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Turbo Diesel Powered European Cars - Euro Invasion

16 Turbo Diesel You Could Be Driving Next Year

Tim Gavern
May 1, 2006
Some of us can't wait for the next generation of turbodiesel-powered European cars to arrive on our shores. We have driven several of the vehicles shown and they're simply amazing-they're clean, quiet, smooth, torquey, fast, and economical. With engines averaging 30-percent-plus higher fuel efficiency than their gas-powered siblings, Europeans are choosing diesels more and more often. Here's a look at what some lucky Europeans are driving this year-and what you may be able to buy on our dealer lots next year.
With the exception of the Volkswagen TDIs and the Mercedes-Benz E 320 CDI, none these vehicles are available in the United States right now. In fact, there are several hurdles that will need to be cleared before similar cars to the ones shown will finally be available in the USA. It all comes down to passing the strict emissions standards introduced by the state of California and now adopted by four other states, including Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.
According to Bosch, modern diesels are already significantly cleaner than they were only 16 years ago. "Since 1990, NOX, unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and particle emissions from diesel vehicles have decreased by approximately 90 percent. And today's diesel engines decrease greenhouse gas emissions [by as much as] 25 percent," said John Moulton, President, Powertrain Division, Robert Bosch Corporation.
Diesel has gotten cleaner but not clean enough to pass California's emissions tests just yet. The new national standard for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel in the United States should be finalized by the Fall of this year. The new diesel fuel will reduce sulfur content from the current 500 parts per million to 15 parts per million. The new fuel combined with breakthroughs in after-treatments, such as particulate traps, nitrogen-oxide reduction systems, and so on, will turn modern clean diesels into ultra-clean diesels capable of passing emission standards in all 50 states.
When all this happens, we can envision a diesel computer tuner market developing overnight to hot rod turbodiesel-powered cars. Then, look out!
Mercedes-Benz S 320 CDIThe brilliantly designed new '06 S-Class leapfrogs its nearest competitors by virtue of its design and technology. A 235hp V-6 is the first diesel available in the new model. Torque has been increased from 369 to 398 lb-ft and is available as low as 1,600 rpm.
The S 320 CDI's third-generation common-rail technology features rapid firing and precise Piezo injectors, a maximum injection pressure of as much as 23,520 psi, and a maintenance-free particulate filter developed by Mercedes-Benz is standard equipment in the new S 320 CDI in a number of European countries. Look for other diesel offerings in the new S-Class in the near future. Whether or not the diesel-powered S-Class will be offered in the U.S. was unknown as this issue went to press.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Bluetec ConceptWith the sales success of the Jeep Liberty CRD, it was a no-brainer for DaimlerChrysler to develop a clean-diesel technology prototype, using its ever-popular Jeep Grand Cherokee as the platform to introduce its new Bluetec technology. Bluetec is touted as "the cleanest diesel powertrain system in the world and has the potential to meet regulations in all 50 states."
DaimlerChrysler's Bluetec technologies can be used in various combinations, depending on the specific needs of the vehicle, its packaging, and market requirements. Bluetec combines modern, efficient diesel engines with combinations of oxidizing catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters, and innovative systems for reducing nitrogen-oxide emissions. Bluetec is the shape of diesel to come.
Volkswagen Golf/Jetta TDIThe Volkswagen Jetta TDI is one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road today. With United States EPA fuel mileage figures of 36 city/41 highway for the manual, and 35 city/42 highway for the automatic, the new Jetta TDI can travel more than 600 miles on a single tank of fuel. The TDI version of the Jetta will soon be joined by a TDI version of the fifth-generation Golf. Both will be available in 45 states. The Jettas and Golf TDIs share the turbocharged 1.9L diesel four-cylinder, producing 100 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed DSG automatic.
Volkswagen uses Pumpe Duse technology, where diesel fuel is injected at extremely high pressures into the combustion chamber, allowing more complete combustion. This makes the TDI engine quieter, more powerful, and more efficient than diesel engines with traditional fuel-injection systems.