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  • New Diesel Cars - Detroit Goes Diesel

New Diesel Cars - Detroit Goes Diesel

Oil Burners Invade The Motor City

Apr 1, 2008
Photo 2/22   |   new Diesel Cars audi R8
Diesel lovers, your dreams are about to come true. Nearly every major automaker is planning to sell diesel models in the U.S. by 2010, and many of the oil-burning cars, trucks, and SUVs that will soon hit our roads were revealed at the 101st annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Some of the new diesels are concept models that may not make it to the open market, but most are glimpses of future production vehicles that will hit dealer lots as soon as the fall of this year. Official power and torque ratings are not yet available for all of the models unveiled, so where needed, we've included estimates based on preliminary information and overseas model specifications.
Audi plans to sell the most powerful diesel engine ever to be offered in a passenger vehicle, and they may put it into the street-legal, LeMans-inspired R8 supercar. The 60-degree 6.0L V-12 twin variable-geometry turbo engine shown in this concept is rated at an incredible 500 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. That's more twisting force than you'll get in the new supercharged Corvette ZR1, and the Audi has Quattro all-wheel-drive to help all that power get to the ground for a 0-60mph time of just 4.2 seconds and a top speed of more than 186 mph. The first new Audi diesel to come to the U.S. will be a Q7 with a 3.0L V-6 TDI SUV, which may also be the first Audi to get the V-12 diesel under the hood.
In Europe, 90 percent of BMW X5 customers and more than 60 percent of 3-Series customers order their Bimmers with diesel engines. Now, drivers in all 50 U.S. states will have the same option starting later this year with the debut of the '09 335d sedan and '09 X5 xDrive35d all-wheel-drive SUV. Both will come equipped with a 3.0L inline-six diesel engine with twin variable turbos that crank out 425 lb-ft of torque. BMW says the X5 diesel has been clocked at 7.2 seconds going from 0-62 mph and gets up to 25 mpg on the highway, while the 335d races to 62 mph in only 6.2 seconds and sips diesel at just 33 mpg.
Photo 9/22   |   2010 Ram 1500 Engine: Cummins 5.6L V-8 (est.) Power: 300 hp (est.) Torque: 460 lb-ft (est.)
The all-new Dodge Ram 1500 will grab headlines for its new aerodynamic look, the new multi-link coil rear suspension, and maybe even the innovative cargo bins built into the bedsides. But we think the most interesting announcement is that a Cummins diesel engine will be offered "after 2009." Dodge says the diesel will be 50-state legal and get 30 percent better fuel economy than a 1/2-ton Ram with a gas engine. It's likely the engine will be a result of the Light Truck Diesel program conducted with the Department of Energy that led to the birth of two new engines. The Cummins 5.6L V-8 that was developed makes 300 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, and the 4.2L V-6 creates 270 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Both engines were predicted to get 25 mpg on the highway when fitted in a 1/2-ton truck, so it's anybody's guess to which one will be under the hood of the 2010 Ram 1500 Cummins.
The F-150 is all-new for '09 with a new interior and sheetmetal, a frame that's 10 percent stiffer, and Ford says a diesel is planned for 2010. Two possible engines are a 4.4L V-8 or a 2.7L V-6, both with dual variable-geometry twin turbos. Variants of these PSA-designed Lion family of engines are used in Land Rovers and other Ford Motor Company vehicles overseas. The V-8 is predicted to get up to 350 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, and the V-6 puts out more than 200 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque while getting an incredible 49 mpg in the Jaguar S-Type.
Honda / Acura
"We will debut i-DTEC technology in the U.S. next year that will meet the same Tier2, Bin5 emissions standard as a gasoline engine vehicle. [But, without the need for a tank of urea onboard.] This i-DTEC clean diesel engine will be introduced first on an Acura brand vehicle in 2009. ... This will be followed in the future by the introduction to a Honda model."
-Takeo Fukui, president and CEO Honda Motor Co., Ltd
The Jeep Renegade Bluetec concept is a true dream vehicle that combines a 4x4 system with locking differentials and massive amounts of clean diesel power. A small 1.5L 3-cylinder Bluetec diesel engine with 115 hp is used to charge a battery pack and power dual electric motors that each make 268 hp-for a total combined output of 651 hp. Jeep says the Renegade can run 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in just 13.6 seconds. Did we mention that it gets 110 mpg?
Land Rover
The Land Rover LRX is a biodiesel-electric hybrid that uses Electric Rear Axle Drive to run on just electric power at speeds up to 20 mph. The compact luxury SUV is smaller than the Land Rover LR2 and has multiple off-and on-road engine/suspension settings, including an "Eco" mode that maximizes fuel economy. The small 2.0L displacement of the diesel suggests it's likely the same engine used in the European Volvo C70 that makes more than 130 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque.
Mercedes-Benz seems ready to bring diesel versions of every model to the U.S., along with some all-new ones. The GLK Freeside and Townside are brand-new compact SUVs that are powered by a 2.2L 4-cylinder Bluetec engine that's connected to a 7-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes-Benz also announced the return of the diesel-powered S-Class by revealing plans to build a full-size S 300 Bluetec diesel-electric hybrid which will use electric assistance to improve on the European non-hybrid fuel economy of 32 mpg.
Photo 19/22   |   Mitsubishi Concept-RA diesel Engine: 2.2L inline 4-cylinder Power: 201 hp Torque: 310 lb-ft
Too bad the Concept-RA has "concept" in the model name, because this sport coupe sounds like an incredible package. It has a 2.2L 4-cylinder diesel engine that makes more than 200 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque that's fed into the super-fast Twin Clutch SST automated manual transmission and then into the S-AWC all-wheel-drive system that's used in the Evolution X sedan. The Concept-RA also uses active steering and suspension dampening along with active yaw control and stability programming to keep the chassis glued to the road. How do we get on the waiting list?
The Saturn Flextreme has also been seen on the auto show circuit wearing a Vauxhall/Opel badge, and it shares most of its drivetrain with the Chevy Volt concept. Regardless of its family history, the Saturn Flextreme is a diesel-powered electric hybrid that can travel up to 34 miles on just electric power. It also has two built-in Segway auto-gyroscopic electric scooters to increase the zero-emissions cool factor.
Toyota Motor Company President Katsuaki Watanabe surprised some people by announcing that a clean diesel V-8 will be offered in both the Tundra and Sequoia "in the near future." The engine will probably be a variant of the 4.5L twin-turbo V-8 that's currently offered in the Land Cruiser overseas. That engine makes more than 260 hp, nearly 480 lb-ft of torque, is good for 22 mpg, and can push the big L200 from 0-62 mph in a respectable 8.2 seconds.



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