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We’ve got to laugh a little at the German automaker for deciding to intentionally offer less-than-optimal fuel efficiency in the Q5s headed to North America. Their 2.0-liter TDI is actually more efficient than the hybrid powertrain that will be available stateside.
To keep people from flocking to the most efficient bird in the roost, Audi decided to slip the same 3.0-liter diesel from the Q7 into the smaller Q5, branding it as a more performance-oriented option.
You can see in the photos that the Q5 is getting Audi’s S-line treatment like the new A4 and A6. We’re also told that the compact SUV will come with the latest multimedia interface, including Audi connect and Google Maps.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi Q5 spy photos
Efficiency is important these days. The government is cracking down on gas guzzlers and imposing strict regulations that force automakers into saving more fuel than ever before.
That’s why it might come as a surprise that Audi of America is opting not to offer their most efficient diesel engine in the upcoming 2013 Q5. That’s right, the German luxury brand sees fit to package the same diesel 3.0-liter V6 that they currently offer American consumers in the Q7.
Why, you might ask? The answer is simple, though less than logical. Audi is afraid of selling a 2.0 turbo diesel Q5 because it gets better milage than the hybrid-electric powertrain they are offering in the same vehicle.
In other words, the diesel engine is too efficient for the discerning U.S. palette. Now, there may be some merit to the theory, considering diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline. People can be quick to judge at the pump and diesels still carry a somewhat sordid name among American consumers, even today.
On the other hand Hybrids evoke green imagery and environmentally friendly thoughts, which is even funnier when you realize that Europeans have been driving diesels to save fuel for decades.
Regardless of the reasoning, Audi is doing a good job of pandering to consumer egos, saying they chose to offer a more performance oriented diesel and an efficient hybrid.
Speaking of performance-oriented diesels, the company will also be offering Americans the same engine in the A8 later this year. The same logic that spoiled the chances for a 2.0-liter diesel Q5 is also keeping the hybrid A8 out of reach.
“Our current A8 with the 4.2L gasoline V-8 gets the same fuel economy as hybrids from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes” due to its emphasis on weight-saving aluminum construction, Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen said to Ward’s Auto. “Imagine now what happens when you put a diesel in the car. You have all the driveability and driving enjoyment with even better fuel economy.”
In fact, 41% of Q7 and 55% of A3 sales in the U.S. were diesel models, though the fact that Audi still ships from Germany probably restricted supply, so it makes sense that they would be rolling more models out with the oil-burning option.
GALLERY: Audi Q5 Hybrid
[Source: Wards Auto]
General Motors, recently announced that is preparing to invest $483 million and create 483 new jobs at it’s Spring Hill, Tennesse Powertrain complex, which currently builds Ecotec four-cylinder engines. Providing that state and local officials are in agreement, the investment should provide a major shot in the arm for the General, the Spring Hill area and also the United Auto Workers’ union, since the new jobs will be filled by workers laid off, in accordance with the UAW/GM National Labor agreement.
According to Mark Reuss; GM North America President; “The engines made in Spring Hill will drive the success of GM to meet our customer demands for advanced powertrains which offer high fuel economy without sacrificing performance.” He went on to say that, “this new commitment to the Spring Hill team will help GM almost triple its North American production volume of four-cylinder engines with direct injection by 2012.”
Included in the announced spending package is $23 million that will be used to add 30 hourly jobs in response to increased production of current generation Ecotec engines, beginning in the first quarter of 2011. The rest of the money and jobs are planned for development and production of the next generation of Ecotec engines, which are said to be significantly more efficient than those currently available in vehicles such as the Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse and Regal.
Mazda announced it will introduce its next generation Sky powertrain in North America in 2011.
The gasoline-based Sky-G engine and Sky-Drive automatic transmission system will make their way into production models in 2011 while the diesel-based Sky-D engine (pictured above) will reach North America in 2012.
The Sky powertrain concept is part of Mazda’s goal of improving fuel efficiency by 30% by 2015.
The Sky-G will have 15% better fuel efficiency than current engines. The Sky-D will see a 20% improvement as well as having improved torque.
Mazda says the six-speed Sky-Drive transmission will improve fuel efficiency by another 5% while offering the performance of a dual-clutch transmission.