Since time immemorial, the Europeans always kept the coolest stuff for the home market (more or less). Sure, in the past, a lot of this could be blamed on various Euro car makers not wanting to deal with stuff like North American emissions regs (as in the lack of Ferraris in the late 70s).
But as the EU has found itself more and more closely aligned with America on things like airbags and safety glass, whether a European car ends up over here in this day and age has more to do with marketing than anything else.
Case in point, Audi’s A4 2.0 TDI e.
“American’s don’t like diesels as much as Europeans do.” You hear that a lot, and it’s pretty accurate. You don’t see as many diesels on the roads of the U.S.A. as you do in Europe. Sure, a lot of that has to do with the fact that their gas is five times as expensive as ours, but there’s also other factors. We perceive diesels as being messy and smelly and the fuel as being harder to find. And as long as our gas prices stay low (and I’m not advocating they should be artificially raised) then diesels will probably stay off the radar of the average American car buyer.
That’s a shame really, because you can do great things with diesels. Just ask anybody who’s gone up against the factory Audis at Le Mans the past couple of go-rounds. Those are diesels, and they’re stomping the competition without mercy.
Look at the new Audi A4 2.0 TDI e. It’s an A4 with an oil burner under the hood, and you know the little guy handles good and brakes really well. And with the diesel, it can pull in over 51 mpg. It cranks out 136 bhp, which isn’t stellar, but it’s OK, and can hit zero to 100 km/h in 9.5 seconds and tops out at 133.59 mph. It’s not exactly cheap at 30,800 euros, but given the build quality and materials that Audi uses, you’ll see all of that dough.
Of course, there’s an aftermarket upside, or there could be, to this car. I’ve seen more than a few VW Golf TDis running around that have been tricked out. And if you look into it, chip tuning those things can raise the horsepower a little, but can elevate the torque to highly impressive levels – like nearing 300 pound feet and STILL giving you over 40 MPG. I bet that’s the same engine that corporate sibling Audi is using in this ride, or at least something close to it. And if it is completely new or different enough, it’s not like a bunch of German aftermarket tuners are just going to let it slip by. In other words, I bet that you could build out an Audi A4 2.0 TDI e that’s pretty damn impressive.
Or you could if you lived in Europe, because Audi isn’t bringing this car over here yet, which is bad and stupid and kind of pisses me off.
But, if I had to guess, I bet that will change. You don’t have to be a Las Vegas bookie to know it’s a pretty safe bet that CAFE standards are going to get raised. On top of that, carbon emissions are going to have to drop, which will translate into another reason for more efficiency.
So put yourself in Audi’s shoes when faced with those two probabilities. A pretty easy answer will be “OK, time to send more diesels to America.”