|Audi's A4 3.0 TDI reportedly averages more than 37 miles per gallon.|
Think diesel, and three words may come to mind: Dirty, slow and unreliable. Audi Auto Group wants to change this perception with its latest fleet of diesels, but it may be hard to win over a U.S. market familiar with large buses, trucks and old European imports that chugged along noisily emitting a thick, dark cloud of emissions. Alternative energy vehicles have become the new trend, with cars like the Prius selling faster than Japan-based Toyota ( TM) can build them. But even though hybrids are a respectable option, many European manufacturers already have proven technology within their diesel fleets. Take Audi, for example, which by building fun-to-drive vehicles with robust miles-per-gallon numbers and uncompromised performance has created a compelling argument for new diesel technology.
Through the lowering of harmful pollutants, diesels are Audi's answer to the short-term energy problem. The facts do not lie. Turbo Direct Injection engineer Zaccheo Giovanni Pamio said the TDI engine uses "the most fuel-efficient technology in the world." ( Photo gallery: Grocery-Getters to Supercars: The Cars of 2009) Pamio says Audi's fleet uses 30% less fuel on average than it did in 1995, suggesting that TDI engines are the root of this turnaround.