New crop of diesel cars to offer neck-snapping acceleration with improved fuel economy.
Dan Carney - MSNBC - March 25, 2008
Diesel-powered vehicles haven’t enjoyed the best reputation in the United States, despite the well-known benefit of impressive fuel efficiency. Consumers have long been unimpressed by other traits, such as their black clouds of exhaust soot, ear-rattling racket and, ahem, let’s call it “stately” acceleration.
But an emerging generation of new diesel vehicles looks set to upend those expectations. Some high-performance models will soon exploit the fuel economy benefits of diesel power while delivering the neck-snapping acceleration associated with gas-guzzling cars.
Consider the Audi R8 TDI Le Mans, a 500-horsepower V-12 midengined supercar that can reach 186 miles per hour and rockets from a standstill to 60 mph in a shade over four seconds — no soot-belching school bus, this.
“Diesel, in many ways, is the future of performance technology,” said David McConnell, chief designer for Mitsubishi R&D America, the automaker that created the diesel-powered Concept-RA sport coupe, which made its world debut at this year’s Detroit auto show.
Current U.S. emissions regulations demand that diesels must be as clean as gas-powered cars. The result is that there are few diesels currently offered for sale, but a comparative diesel flood will arrive in 2009 as carmakers seek to boost their fleets’ fuel economy to meet tougher new fuel-economy requirements, known as corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards.
And while that 10-year-old Dodge Ram pickup with the Cummins turbodiesel and 18-wheeler-wannabe exhaust stacks sitting next to you at the traffic light still forces you to close your window and curse its oppressive noise, today’s diesels are so quiet it’s hard to distinguish them from gas-powered models, and that’s why you probably haven’t noticed them on the road…[Read More]