Audi and BMW are expanding diesel lineups in the US

Article by Anita Panait, on March 28, 2013

Luxury carmakers Audi and BMW are expanding their US diesel lineups as demand for such vehicles continues to rise in a country where both fuel economy and performance are well considered. According to Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, the carmaker will offer diesel versions of the A6 and A7 sedans and Q5 sports utility vehicle for the 2014 model year.

Audi is already selling diesel versions of the A3 hatchback, A8 sedan and Q7. BMW, meanwhile, will offer diesel versions of its 3 Series and 5 Series this year, according to BMW of North America chief executive Ludwig Willisch. He said that BMW is planning to offer diesel versions of all its model lines in the next five years.

In an interview with Automotive News at the New York Auto Show, Willisch said BMW is expanding the lineup based on sales of the diesel version of the X5, which is presently the only model that offers a diesel engine. Diesel versions account for a fourth of X5s sold in the US. BMW expects the figure to rise to a third when gasoline prices hike.

Willisch said that this is a very convincing proposition, as diesel engines offer superior range, fuel economy and torque than gas engines. Luxury carmakers are under US regulatory pressure to double their corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) to 54.5 miles (88 kilometers) per gallon by 2025. Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst from Kelley Blue Book, remarked that as luxury and non-luxury carmakers struggle to achieve mileage standards, diesel has emerged as one of the preferred technologies, especially in luxury vehicles where performance cannot be sacrificed and hybrids have yet to penetrate.

It may seem the same, but it isn’t. This is the story of the new Audi A3 when compared to its previous model. It still measures 4,237 mm long and 1,421 mm high which are the same measurements of the previous compact model. But looking closely at the other dimensions will reveal that the new Audi A3 has become sportier and stronger. The new Audi A3’s front overhang has been shortened, but its width was increased to 1,777 mm, which is 12 mm more than that of the previous. These proportions give the new Audi A3 a sportier feel and appeal.

But the similarities end in the dimensions. Design-wise, the new Audi A3 impresses with upgrades in features which though distinct, still remain faithful to the Audi A3 design language. At the heart of this rejuvenated design is the six-cornered sculptural single-frame radiator grille. The new Audi A3 also comes with more powerful engines which have large air intakes. Boosting its power further are the large wheel arches and the metal surfaces which have been flared for more dynamism. The low-angled C-pillars are slender and the roof blends as it sweeps backwards to the spoiler to make the coupe, sporty essence of the A3 more pronounced.

Lines and lights both contribute to the character of the new Audi A3. Lines adorn the engine hood and above the side sills, while the iconic Audi tornado line which is sharply delineated can be seen on the body sides, giving the area below the windows a structured look. The Audi A3’s headlights are LED-powered. They are flat and seamlessly integrate a wave-shaped lower edge.

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