Audi A7 Sportback & Audi A4 Ultra. Click image to enlarge
Article by Paul Williams, photos by Paul Williams and Audi AG
Malmo, Sweden – Although Audi’s recent TDI Technology event began in Copenhagen, Denmark (home of the Diesel House, where journalists were treated to a demonstration of one of the largest diesel engines in the world), the actual “tech sessions” and driving opportunities took place later in the day at the Malmo Racetrack in Sweden.
Celebrating 25 years of TDI (turbo direct injection) production and development, Audi engineers discussed the current engines in production, and future directions for the TDI. Of special interest was the presence of a 1989 Audi 100 TDI, the company’s first production car powered with a TDI engine, and the 2014 Le Mans–winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro (complete with its own security guard).
At the track we found a selection of diesel-powered Audis available for quick drives in the area, along with two TDI concept cars for demonstration on the track.
My first drive was in the A7 Sportback with 3.0-litre TDI. The A7 Sportback has been very popular for Audi in Canada, outselling the A6 sedan. It’s a liftback – a body style that I particularly like – which means it’s got a rear liftgate that when raised exposes a trunk with huge cargo capacity. The A7 Sportback is very pleasing visually, sleeker than a conventional sedan, which must contribute to its appeal for buyers.
With the 3.0L TDI you experience virtually no engine noise except when accelerating. Then, depending on how hard you press the accelerator, the TDI generates muscular hum although even that seems muted and unobtrusive. When cruising, there’s no sound from the engine at all. The 2014 A7 TDI model currently available in Canada makes 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque
The A7’s a pleasure to drive: responsive, comfortable and smooth. In our 20-minute drive loop, it was balanced in the corners and felt like it could accelerate to triple our speed limits in Canada. At 90 km/h in typical TDI fashion, the engine was barely turning over.
We also drove a Q5 powered with the 2.0L TDI. As you may know, the Q5 shares its platform with the Volkswagen Tiguan, and while the Tiguan feels solid and tight in the German tradition, the Q5 seems to have tightened every screw and bolt a quarter-turn more. The lusty torque from the TDI comes on low in the rev-range, and like the A7, its presence disappears at cruising speeds. We did a longer drive in the Q5, travelling at 90-120 km/h from Sweden back to Denmark over the eight-kilometre Oresund Bridge. Fuel consumption? 6.6 L/100 km. You’ve got to love that!
Like the A7, the current 2014 Q5 TDI model in Canada makes 240 hp and 428 lb-ft torque from its 3.0L diesel engine.
I wanted to get behind the wheel of the 1989 Audi 100 TDI, the first TDI model offered. It was available, but time was not, at least if I wanted to drive two Audi Concept Cars, an A6 TDI and an RS5 TDI.
Audi A7 Sportback, Audi Q5 TDI, 1989 Audi 100 TDI. Click image to enlarge