2007 Audi A6 TDIEnlarge Photo
If you’re a traveling salesman who wants high fuel mileage, sure, you could order the new 2010 Toyota Prius. But a clean-diesel-powered car might actually serve you better than a hybrid. We were reminded just how efficient diesels really are after spending a weekend with a European 2007 Audi A6 TDI diesel.
Over more than 500 miles of high-speed travel, through the hills and fields of upstate New York, we averaged an astounding 39 miles per gallon. And this is no economy compact. It’s a midsize German luxury sports sedan with crisp styling, lots of electronic frills, and the torque of a freight train.
The car we tested was provided by Robert Bosch LLC—the German company that makes diesel fuel injectors—as part of a program to highlight the advantages of "clean diesel" cars. While it wasn't upgraded to meet US emissions regulations, our A6 TDI was otherwise fairly similar to the standard 2009 Audi A6.
Sadly, Audi has no plans to offer the A6 TDI here in the States.
Handling and Performance
The big A6 diesel was a delight to fling around the two-lane country roads between the upstate New York towns of Woodstock (namesake of the festival) and Ithaca (home to Cornell University).
The multi-adjustable leather seats were comfortable; the Quattro all-wheel-drive kept the car firmly on line through the corners despite spirited driving; and the car tracked straight regardless of speed, road surface, or side winds.
One recommendation: If you’re considering an A6, make sure you test models with and without the 19-inch low-profile tires. While they look great and stick like glue, that comes at the expense of ride quality, which is harsh on anything but mirror-smooth roads.