The Audi Mileage Marathon
kicked off from Manhattan's Central Park on Monday morning at 9 a.m. The first leg of the journey, which involves 184 drivers from all around the world, took the convoy of Q7
, Q5, A4
, and A3
TDI turbodiesels from New York to Washington, D.C.
Big news from Audi was the real-world efficiency of its hulking Q7 3.0 TDI SUV, with one team netting 31.79 mpg with ordinary drivers behind the wheel. The journey started with "a battle through the heavy traffic of Manhattan," so the impressive mileage wasn't just generated by conservative highway hypermiling. Other teams averaged 29.77 to 30.95 mpg with the 2.5-ton, AWD, 405 pound-feet beast.
On the same drive, an A3 2.0 TDI managed 47 mpg, an A4 3.0 TDI got 39 mpg, and the new Q5 3.0 TDI rang in with nearly 38 mpg.
The next leg of the journey will take the Audi diesel caravan from D.C. to Cleveland, and then on to Chicago. Ultimately, the diesels will end up in Los Angeles on October 20. Audi notes that "fuel consumption of the participating vehicles is being monitored by the US-based motor sports association IMSA."
Audi is mounting quite the diesel offensive for its U.S. launch of these four '09 diesel vehicles. Will economy figures like those above be enough to sway a largely anti-diesel American public to make the switch to sparkless, oil-burning transportation?