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Future Diesel Vehicles - Diesel Transformation

10 Vehicles That Need A Diesel

Photography by Courtesy of the manufacturers

Imagine a world where it's hard to find a gas vehicle on a dealer lot (no, we're not talking about moving to Europe). If certain vehicles were equipped with diesel engines instead of gassers, it could cause an avalanche of support and diesel domination of the auto-buying public. OK, so it's a long shot, but here are 10 vehicles that would turn the tide toward diesel engines.

Audi R8 6.0L Twin-Turbo V-12 TDIWhile there's no doubt the new mid-engine audi r8 supercar is already a head-turner that can hang with ferrari or Porsche, we think it would be a lot better with a diesel. Right now, the $110K-plus aluminum sled comes with 420 hp from a mid-engine mounted direct-injection gasoline v-8. Compare that to the massive output of the Le Mans-tested Audi 6.0L v-12 twin-turbo diesel that makes 500 hp (and that's when it's loaded with civilian computer programs). Sure, that's just 80 hp more than the gasser, but the tDI engine sends 232 percent more torque through the all-wheel-drive system (738 lb-ft compared to just 317 lb-ft with gas). Our friends at Motor trend tested the gas Audi and coaxed it from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds and covered the standing 1/4-mile in just 12.6 seconds (more than half a second quicker than the non-turbo Porsche 911). Just try to imagine how much faster it would be with an "extra" 421 lb-ft of torque, and you can see why we get excited just thinking about it. Audi has hinted that the v-12 tDI engine will first come to the u.S. inside a sporty version of the Q7 Suv, and although we love ridiculously fast trucks, the R8 can pull 0.95 G on the skidpad and come to a stop from 60 mph in just 111.5 feet. those are supercar numbers that an Suv will likely never achieve, so we think the R8, with it's magnetic suspension, Quattro all-wheel-drive, and optional paddle-shifting transmission is truly in need of a screaming turbodiesel under the glass behind the driver.

Mitsubishi Evolution XCummins 4.2L V-6Since it looks like the subaru wrx may get a diesel option, we have to focus attention on its archrival: the Mitsubishi Evolution x. Mitsubishi and Chrysler have worked together in the past, so maybe the 4.2L Cummins v-6 could find its way into the rallyinspired Evo. the diesel actually creates less horsepower than the turbo-four gasser, but the Cummins makes 420 lb-ft of torque (120 lb-ft more than the Evo) and peaks from 1,700 rpm to 3,200 rpm instead of needing to scream to 4,400 rpm like the 2.0L gas engine. now, feed that torque through possibly the fastest-acting paddle-shifted transmission in the world (the "twin Clutch SSt" 6-speed), a variable center differential, and two torsen differentials, and you'll have a rally car that is competitive on the track and at the dealership.

Dodge Viper ACRCummins 6.7L I-6 BluetecThis one sounds ridiculous because it is, but it's hard to resist the idea of an American musclecar that could best the 1,001 hp mark set by the bugatti veyron supercar. Imagine a redesigned ISb engine block made from compacted graphite iron (CGI) that's stronger, weighs about 20 percent less, and is designed to fit in the space now occupied by a gas v-10. As long as we're shooting to upstage the 1.4-million dollar veyron, how about stealing the bugatti idea of a "top Speed Key" that unlocks the engine programming and allows it to reach 253.8 mph. Instead, the viper could have adjustable programming that let's the driver choose settings that range from bluetec-clean (with active urea-sprayers and diesel particulate filters) and various other mileage and power modes all the way up to a 1,002hp program that's "for off-road use only."

Chevy ColoradoDuramax 2.9L V-6The chevy colorado cruz concept pictured here was packing an LS2 gasoline v-8, but the civilian truck came out with wheezing four- and five-cylinder inline engines. Instead of the new 4.5L v8 Duramax, (that's being saved for the H3), it would be interesting to fill the fender wells with the fuel-efficient and very powerful 2.9L v-6 diesel designed by v.M. Motori that will be sold in the Cadillac CtS. the engine makes 250 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque (which is 8 hp and 164 lb-ft more than the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon are currently allowed), and achieves full power at 800 rpm less than the inline gas engines. Add an adjustable programmer like the one imagined for the diesel viper, and the 2.9L diesel could use high horsepower on the highways and switch priorities to low-lugging torque for the dirt. throw in a second variable geometry turbo and an electric 3/4-ton transfer case for all-wheel-drive and you've got the next-generation GMC Syclone.

Hummer H3Duramax 4.5L V-8If the diesel takeover is to take place, then a mid-size Suv will have to catch on, but manufacturers can't risk blowing out the weak independent rear axles. Since the Dodge Durango is slated for a Hemi gas/electric hybrid or a Cummins v-6, attention needs to be focused on the Hummer H3, which would be a perfect candidate for the new Duramax 4.5L v-8. It makes 310 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque while meeting the green emissions regulations that can help relieve the self-loathing and guilt that gas Hummer owners are taught to feel when they pull into a Whole foods parking lot. the engine is currently being prepped for the 1/2-ton GM trucks and Suvs, but the H3 Alpha proves a v-8 can fit in the lil' Hummer, and a diesel could make a big impact in the off-road Suv market by turning the H3 into the most powerful, most efficient, and cleanest 4x4 Suv available.

Ford Mustang GT500Lion 5.0L Twin-Turbo V-8If the dodge viper and audi r8 are "halo" cars that get people into dealerships to buy other cars, then the ford Mustang is an icon because it gets people excited about the blue Oval brand, and the sales actually help the company's bottom line. It would be interesting to see a Mustang Gt500 equipped with the ultra-modern Lion v-8 twin-turbo diesel that's being used overseas. It's got a CGI block, twin variable geometry turbos, common-rail fueling, piezo injectors, and could be stroked out to 5.0L (just for sentimental reasons). In the 4.4L configuration, the Lion is rated at 350 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque (20 lb-ft more than the supercharged 4.6L gasser), so it's fun to imagine, at the twist of a button another 100 lb-ft of torque, or economy-car fuel mileage is available.

Jeep GladiatorCummins 5.6L V-8The jeep gladiator was always supposed to get a diesel engine-the only problem is that the pickup has never received the green light from Chrysler. When the concept truck hit the stages at auto shows, it had the 2.8L v.M. Motori engine that showed up in the Jeep Liberty. If that engine was swapped for the new 5.6L Cummins v-8, Jeep could build a Gladiator that could compete with the 1/2-ton titans, Silverados, and f-150s that are tasked with towing boats, Atvs, and 4x4s. "Compete" is a polite term since the Cummins v-8 makes 325 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque while getting about 25 mpg; it would be a knock-down drag-out fight with customers winning another serious choice in the light truck market. unfortunately, a reality check shows that the Gladiator is not a true fullsize truck, the Cummins v-8 weighs more than 780 pounds, and any success of the Gladiator could come at the expense of Dodge Ram sales.

Lexus LS 450dh4.5l Twin-Turbo V-8 Diesel / Electric HybridThe luxury market is nearly devoid of diesel engines. While mercedes and Audi say that they will be bringing more v-6 and v-8 diesel engines stateside, a Lexus LS diesel/electric hybrid could help luxury diesels reach the tipping point. you can currently buy a gas/electric called the LS 600h, but we'd be more interested in a toyota 4.5L twin turbo v-8 diesel (found in Land Cruisers outside the uS) being used to spin the electrical generators inside the transmission and the all-wheel-drive system. The gas/electric hybrid setup achieves about 22 mpg, which shouldn't be hard to beat with an efficient oil burner under the hood.

Toyota Prius3.0L I-4 Diesel / Electric Hybrid / Plug-InThe final part of the diesel takeover plan involves blowing the minds of hybrid snobs by installing a 3.0L oil burner in the toyota Prius hybrid and combining it with a plug-in charging system. It may take some time to explain to them that the diesel puts out less CO2 than the gasser, but the 302 lb-ft of torque (not counting assistance from the electric motors) should really get their attention. Add the new plug-in charging system to that package and watch as the mpg rises to new levels and hybrids lose the reputation of being glorified golf carts. Can we order one of these yet?

Honda Odyssey2.2L I-DTEC I-4 Diesel / Electric HybridMinivans get a bad rap, but they are some of the most sensible and safest vehicles on the road, so it would be a shame if the diesel revolution passed them by. to make sure this doesn't happen, the king of minivans, the Honda Odyssey could really use a diesel engine combined with the electric hybrid system being used in the Civic and Accord. the other automakers are already scared of the 2.2L i-DtEC diesel engine that Honda claims won't need a urea-spraying system to meet strict 2009 EPA emissions rules. now, combine that engine with a system that scavenges lost energy and uses it to assist the diesel during potentially dirty low-speed emissions, and you've got the recipe for a powerful and super-efficient family hauler that's already number one in the eyes of most Americans.

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