Most diesel vehicles are marketed in the United States as either purpose-built work trucks, or fuel-sipping rides without the hybrid smug factor. That's why this latest report from Ward's Auto is so surprising. Ward's Auto is reporting that the up-coming Audi Q5 TDI will be marketed as a performance crossover with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, instead of the smaller (and more efficient) 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4.

When Audi first announced that they were going to roll out a diesel Q5, many naturally assumed that the 2.0-liter turbodiesel that currently serves under the hood of the Audi A3 and various other Volkswagen TDIs would be the engine of choice for the Q5 TDI in the United States. After all, diesels in the U.S. have traditionally been sold and marketed as eco-friendly green models, and a Q5 with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 from the Q7 seemingly doesn't make much sense.

However, according to WardsAuto, Audi will be wedging the 3.0-liter 225-hp and 406 lb-ft turbodiesel V-6 under the hood of the Q5 TDI instead of the 2.0-liter, because the 2.0-liter diesel is actually more efficient than Audi's hybrid gasoline-electric drivetrain, which would make the Hybrid Q5 a tough sell here in the U.S.

To get the full picture of what the Q5 Hybrid would have to go against, we can take a look at the European Q5 TDI's numbers. The Q5 TDI with the 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4 and Audi's six-speed dual-clutch gearbox nets roughly 33.6 mpg, while the Q5 with the same transmission and the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 gets around 31.3 mpg. If Audi brought over the 2.0-liter turbodiesel into the U.S. Q5, it wouldn't leave Audi much room to market a Q5 Hybrid as the green car poster child for the brand. With the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 slated for the Q5, it gives Audi a little wiggle-room with it's first-ever hybrid and also gives the brand a sporty diesel crossover to take on the BMW X5.

With the A8 slated to get the 3.0-liter turbodiesel this year, and the A6 sometime after that, it allows the cost to be spread around the lineup. Audi of America chief Johan de Nysschen told WardsAuto that the V-6, "Already has been thoroughly developed for the U.S. for applications in the Q7, and it will be in the A6 and A8 as well, so we get economies of scale with that." If that means more sporty diesels, then we can definitely get behind that.

What do you think? Do you think the 225-hp 406 lb-ft turbodiesel V-6 makes more sense in the Q5, or would you prefer the slightly more efficient 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4?

Source: WardsAuto