged diesel-fired four-cylinder engine rated at 180 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque. Quiet, smooth, and delightfully peppy, the engine is paired exclusively with BMW’s eight-speed automatic transmission. However, the powertrain can be had in both rear- and all-wheel drive configurations. Rear-drive 328d sedans are rated at 32 miles per gallon in the city, 45 on the highway, and 37 combined, while the 328d xDrive sedan and sport wagon are both rated at 31 miles per gallon in the city, 43 on the highway, and 35 combined.
Standard features include a set of seventeen-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, automatic windshield wipers, cruise control, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, a pair of eight-way power-adjustable front seats with driver memory functions clothed in BMW’s “leatherette” premium vinyl upholstery.
Further adding to the ambiance are genuine wood trim, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls for the audio system and cruise functions, a trip computer, Bluetooth audio streaming and telephony, and BMW’s pioneering iDrive electronics interface with a 6.5-inch fixed-position video display. The premium sound system supports a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio input jack, and an iPod/USB audio interface. BMW 328d models also get an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror. Pricing starts at $39,525.
When you say “BMW 5 Series” everybody knows you’re talking about the benchmark of the mid-sized executive sedan class. They also know to expect rakish good looks, a driver focused interior with plenty of luxurious touches, and a purposeful appearance. What’s more, all of those attributes are delivered in a package renowned for exciting performance—as well as being both comfortable and refined. For 2014, expectations can be expanded to include outstanding fuel economy—with no loss of performance potential whatsoever.
The 2014 BMW 535d features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel engine, which makes 255 horsepower and an awe-inspiring 423 ft-lbs of torque at just 1500 rpm. The diesel-powered 5 Series runs from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds, it does the quarter mile in just over 14 seconds, and is also capable of returning 26 miles per gallon in the city, 38 on the highway, and 31 combined.
Here’s the real kicker though; the 2014 BMW 535d is actually faster to 60 than the identically-equipped gasoline-fired BMW 535i, while absolutely spanking that car's 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. This is so falling into the category of having your cake, eating it, and smearing it all over your face—to boot.
For those of you just getting to know the BMW 5 Series, standard equipment includes; a set of eighteen-inch alloy wheels and BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control, which alters suspension, steering, throttle, and the automatic transmission’s responsiveness. You’ll also find smart bi-xenon headlights, automatic windshield wipers, and a set of heated exterior mirrors with auto-dimming for all three—including the interior mirror.
There’s keyless entry and start; a dual-zone automatic climate control system, adjustable ambient lighting, and 10-way power adjustable front seats wrapped in BMW’s “leatherette” premium vinyl upholstery. Driver memory functions, split-folding rear seats to expand cargo capacity, and a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel are included as well.
The tech stuff includes BMW Assist telematics, iDrive with smartphone app integration, navigation, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming connectivity, and a 10-speaker audio system supporting a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio input port and an iPod/USB audio interface. Pricing starts at $57,525.
You know the company is confident of its prowess in the diesel arena when it deigns to fit its flagship luxury sedan with an oil-burning powerplant. Of course, this is no ordinary oil-burning powerplant. Employing the same engine found under the hood of the 5 Series BMW, the 740 Ld will flaunt a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder diesel, which makes 255 horsepower and an awe-inspiring 423 ft-lbs of torque at just 1500 rpm.
Acceleration from zero to 60 is quoted at 6.1 seconds. While the EPA has yet to issue fuel economy ratings for the 7 Series diesel, estimates are the model will return some 36 miles per gallon on the highway. Keep in mind; we're talking about a nearly 5000-pound ultra luxury sedan—with acceleration rivaling that of two-seat sports cars and the fuel economy of miserly compact cars.
But miserly is far from how you’ll feel ensconced within the builders of the ultimate driving machines’ ultimate luxury car. Standard features include eighteen-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive suspension system with rear self-leveling, and BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control, which alters suspension, steering, throttle, and the automatic transmission’s responsiveness.
The xenon headlights are automatic, adaptive and self-leveling as well. The 7 Series BMW also boasts LED foglamps, automatic windshield wipers, power-folding and auto-dimming exterior rear-view mirrors, a sunroof, front and rear parking sensor arrays, a rearview camera monitoring system, along with keyless entry and start.
And that’s just for openers, you'll also find a four-zone automatic climate control system, cruise control, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, and heated power-adjustable leather front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment and memory functions for both.
The Techno-package leads off with BMW’s iDrive interface with the new touchpad functionality, a fixed-position widescreen display, Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming connectivity, navigation, and voice control for the lot. BMW Assist telematics, BMW Apps smartphone integration, and a twelve-speaker audio system supporting a CD player, an auxiliary audio input jack, an iPod/USB audio interface, HD radio, satellite radio, and a 20 gigs of digital music storage. Pricing for the 740 Ld has yet to be announced.
Facing but one direct competitor in the marketplace (Volkswagen’s Jetta TDI), the diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze is nicely positioned on the economical end of the scale to offer this alternative powerplant to a broader range of buyers. What’s more, Chevrolet’s small economy sedan has a lot of good going for it. The Cruze is pleasantly styled, nicely equipped, offers a smooth ride with engaging handling traits and willing performance, and the Chevy has a particularly fine interior treatment.
Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine makes 151 horsepower and 264 ft-lbs of torque. The Cruze Diesel will run from zero to 60 in a quoted 8.6 seconds, which, while not exactly blistering, is well in line with its VW Jetta competitor. The EPA quotes the Cruze Diesel’s fuel economy at 27 miles per gallon in the city, 46 on the highway, and 34 combined. Chevrolet’s six-speed automatic transmission completes the front-drive powertrain.
Standard equipment includes seventeen-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The model also features a rearview camera and the Chevrolet MyLink interface, which bundles a seven-inch touchscreen display and Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming connectivity with voice control and smartphone integration.
Further, the model features OnStar, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column with audio controls on the steering wheel, air-conditioning, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a trip computer, and a full complement of power accessories.
There’s also a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, and heated mirrors. The base Cruze Diesel also comes with a sport-tuned suspension system, four-wheel disc brakes, leather upholstery, and heated front seats.
Capping it all off is a six-speaker sound system supporting a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, a USB port, and an auxiliary audio input. Pricing starts at $25,810.
Say “Mercedes-Benz” to the vast majority of the motoring public around the world and the E Class Mercedes is the car that comes to mind. The best selling of all of the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the E Class does duty all over the world. In fact, in most European countries, the model can be found doing blue-collar livery duty as a taxicab. Here in the U. S. however, the E Class is strictly white collar, although it can be fitted with its hardworking sibling’s diesel powerplant.
Interestingly, while Audi and BMW have made diesel power available for all of its sedans offered in the U.S. the only diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz passenger car currently on offer in the U.S for the 2014 model year is the E Class.
Power comes from a 2.1-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, delivering 195 horsepower and 369 ft-lbs of torque to either the rear- or all four wheels (4MATIC) courtesy of the Mercedes-Benz’s seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is quoted at 28 miles per gallon in the city (27 w/4MATIC) 45 on the highway (42 w/4MATIC) and 35 combined (33 w/4MATIC).
Luxuriously equipped, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC’s standard feature set includes a set of automatic LED headlights and LED taillight accents, an adaptive suspension system, a sunroof, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, and a center-mounted analog clock for a nice touch of added class.
The model offers a choice of three wood trims, as well as 14-way power adjustable front seats with memory functions for both the driver and the front passenger. The seats are covered with MB-Tex synthetic upholstery (yeah, really nice vinyl) on the base model.
The E250 BlueTEC also features a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with controls for the audio and cruise functions, three auto-dimming rearview mirrors, the Mercedes-Benz COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth connectivity, and an eight-speaker audio system supporting a six-disc CD changer and an iPod/USB audio input interface. Pricing starts at $52,325.
Who among us doesn’t have some sort of appreciation for the Volkswagen Beetle? Even if you don’t like the car, you know what it is, and what it stands for. You also know somebody else who likes it. Back in 2012, VW reworked the Beetle to make it a bit more on the masculine side, but this still didn’t kill its cute factor.
Since we’re talking diesels here, lets get right into it. The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle TDI is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine with 140 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque. Buyers have a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-shift gearbox (DSG) automated manual transmission. Fuel economy for the Beetle TDI with the six-speed manual is 28 miles per gallon in the city (29 w/DSG), 41 on the highway (39 w/DSG), and 33 combined with either transmission.
Standard equipment includes seventeen-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield-washer nozzles, heated exterior mirrors, a full complement of power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a pair of heated height-adjustable front seats upholstered in leatherette (aka premium vinyl).
The Beetle TDI also features Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a trip computer and an eight-speaker audio system supporting a CD player, an iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack on its standard equipment list. VW's new Car-Net telematics system, along with keyless entry and start, satellite radio, a touchscreen audio interface, and a performance gauge package round out the list. Pricing starts at $25,415.
Photo by Volkswagen of America
The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI is also powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine with 140 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque. Buyers have a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-dual-shift gearbox (DSG) automated manual transmission.
The Beetle Convertible TDI, which, by the way is the only diesel-powered convertible available in the USA, returns 28 miles per gallon in the city with both the six-speed manual and the DSG, 41 on the highway (37 w/DSG), and 33 combined (32 w/DSG).
Just as with the hardtop Beetle TDI, standard equipment includes seventeen-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield-washer nozzles, heated exterior mirrors, a full complement of power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a pair of heated height-adjustable front seats upholstered in leatherette (which is aka premium vinyl).
The Beetle TDI also features Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a trip computer and an eight-speaker audio system supporting a CD player, an iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack on its standard equipment list. VW's new Car-Net telematics system, along with keyless entry and start, satellite radio, a touchscreen audio interface, and a performance gauge package round out the list. Pricing starts at $29,715.