With all the talk about electrics and hybrids lately, you might think that these are the only green vehicle options for consumers. Such is not the case.
Besides amping up the fuel efficiency and reducing emissions of conventional gasoline engines, automakers have been making great strides in diesel-powered cars. The current crop of 2011 diesel cars offers consumers performance, fuel efficiency and fewer emissions than ever before.
And they don’t smell either.
Audi A3 2.0 TDI
Boasting the best fuel efficiency of any luxury car sold in America, and meeting or exceeding 50 state emission requirements, the clean-diesel 2011 Audi A3 2.0 TDI ranks high on the list of diesel-powered family cars worth considering. The 2.0-liter turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine with TDI clean diesel common rail-direct injection generates 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque while achieving EPA-estimated 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway.
In addition, the A3 2.0 TDI produces 30 percent fewer CO2 emissions than a comparable gasoline engine. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2011 Audi A3 2.0 TDI is $30,250, or a price premium of $2,980 over the gasoline-powered A3, but if you’re looking for a compact luxury family sedan with stellar fuel efficiency and lower emissions, this is one to check out. See why The Car Connection gives the 2011 Audi A3 an overall 8.0 (out of 10) rating here.
2011 Audi Q7Enlarge Photo
Audi Q7 TDI 3.0
The seven-passenger 2011 Audi Q7 TDI 3.0 luxury SUV may be perfect for some families. The 3.0-liter turbocharged clean diesel V-6 engine produces 225 horsepower (versus 272 in the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 gasoline 3.0T) and 406 pound-feet of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway – not bad for a large luxury SUV.
The gasoline version of the Q7 gets 16 mpg city/27 mpg highway. There is a $5,200 price difference between the $51,450 starting MSRP for the Q7 TDI 3.0 and the 3.0T’s $46,250, but you get what you pay for. Among other differences, the TDI 3.0 features standard 19-inch wheels with all-season tires and chrome accent package with full paint finish.
2011 BMW 335d sedanEnlarge Photo
With 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque, the rear-wheel drive 2011 BMW 335d luxury sedan provides power from a 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder clean-burning diesel engine with TwinPower turbo technology. Fuel economy for all this performance is 23 mpg city/36 mpg highway. That’s 8 mpg better highway fuel efficiency than the 335i gasoline-powered sedan’s 28 mpg highway.
There is a price bump of $3,050 for the 335d, but consumers who want a clean-burning diesel luxury car may not find that too much to pay. Starting MSRP for the 2011 BMW 335d is $44,150. Want more detail on the BMW 3-Series? Check it out here.
2011 BMW X5Enlarge Photo
BMW x5 xDrive35d
BMW calls the x5 a “sport activity vehicle” or SAV. In xDrive35d form, this compact luxury performance SUV offers clean-diesel power with the same advanced diesel engine used in the BMW 335d sedan. That means the same 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque with the addition of intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD).
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway. The gasoline-powered x5 generates 300 horsepower and achieves 23 mpg highway fuel economy. Starting MSRP for the 2011 BMW x5 xDrive35d is $51,800 or $5,500 more than the x5 xDrive35i’s $46,300.