Three new Audi TDI clean diesel models far exceeded their federally published fuel economy ratings in completing the “Truth in 48” cross-country efficiency drive that covered more than 2,850 miles between Southern California and New York.
The challenge taken on by eight drivers over the weekend involved a non-stop drive from Audi Pacific in Torrance, Calif. to Audi Manhattan in New York City. From beginning to end, the drivers could stop no more than four times to fill up with clean diesel fuel provided by Shell Oil Co. They had to reach their destination within 48 hours, traveling at normal highway speeds in the newest Audi TDI models – the 2014 Audi A6 TDI, 2014 Audi A7 TDI and 2014 Audi Q5 TDI.
The challenge and the results
“Crossing the United States in fewer than 48 hours is a hurdle few have ever contemplated let alone completed,” said Wayne Gerdes, one of the nation’s leading high-mileage driving experts and owner of CleanMPG.com. “To complete that journey while also beating an automobile’s EPA highway fuel economy rating seemed even more impossible.”
The driving teams made up of other hypermilers and journalists split into a team driving the Audi A6 TDI and a team for the Audi A7 TDI. The Audi Q5 TDI served as a support vehicle carrying spare tires, supplies and luggage.
• A6 TDI: 43.561 mpg at an average speed of 62.44 mph. That’s 15% better than the EPA highway mileage and 50% better than the EPA combined rating. The EPA rates the A6 TDI at 24 mpg city / 38 mpg highway / 29 mpg combined driving).
• A7 TDI: 42.653 mpg at an average speed of 62.17 mph. That’s 12% better than the EPA highway mileage and a whopping 47% better than the EPA combined rating. (The EPA rates the A7 TDI at 24 mpg city / 38 mpg highway / 29 mpg combined driving).
• Q5 TDI: 38.623 mpg at an average speed of 61.90 mph. That’s 24.5% better than the EPA highway mileage and 43% better than the EPA combined (The EPA rated the Q5 TDI at 24 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 27 mpg combined driving).
Overall the leading A6 TDI consumed just 66.08 gallons of clean diesel fuel driving from coast to coast.
Impressions from drivers
Wayne Gerdes (#Truthin48 organizer and owner of CleanMPG.com): “The A6 TDI, A7 TDI, and Q5 TDI don’t just represent the epitome of luxury and performance, they now represent class leading fuel efficiency.”
Sebastian Blanco (Editor, Autoblog Green): “Spending 48 hours – actually 46 – in the A7 TDI going from LA to NYC proves that the official fuel economy rating is less than accurate. Either the EPA doesn’t know how to test diesels or Audi know how to build them well. Or maybe both.”
Jill Ciminillo (Writer for Chicago Now, other outlets): “I was a bit skeptical that we could drive through mountains and still reach EPA estimates – while going the speed limit. But we did it! And in less than 48 hours. It just really goes to show how impressive the TDI engines are in the 2014 Audis. I tend to be a bit of a speed demon, and I was amazed that I didn’t have to drive slowly to achieve the fuel economy numbers. It’s the best of both worlds — driving at speed and being fuel efficient. Kind of makes spending 46 hours straight in a car with 3 other unshowered people worth it.”
Christian Moe (Contributor Road & Track Online): It takes an immensely impressive powertrain to deliver these economy numbers at the speeds we were traveling, but the most amazing part is just how easy it was. I just pointed the A6 and went. It did all the hard work. Phenomenal.”