Diesel Power
Mobile Icon BtnMobile Icon Btn RO
Newsletter

2013 Diesel Car And SUV Buyer’s Guide

U.S. diesels are back!!!

Text By Trevor Reed, Photography by Courtesy of the Manufacturers

With the majority of diesel vehicles on U.S. roads today being fullsize trucks or vans, it may seem like there aren’t many other diesel-powered choices on the market, but that’s about to change. Model year 2013 has plenty of car and SUV offerings that should be on dealer lots by the time you read this. Thanks to ever-tightening emissions standards in the diesel utopias outside the U.S., there will finally be parity between U.S. and international regulations, making it more cost-effective for manufacturers to bring diesels here. Here is a look at what 2013 has in store for the automotive diesel enthusiast.

Audi
The fancy member of the VW Group, known as Audi, will be offering at least two diesel-powered models this year. One is the small A3 hatchback, which is debuting its diesel version for the U.S.; it’s rated by the EPA to get 42 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg in city driving conditions. The A3 is powered by the same 2.0L inline four-cylinder turbodiesel engine found under the hood of its VW car cousins, which is good for 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque that starts at a low 1,750 rpm and keeps boiling all the way up to 2,500 rpm. While an 8.9-second 0-to-60-mph time won’t win many street races, the A3 closes in on Prius fuel economy during freeway cruises (the Toyota gets 6 mpg more on the highway), without the complexity of hybrid systems. The A3 may share its DNA with the VW Golf four-door, but it comes with a very luxurious interior and 39 cubic feet of interior storage at a base MSRP of just $30,250—not bad when compared to the $24,000 starting price of the Prius.

If that’s not enough room or diesel power for you, then the fullsize Audi Q7 TDI SUV, with its 240hp 3.0L V6, is also available (up from 225hp in MY2012). That comes at a price, though, with a base MSRP that starts at $52,000 (not including the delivery fee or any options). The base model is definitely well equipped, which is like saying the latest Nike Air Jordans are just nice tennis shoes. Each Q7 TDI has a long list of standard features and fine interior materials and is powered by the same engine found under the hood of its cousins, the Porsche Cayenne and the VW Touareg.

Engine Specifications
Audi A3 / VW cars
Displacement: 2.0L
Configuration: I-4
Power at rpm: 140 hp at 4,200 rpm
Torque at rpm: 236 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, fixed geometry
Bore x Stroke: 3.19 x 3.76-inch
Valvetrain: DOHC, 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmissions: Six-speed manual or six-speed auto-manual

BMW
The BMW X5 xDrive35d is the only Bimmer diesel planned for MY2013 so far, and it’s not a bad option. The all-aluminum 3.0L inline six-cylinder, which was also used in the last-generation 3-Series, has two turbos that combine their forced induction to make 425 lb-ft of torque.

That’s enough oomph to push the fullsize, all-wheel-drive SUV to 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds—and get 26 mpg on the highway. Standard equipment includes premium leather, 10-way power seats with three levels of heating, walnut wood trim, and other bells and whistles, such as a panoramic sunroof and 10-speaker audio system.

This gearbox, made by the legendary German company ZF, should provide smooth power delivery and significant fuel economy gains compared to the five-speed auto currently offered in the Grand Cherokee. Models with the diesel drivetrain will get an “Eco Diesel” badge (according to U.S. Patent and Trademark filings reported by Truck Trend), which has led to speculation it will be used on other upcoming diesel-powered Chrysler Group vehicles.

Engine Specifications
BMW
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: I-6
Power at rpm: 265 hp at 4,200 rpm (MY2012)
Torque at rpm: 425 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm (MY2012)
Turbocharging: Dual, sequential
Bore x Stroke: 3.31 x 3.54-inch
Valvetrain: DOHC, 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Aluminum alloy
Transmission: Six-speed shiftable automatic

Jeep
According to Automotive News, Jeep will have already stopped production of the 2013 Grand Cherokee by the end of December, for the greatest reason we can think of. Jeep plans to release the ’14 Grand Cherokee as early as January 2013, with an optional 3.0L VM Motori turbodiesel making more than 400 lb-ft of torque, backed by the ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep/VM Motori
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: 60-degree V-6
Power at rpm: 237 hp at 4,000 rpm (estimate)
Torque at rpm: 406 lb-ft at 1,800 rpm (estimate)
Turbocharging: Single, variable geometry
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.62-inch
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz has jumped headfirst back into the U.S. diesel market and will be offering six luxury vehicles with two different engines and three levels of diesel power in the near future. The newest diesel model, the GLK250 BlueTEC 4MATIC, will arrive as early as January 2013 with a 2.1L four-cylinder engine that uses a pair of turbos to produce 190 hp and an impressive 390 lb-ft of torque, which should easily motivate the compact SUV. The diesel-equipped GLK will also come with an engine start/stop function that shuts off the engine instead of idling and a seven-speed automatic transmission to maximize fuel economy.

The 210hp, 400-lb-ft version of the 3.0L V-6 Mercedes-Benz diesel will be available in the E350 BlueTEC sedan. It’s also available in the ’12 R350 BlueTEC 4MATIC. Unfortunately, the R-Class crossover will not be sold in the U.S. for MY2013, but that means you might be able to get a deal on one left on a dealer’s lot. On the bright side, the Americans who build the R-Class in Alabama will continue to have work assembling the tall wagon for other markets.

The rest of the MBZ diesel lineup includes an optional new version of the 3.0L engine with upgraded heads for better breathing and a new turbo that allows the power to be bumped up to 240 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. The lucky Benzes to get this engine are the flagship S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC sedan, the soccer-mom-favorite ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC, and the GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC large SUV. In 2012, the S-Class diesel made its first appearance since model year ’96.

Engine Specifications
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
Displacement: 2.1L
Configuration: I-4
Power at rpm: 190 hp at 6,500 rpm
Torque at rpm: 369 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Turbocharging: Dual, sequential
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.90-inch
Valvetrain: DOHC, 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Seven-speed shiftable automatic

Mercedes-Benz (except GLK-Class)
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: 72 degree, V-6
Power at rpm: 210 hp at 3,800 rpm (E-Class and R-Class)
Torque at rpm: 400 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (E-Class and R-Class)
Power at rpm: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm (GL-, ML-, and S-Class)
Torque at rpm: 455 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (GL-, ML-, and S-Class)
Turbocharging: Single, variable geometry
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.62-inch
Valvetrain: DOHC, 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Seven-speed shiftable automatic

Porsche
The super-sport division of the VW Group is adding an oil-burner to its lineup by putting the company’s 3.0L V-6 diesel under the hood of its ultra SUV, the Cayenne. While it was thought to be blasphemy to some Porsche enthusiasts when this SUV was first introduced, it turned out to be a hit with buyers, so it’s no surprise the lineup is expanding to include a diesel version. While the exterior and interior are all classic Porsche—with aggressive styling, high-end interior materials, and an optional active suspension and ride height control—some may scoff at the 7.2 seconds it takes to get from 0 to 60 mph. That is, until they realize the Cayenne diesel is 0.2 seconds quicker to 60 mph than the gas V-6 version and is rated to get 4 more miles per gallon in the city and 5 more mpg on the highway.

Engine Specifications
Audi Q7 / VW Touareg / Porsche Cayenne
Displacement: 3.0L Configuration: 90-degree V-6
Power at rpm: 240 hp at 3,500 rpm
Torque at rpm: 406 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm
Turbocharging: Single, variable geometry
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60-inch
Valvetrain: DOHC, 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed shiftable automatic

Volkswagen
It’s unfortunate that Volkswagen is last in this alphabetical list. The VW Group of companies can be credited with keeping the dream of diesel passenger vehicles in the U.S. alive, even when faced with the threat of gas hybrids and strict emissions laws. New TDI models were scarce for a period when the EPA cracked down on emissions, but the Volkswagen brand has come back with a vengeance with eight models using two different 50-state emissions compliant engines for 2013.

The same 2.0L inline four-cylinder with 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque found in the Audi A3 can be ordered in the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf 2-Door, Golf 4-Door, Jetta sedan, Jetta SportWagen, and the Passat. Each is available with either a six-speed manual or a super-efficient six-speed dual-clutch auto-manual, which doesn’t use a torque converter. This allows all the cars to achieve great fuel mileage, both in the city and on the highway, with the Passat midsize sedan capable of 43 mpg on the freeway. Plus, the Beetle TDI has a starting price that’s $705 less than that of a Prius.

The other Volkswagen that runs without spark plugs is the VW Touareg, a close relative of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. While it can no longer be ordered with the maniacal 5.0L V-10 turbodiesel and its 553 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel that is offered today is a much more refined engine. The common-rail V-6 is rated at 29 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in the city, which is a lot better than the 15 city/20 highway mpg of the V-10. For those keeping score at home, the V-10 belched out 2.6 more tons of CO2 into the atmosphere than the V-6 will during an average year of driving, according to the EPA.

Possible Future Models
Rumors abound about more diesel models on the horizon. Showing up as early as mid-to-late 2013 as model year 2014 vehicles are diesel versions of the Audi A4, A6, A8, Q5; BMW 3-series, X1, X3; Cadillac ATS; Chevy Cruze; Mazda 3 Skyactiv; Porsche Macan (formerly known by the codename Cajun); and VW Tiguan. All these vehicles are rumored to be in the planning stages for sale in the United States. There is additional speculation the VM Motori-built 3.0L V-6 being installed in the Jeep Grand Cherokee will find its way into numerous Chrysler vehicles. Some potential candidates include the Ram 1500, the upcoming Grand Wagoneer, and the Chrysler 300. If our off-road wishes get answered, it is even possible that the next Jeep Wrangler will get a powerful oil-burner under its hood, too. The future is definitely looking bright for diesel vehicles here in the States.

Diesel mpg Masters
All fuel economy figures represent the model year ’13, except those not yet available at the time this article was written. Vehicles with an asterisk “*” next to them have the figures for the ’12 model year, which may differ from the ’13 model year. Vehicles with “TBD” are ’14 models with their mpg numbers likely to be determined sometime in the next calendar year. You can find the latest updates on the EPA’s website: www.fueleconomy.gov.

Vehicle City Combined Highway
Audi A3 30 mpg 34 mpg 42 mpg
Audi Q7 19 mpg 22 mpg 28 mpg
BMW X5* 19 mpg 22 mpg 26 mpg
Jeep Grand Cherokee TBD TBD TBD
MBZ E-Class* 21 mpg 25 mpg 32 mpg
MBZ GLK-Class TBD TBD TBD
MBZ S-Class* 21 mpg 25 mpg 31 mpg
MBZ R-Class* 18 mpg 20 mpg 23 mpg
MBZ M-Class* 20 mpg 22 mpg 27 mpg
MBZ GL-Class TBD TBD TBD
Porsche Cayenne 20 mpg 28 mpg 23 mpg
VW Beetle (manual) 28 mpg 32 mpg 41 mpg
VW Beetle (auto-manual) TBD TBD TBD
VW Golf (manual) 30 mpg 34 mpg 42 mpg
VW Golf (auto-manual) 30 mpg 34 mpg 42 mpg
VW Jetta (manual) 30 mpg 34 mpg 42 mpg
VW Jetta (auto-manual) 30 mpg 34 mpg 42 mpg
VW SportWagen (manual) 30 mpg 34 mpg 42 mpg
VW SportWagen (auto-manual) 29 mpg 33 mpg 39 mpg
VW Passat (manual) 31 mpg 35 mpg 43 mpg
VW Passat (auto-manual) 30 mpg 34 mpg 40 mpg
VW Touareg 20 mpg 23 mpg 29 mpg

SOURCES
Porsche
Atlanta
GA
http://www.porsche.com/
Audi Of North America
www.audiusa.com
Mercedes-Benz
3 Mercedes Drive
Montvale
NJ  07645
800-367-6372
www.mbusa.com
BMW M Performance
www.shopbmwusa.com
Volkswagen
2200 Ferdinand Porsche Drive
Herndon
VA  20171
703-364-7000
www.vw.com
VM Motori
www.vmmotori.it
Jeep
877-426-5337
www.jeep.com
EPA
www.fueleconomy.gov
  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article
By Trevor Reed
Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!
0 comments
Diesel Power