First, apologies for the leading image, no one should be exposed to that sort of thing. Second, you’re welcome, if you’re into that sort of thing. And by the thing, I obviously mean GM’s LF9 350 V8 diesel.
Moving right along…
Where model year 2012 was all about “40 MPGs”, the upcoming 2013 and 2014 model years appear to be about diesels. While some companies have embraced the hybrid and electric vehicles (Toyota, Honda), or began making the conventional engines more efficient (Ford, Hyundai), others are either experimenting more with compression-ignition options (Porsche, GM), or are throwing Hail-Marys (Mazda) in the name of Dr. Rudolph in order to save themselves from demise.
At this time there is no clear answer as to which technology will prevail here in North America. Historically, diesels do not have the greatest of reputations, but the fuel economy numbers alone maybe enough to turn some nay-sayers around. The refinement of modern diesels helps too. Electric cars are still limited by their driving range and hybrids work great in cities and in traffic, but most of the driving here is done on highways where diesel is king.
Today we look into the confirmed models, and some rumors, of the upcoming North American diesels. Our European readers will likely make fun of us, and that’s fine – we’ll just respond with the fact that our gasoline is still much cheaper than theirs and that most of us can afford a new V8 Mustang on half of our annual salaries, so there.
The all-new for 2014 Mazda6 will be available with a new 2.2-liter four-cylinder. The new Skyactiv-D will produce 165 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque and will be matched up to manual or automatic transmission. Autoweek’s Andrew Stoy explains very succinctly why this car matters.
BMW had sold the E90 3-series sedan and X5 with a diesel engine for some time. Now, with the new F30 3-series out, the plan is to bring the sedan, and perhaps wagon, the 5-series, and possibly the X1 and X3, over with a 2.0-liter 180 hp and 280 lb-ft four-cylinder.
For now, the X5 diesel remains as the only diesel BMW on the market with the 3.0-liter inline-six, and it is fantastic. I wrote an in-depth article about the 330d and X5d when they first came out.
Here is something we couldn’t have predicted forty years ago; a Porsche
truck SUV family vehicle. That’s not really so mind-blowing anymore, as the Cayenne is now in its second generation. What’s mind blowing is choice of engines: V6, V8, another V8, twin-turbo V8, and another, more powerful, twin-turbo V8.
But wait, there is more! For 2012 Porsche added the supercharged V6 hybrid, and for 2013 the Cayenne is also available with a 240hp/406tq diesel. Yes folks, a diesel. In a Porsche. In a Porsche
truck SUV family vehicle. I know how the purists feel about that, I just don’t know how I feel about it.
The small Cruze will come with a diesel but I couldn’t find any details on it yet. Nor have I driven the Cruze, hence no opinion.
Sounds like the Grand Cherokee may be getting a 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel, and it maybe announced in January at the North American Auto Show. Previous generations of the Grand Cherokee were available with the diesel engine too, and it wasn’t too popular, but now the times are different and the Grand Cherokee is better than ever. I can’t wait to drive that.
That same engine may go into a light-duty RAM pickup truck too, which is what at least five potential buyers and millions of car-guys have been asking for about twenty years.
Wranglers build for export do get a 2.8 turbo four-banger but don’t expect those to be sold here. A shame really, as I know of at least one person who would buy that new… and eighty thousand who would wait for a killer deal on a used one.
In addition to the current offerings of the Q7 and the A3, Audi will bring the diesel versions of A8, A7, A6 and the Q5. All vehicles get a 3.0 V6 with 240hp and 406 torques, but mileage will depend on the model. Great looks, best in business interior, annoying light-patterns, and the safety of all-wheel-drive, now with the efficiency of the diesel engine – what more could you ask for? (Don’t answer that)
The king of diesels, Volkswagen, offers the Golf, Jetta, Passat, and Beetle with the 2.0-liter TDI which pumps out 140 horsies and 236 torques. That engine might also end up in the Tiguan, but at this time it’s not available on the U.S. market.
The Toureg comes with a 3.0L, 240 hp. It seems to be the same engine that is used in the new Audis and in the Porsche. The price difference between these vehicles is not that great, unless you order your Porsche with leather on parts where other cars don’t have parts.
Mercedes’ E, S, ML, and GL classes are available with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 delivers which delivers more than 210 hp, and 400 lb-ft of torque, depending on configuration. GLK250, with a 2.1-liter turbodiesel in-line four, with 190 horses and 369 lb-ft, should be available soon. That same engine may find its way into the C-class too.
Just about every manufacturer offers a diesel version of the cars which they sell in the North America, they just don’t sell them here. Yet.
Blame the government and California’s Air Resources Board. Blame higher prices of diesel and higher prices of the vehicles themselves. Blame the old GM for giving diesels a horrible reputation.
While on my European travels last year, I drove a Land Rover Discovery4 (LR4 here) with the new twin-turbo diesel V6, and it was magnificent. When combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the result was over 30mpg on the highway, in a loaded 5000lb vehicle with full-time AWD. That engine is available on various Jaguars too, and the big Range Rover comes with a turbo-diesel V8.
Subaru has a seriously efficient boxster diesel too. Volkswagen offers a three-cylinder diesel but no one in U.S. would buy that despite 70mpg+. Japanese companies have diesels too and there is no doubt that they will be watching this market closely and are ready to bring their product over if they can sell it. Same for Korean Kia and Hyundais, they can pull the trigger at any time too.
Most of us would love to see diesel engines in the bigger vehicles; small pickup trucks and SUVs. Hopefully others will follow BMW and VW in making this happen. The question remains – are American new car buyers ready to pay more upfront in order to pay less later?