Hypermilers Shatter Audi TDI Fuel-Economy Figures

2014AudiTDIs

A trio of 2014 Audi diesel models logged mileage figures that obliterated their EPA estimates during a two-day, coast-to-coast road trip last weekend. A group of hypermilers set out to prove just how far they could go on as little fuel as possible. The most impressive performance came courtesy of the new Audi A6 TDI sedan, which completed the journey with a combined fuel-economy figure that was 50% better than its corresponding EPA rating.

The A6 drove at an average speed of 62.44 mph and consumed a total of only 66.08 gallons of fuel for a recorded 43.56 mpg — 15% better than the EPA highway-mileage rating and 50% better than its combined rating (the EPA lists it at 24/38/29 mpg city/highway/combined). The A7 TDI sedan, whose EPA estimates mirror those of the A6, logged mileage of 42.65 at an average speed of 62.17 mph — 12% better than its highway rating and 47% better than the combined figure. Meanwhile, the Q5 TDI compact crossover, serving in the challenge as a support vehicle carrying luggage and supplies, still managed 38.62 mpg at an average speed of 61.9 mph, 24.5% better than its EPA highway rating and 43% better than its combined rating (24/31/27 mpg).

Drivers in the "Truth in 48" challenge included Wayne Gerdes, Sebastian Blanco, Jill Ciminillo and Christian Moe. Teams making the 2,850-mile trip between Southern California and New York City were tasked with completing the journey in 48 hours, stopping to refuel only four times; they finished in 46 hours, 9 minutes.

Ciminillo said she was surprised by the results. "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," she said, lauding the efficiency of the 2014 Audi TDIs. "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 three other unshowered people worth it."

Related
Gas-Saving Moment of the Day: Hypermiling

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Audi to Bring More Diesel Models to the U.S. Market

Comments 

attgig

how about driving a rush hour commute for a week along DC's beltway, and tell me how the MPG's are.... there's some real life tests for you.

AgentMike

attgig: that's why they make hybrids :)

Its cool to see that they are using diesel engines which seem to get better gas milage.

carma

Consumer Reports squeezed 49 miles per gallon from a non-hybrid gasoline Honda Accord at highway speeds. Almost all cars get great mileage on the highway, so I would not spend extra for a slower diesel drive train that uses expensive and stinky diesel fuel. Then there's the urea additive for $32 per gallon and the expensive fuel additives to prevent the fuel from gelling in colder weather. I'll stick with my Prius that delivers 57 mpg on the highway and my highlander limited that delivers 27 mpg on cheaper, easy to find gasoline. Buy a diesel and the extra costs will offset the savings from the excellent mileage achieved by these skilled hyper milers.

MPG

Truth is that you can do this with many cars while diesel might be the best tool for hypermiling. I have 2003 Honda accord 2.4L, 5-sp manual as daily driver (rated 34MPG highway). My wife use to get 29-32 MPG driving 90% highway (50% in rush hour). I do the same thing now and without hypermiling get 38MPG, with hypermiling I get 42MPG. I always fill up on the same gas station and in 80% of the case same pump. I have detailed record of my MPG including weather condition for each tank. Also, I go 55mph on highway (60MPH speed limit) when I drive to work. Back from work it is rush hour with few congestion points.

billy joe

Wow those apples sure aren't oranges are they? These cars are not a 2003 4-cylinder Honda Accord or a prius. Heck, I could get 60+ mpg in a 1992 geo metro, it doesn't make it as impressive as this.

The A6 and A7 are luxury AWD sport sedans that weigh close to 2 tons and are capable of 0-60 in 5.5 seconds. Find me any vehicle that can come with 2 seconds of that (2003 4-cylinder honda accord takes 8.6 seconds; didn't bother to look up the prius but I'm sure it is ~10seconds), seats four in luxury and weighs anywhere in the ballpark (2003 accord or a prius weighs ~800lbs less) that can equal those mpg numbers, much less in the kind of comfort one of these audis can provide. It is easy to make an econobox like a prius get great mileage, only slightly more difficult for a 4cylinder family sedan. This is a whole different animal.

As for Urea... $50-100 for a tank every 10,000 miles really isn't going to dent the fuel economy savings, nor is the 10% premium you pay for diesel over gasoline when diesel engines are 30% more efficient. Oh, and any gas car comparable to an A6 or A7 is going to require premium gas which is as expensive as diesel where I live.

One last thing: these drivers weren't all hypermilers, half were automotive journalists and one (Moe) is from Road & Track, I doubt he was pulsing and drifting all that much.

responder

BJ,
you summed it up well. If you want economy buy an Accord or Prius. The A6 swills expensive diesel in city driving - 24 mpg is not exceptional. If I'm going to spend extra dollars on the sticker to get good mpg, I'll buy a hybrid, which gets double the mileage of any of these diesel cars in the city using less expensive gasoline. If I want luxury and performance, a diesel is the last option on the list. I'm not really interested in waiting in line behind some big rigs to fill up at the truck stop either.

Kenji

I'm currently driving a 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and with ~10k miles on the odo and am averaging 43 mpg in combined driving, about 40% freeway, 30% 45 mph parkway, and 30% stop & go. About 10 years ago I lived in the UK where I drove a similarly-sized Ford Mondeo TDCi diesel sedan. That car returned 40-42 mpg (US), but the character of the cars couldn't be more different. To get 43 mpg in a Fusion Hybrid (or to get 50+ mpg in a Prius) requires a light foot on the throttle pedal. To get 40+ mpg in the Mondeo diesel took no effort at all. I drove 90 mph+ on British motorways, enjoyed push-you-back-in-your-seat acceleration around town and when overtaking, and gave no thought at all to driving economically, yet still achieved great results.

Take a look at what owners of hybrids and diesels report on fueleconomy.gov and other self-reporting websites. Only a few hybrid owners meet the combined mileage ratings for their vehicles, while only a few diesel owners do not.

responder

Bj,
One more thing - A prius/A6 comparison is not apples to oranges at all. Both cars are considered mid-size and in fact the Prius has 115 cubic feet of interior volume, compared to the 112 cubic feet of the more cramped A6.

Kenji, don't compare modern hybrids to 10 year old euro diesels. The US has stringent air emissions standards that your filthy mondeo would not pass, so your comments are irrelevant.

billy joe

responder,

Apples and oranges are roughly the same size, but are not the same thing. The Prius and the A7 are roughly the same size but not the same thing.

I mean, why go to a nice restaurant when you can fill you stomach with a Mcdouble for $1, right? It fills you caloric needs and much more efficiently. It's more convenient, takes less time and is open 24 hours. The McDonalds building is similar in size to the nice restaurant, and they both serve food.

A single-wide in the trailer-park may have more square feet than a Manhattan apartment that costs 20x more, but they aren't really the same thing. I mean you can live in either place and they both keep the rain off.

Perhaps, you can live in a trailer, drive a prius and eat a McDouble and convince yourself that it is just as good as driving an A7 from your penthouse to a 5-star restaurant. Not many people will agree with you. If you can, more power to you, you'll save a ton of money.

MPG

BJ,
and your point is? I think you are not very well versed in cars. New Honda accord is no way "econo box" and can hit very high gas mileage (>40MPG just drive it gently, tried myself). Seats 5 (not 4) and is very nicely done inside, softer than Audi and has many gadgets. I don't see any special comfort in Audi.
The numbers stated in this article are not impressive. My old 2006 E46 BMW M3 (competition package with 6-sp manual) when driven 65MPH on highway for ~150 miles was hitting 28MPG. if I hypermile it, it would go over 30MPG easy. That is car that would hit 60mph in 4.8sec.
If you have ever owned Audi (as I did with B5 S4) you would know that any issue will cost you dearly, while Honda/Prius are very cheap to maintain and very dependable.

billy joe

MPG,

How on earth would you "see" comfort? It has to do with ride quality and handling. Since you owned an M3 I would think you could understand the difference between a German luxury sport sedan and a Honda Accord. If not, why on earth did you buy the M3 and not an accord? Speed? You could have bought a GT500 mustang for a lower price and it has more horsepower than the M3 and lots of gadgets (by the way every car has gadgets now, this is not a selling point). It goes faster than the M3 0-60. Must be better right? Oh, no wait... you might have wanted to go around a corner or not have your teeth rattled out of your head. You pay extra for handling and refinement. Like I said earlier, if those don't matter to you, but the cheaper car and be happy. Just don't be disingenuous and pretend like they don't matter to anyone or don't exist at all. If they didn't matter you would have never bought an M3.

As to efficiency: Driving your M3 at highway speeds got you 28mpg, that's super. The A6 got 43. That is 53% more miles per gallon; I don't know about you, but I call that pretty significant. Even if you hypermile it and get 32 the audi is still getting 35% better mileage. The SUV that was carrying the spare tires and support equipment beats the M3 hypermiling number by 20%. The SUV... beats it... by 20%.

Do you see my point yet? These cars look gorgeous, accelerate very well, handle beautifully without sacrificing much ride comfort, have all wheel drive, have beautifully appointed interiors all this AND they get class leading MPG. Of course you can find cars that do a couple of the things better (M3: handling and acceleration)) and you can find cars that do several of those things as well (4 cyl Accord: size, available features, close in MPG), you can even find a car that does one thing MUCH better (Prius: MPG). But you will not find anything that does everything as well or better than this.

L

As usually it's either love or hate the diesels. I am so excited they put diesels in the Audis - I have a Jetta diesel. I drive mostly highway - 43 miles each way in northern VA and hit stop and go traffic the last 15 miles of my commute. I average 47 mpg in my Jetta with a manual trans. I've never had a problem finding diesel and not every fuel station has the diesel pumps in the back with the big rigs. I can understand a hybrid if you live in a big city but don't throw stones at the diesels until you've actually lived with one - you will be pleasently surprised by how great they are!

james

boy you can tell theres a lot of uniformed people on here ,diesels are quick ,dont stink ,and are more efficient then there gas powered counterparts ,and yes i have been driving them for years ,and there powerplants will long outlast the battery pack in a hybrid ,im not saying they are for everyone ,but not everyone lives in a city and has stop and go commute , buy what suits you best ,and really anyone who compares an audi a6 to a prius ,is just showing how little they do know

MPG

BJ,

there is no point discussing it with you any more. You are one of the guys (and I know few) that is mesmerized with anything that comes from Germany and is ready to pay whatever they ask for.
GT500 is a nose heavy car with poor chassis stiffness and you can feel that in turns. HP are not that important. If I had bigger budget i would have gone with GTR vs. Porsche 911TT. Not everything that comes from Germany is worth premium.
Audi is one example of that. I test drove TTRS (not impressed) and checked A6 (did not drive it my friend did). We were not impressed with it either (he ended up with Lexus).
I can find many cars that do all of the things better than Audi(s) from this article. And they will be cheaper to maintain.

billy joe

MPG,

Of course the GT500 has a terrible chassis and would not be a suitable substitute for your M3, that was the point. It was almost as laughable as you comparing an Accord to the A6.

And wow, "many cars that do all of the things better than Audi", eh? Color me surprised as you have yet to name one. Unless you were serious about a 4-cylinder Accord, in which case you are a irredeemably silly person.

And no, I'm not someone who worships German makes. The TTRS you mentioned is a good example of a bad German car. Overpriced and unrefined which is not surprising as it rides on a modified Golf chassis. The Golf does well for a 20-30k car, but not really acceptable in TTRS price range. Also, most of the AMG Mercedes are stupidly stiff and overpowered. BMWs drive great but have been getting progressively uglier for the better part of a decade.

I'm still waiting to hear even one of these "many" cars that are faster and more efficient than the A6 with similar level of refinement, handling and looks and AWD utility. They evidently grow on trees...

Rich

The big difference between the TDI and Hybrids is the TDIs are a blast to drive. Also, everybody keeps mentioning Urea, this isn't a BMW, the Audi / VW TDI engines do not use Urea injections.

I have about 120,000 miles of my '09 Jetta TDI and would have no issues buying another vehicle with a similar engine. But, I also live in a place that basically has highways as city roads.

billy joe

Rich,

It's not just BMW and Mercedes that require urea. The jetta and Golf TDI engine doesn't use Urea, but the 4 cylinder in the new Passat and all of the V6 TDIs (audi and VW)require it. That is how the Passat gets better mileage than the Jetta even though it is bigger and heavier. The urea allows for better optimization for efficiency rather than emissions.

The only other diesel that doesn't need urea to meet US regs is the Mazda skyactiv-d, but the release date on that has been pushed back, so maybe they are having trouble getting it to pass testing.

The new Golf arrives next year with a tweaked engine, I'm not sure if it will need urea or not.

Eric

I have the newly released Audi A6 TDI and it is an impressive machine. Not only does it get impressive gas mileage, it has 428 ft pounds of torque, can accelerate 0-60 in ~5 seconds, and is torsen AWD that provides amazing stability and handling even on slippery surfaces. This car really shines living in the Pacific Northwest where the roads are wet most of the year. Also, it is far more luxurious than a prius or 2003 honda.

Mack

Eric, I hope you use diesel fuel additives at all times, because diesel fuel holds and absorbs lots of water and you don't want to replace your injectors and other parts of the fuel delivery system because of bad fuel. Also don't let your urea tank run dry. Yes, having to pay $35 per gallon for the stuff at the dealer is expensive, but the car's computer will shut down the engine and strand you if you let the urea tank go empty. Don't be too put off when you get stuck between two big rigs and have to wait for ten minutes to get some diesel fuel at the truck stop, or if you have to pay 40 cents more per gallon than gasoline. On second thought maybe you should have purchased a hybrid.

billy joe

Mack,

Your arguments are as disingenuous as the idiots who argue against hybrids by saying "just wait until you have to replace the batteries" while ignoring that hybrid batteries have been shown to average over 150,000 miles. Can we agree to stop using ridiculous hyperbole on both sides of this argument? Hybrids don't need batteries every year or two and diesel isn't smelly and only available at truck stops (over 50% of gas stations carry diesel). Urea isn't expensive anymore (you can buy it for around $6/gallon today) and only needs to be added every 10,000 miles (for a price of about a penny every three miles). Also, I'm sure that despite 50% of cars in Europe running on the stuff and a good portion of the rest of the world no far behind in diesel use, engineers have not figured out a way to design around the whole diesel holds more water in suspension than gasoline problem. This is probably why diesel engines have such short lifespans when compared to gasoline engines, right? We have the misinformation out of the way now? Great.

Now, find me a hybrid with anywhere near the luxury and performance of an Audi diesel with better mpg. I'll wait...

Mack

Billy joe,
My post was not about arguments, it was about facts. If you think audi is the pinnacle of luxury and performance buy the tdi. If you want more performance and less fuel costs and no urea costs and no fuel additive costs, buy a gasoline audi. The concept of luxury is subjective . A couple folks posted that they like the Honda Accord as much or better than the A6. With the new Accord hybrid delivering 50 mpg in the city they might say it's twice the car of the A6 tdi. For the same money as a loaded A6 you can buy a Tesla model S, a car that hits 60 MPH faster than the Tdi, with an electric drivetrain that blows the tdi out of the water on cost per mile. Consumer reports rated it higher than any audi in fact.

Bob

I am going to have to side with Billy Joe.
After many years of happy Toyota ownership we bought a VW Golf TDI.
I wanted something that got excellent gas mileage and to be honest the handling and styling of a Prius is a joke.

Our TDI has averaged 43mpg for the 24,000 miles we have owned it which is way above the EPA ratings.

Handling is phenomenal and we visit the gas station every two weeks.

sixers4life

Who cares about which car does better on mileage just but what u can afford

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