2014 Mercedes CLA sedan: More Aerodynamic than a Prius or Tesla!

2014 mercedes CLA

When you think about the most aerodynamic cars, you typically think of the high mileage hybrid or even full electric cars like the Tesla or the Prius.

But Mercedes has taken aerodynamics to a new level with the 2014 CLA sedan, that should hit showrooms in the fall of 2013.

As Mercedes describes it:

With a Cd figure of 0.23, the CLA sets a new benchmark among not only Mercedes models, but also all series-production vehicles. The frontal surface area, Cd x A – which is crucial to aerodynamic resistance – also leads the field at 5.49 sq. ft.

The good air flow characteristics, which have a major impact on fuel consumption under everyday driving conditions, are the result of extensive aerodynamic optimization. These include a low A-pillar shoulder with adapted A-pillar geometry, aerodynamically optimized exterior mirrors, low-drag wheel trims and serrated wheel spoilers on the front and rear wheel arches.

Extensive underbody cladding, additional cladding at the center of the rear axle, an aerodynamically optimized muffler and a diffuser improve the flow of air beneath the underbody.

The Mercedes CLA is a new sedan that takes design cues from the CLS coupe.

Although the car is billed as the most aerodynamic production car on the market, it is not marketed as a high mileage vehicle, and it will not be available as a hybrid or a high mileage clean diesel, at least initially.

Read more at Autoblog.

2014 Audi Clean Diesels Coming to USA: A8, A7, A6 and Q5

Audi introduced not one but four clean diesel models at the L.A. Auto Show on November 29th. The 2014 A8, A7, A6 and Q5 will all be offered in a TDI clean diesel model.

Each TDI vehicle will feature a 3.0 TDI V6 engine that delivers as much as 30 percent better fuel economy and 30 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines. Audi says the new TDI engine generates 240 horsepower with 406 lb.-ft. of torque.

“Owners of Audi TDI engines have helped save over 4 million gallons of gasoline, or the equivalent of more than 240,000 barrels of foreign oil, since the introduction of Audi TDI to the U.S. in 2009,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “And, TDI technology delivers better fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance.”

2014 audi A8 TDI diesel
A8 TDI – Courtesy of Audi of America

Audi A8 TDI

The A8 TDI, Audi’s flagship full-size luxury sedan, will offer a manufacturer-estimated fuel efficiency of 24 MPG city and 36 MPG highway. For 2014, the A8’s engine options are dramatically expanded, moving from two variants (4.2 liter V8 and W12) to five: a 3.0T V6; a 4.0T V8; a new S8 4.0T V8; a 6.0 liter W12; and the new 3.0 TDI V6. The TDI engine powers the A8 from 0 to 60 in 6.4 seconds. It will arrive at dealerships in the spring of 2013.

2014 Audi A7 TDI diesel
A7 TDI – Courtesy of Audi of America

Audi A7 TDI

Not too many details were revealed about the Audi A7 TDI clean diesel 4-door coupe, other than it is “more fuel-efficient than ever” and that it will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2013.

2014 Audi A6 TDI diesel
A6 TDI – Courtesy of Audi of America

Audi A6 TDI

Not much was revealed about the A6 TDI sedan either, except that it will also be available in the fall of 2013.

2014 Audi Q5 TDI diesel
Q5 TDI – Courtesy of Audi of America

Audi Q5 TDI

The new TDI clean diesel engine is the fourth engine option to be offered for the Q5, adding to the current four-cylinder 2.0T, the 3.0T V6, and the Q5 hybrid. The Q5 TDI will arrive in showrooms in the fall of 2013.

Audi Q7 TDI

The currently available 2013 Audi Q7 TDI SUV also sports the same new clean diesel engine and has increased its fuel efficiency to 19 MPG city and 28 MPG highway.

Want to read more?

Car and Driver reviews the diesel version of the Audi A6 here. USA Today covers the new diesel models. And Autoblog covers the diesel introduction at the L.A. Auto Show.

See our post about the complete lineup of 2013 diesel cars for the US market.

We will keep you posted as more details become available.

2014 Mazda 6: first Japanese clean diesel car to hit the USA market

Mazda6 2014 Diesel
Courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

We’ve waited and waited for a Japanese car manufacturer to bring a clean diesel engine to the USA market, Mazda’s long-awaited clean diesel is finally coming. They announced Thursday at the L.A. Auto Show that the all-new 2014 Mazda6 will be offered with a SKYACTIVE-D 2.2-liter diesel engine. The diesel-equipped version will arrive at dealerships in the second half of 2013. There are no EPA fuel efficiency numbers available yet, but Mazda says they are targeted to be “class leading.” Mazda will be the first Asian manufacturer to offer the U.S. public a modern-technology clean-diesel engine.  The 2014 Mazda6 also will also feature Mazda’s new capacitor-based brake energy regeneration system called i-ELOOP.

“We’ve dangled the carrot long enough and we couldn’t be more excited to officially introduce North America to our latest next-generation product, the 2014 Mazda6…” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations.  He continues: “…our Los Angeles announcements are only tips of the iceberg.  The best is yet come.”

2013 Hybrid Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup

2013 Acura ILX hybrid
Acura ILX hybrid – courtesy of Acura

Wondering what’s in store for 2013 hybrid vehicles? There are plenty in the works for 2013 and beyond. New vehicles being introduced include the Acura ILX Hybrid, Audi Q5 Hybrid, BMW ActiveHybrid 3, Chevy Malibu Eco, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Lexus ES 300h, Mercedes E400 Hybrid, Toyota Prius C and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Note that we only cover traditional hybrids in this article. If you’re looking for plug-in hybrids, check out our 2013 Electric Cars in the USA article.

Acura Hybrid Cars

ILX Hybrid – (39 city /38 highway MPG) The 2013 ILX is Acura’s first hybrid car. The sedan shares the same engine as the Honda Civic Hybrid, but it doesn’t achieve the same gas mileage. Pricing starts at $29,000 and it is already in showrooms.

RLX Hybrid – Acura’s second hybrid is scheduled to arrive in early 2013. It is expected to have 370 HP and get 30/30 MPG. Pricing will be north of $50,000.


Audi Hybrid Vehicles

Q5 Hybrid – Audi introduces its first hybrid to the U.S. this fall with the Q5 crossover SUV. EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available but it should be somewhere around 34 MPG combined. Pricing is expected to be around $50,000.

A6 Hybrid – The hybrid version of the A6 sedan is also supposed to arrive this fall. It is expected to return about 35 MPG combined and have a price north of $55,000.

Audi has an A8 Hybrid debuting in Europe but does not appear to have plans to bring it to the U.S.

2013 Electric Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup

The number of electric car offerings continue to grow at a rapid pace. The options are getting more diverse and the price is coming down a bit. Just 7 EVs were available in 2011, but there will be 16 by the end of 2012 and an additional 19 models are scheduled for 2013 and beyond. New models launching this summer and fall include the Audi R8 E-Tron, Fiat 500 EV, Ford C-MAX Energi, Honda Fit EV, Smart ED, Tesla Model S, Toyota Prius Plug-in, and the Toyota RAV4 EV.

A few notes on the cars and stats listed here:

* This list includes all vehicles that have a significant all-electric range, both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids. If you’re looking for non-plug-in hybrids, look for our upcoming 2013 Hybrid Cars in the USA article.

* The electric range is an extremely variable number, and often the manufacturer quotes the range under “ideal” conditions (low speed, flat roads, moderate temperatures, no heat or A/C on). Be aware that the range can change significantly in not-so-ideal conditions. The Nissan Leaf website has a good explanation on range (click the colored squares for different conditions). The Leaf’s range goes from 138 to 62 depending on conditions!

* The battery charging times are also extremely variable, depending on how high the voltage is, and whether they are quoting time from 0-100% charge, or 20-80% charge, or something in between. Wherever possible, the times we quote are from 0-100% from a dedicated 240-volt outlet.

* Pricing is given before any tax credits. You can view information on federal tax incentives here, and state tax incentives here.


Alvarez Electric Motors

This fledgling California company has announced they will be offering three inexpensive, Chinese-built EVs. All have a short range and top speed of only 25 MPH. But the price is nice: $10,000 for a 2-seater, $17,000 for a van and $18,000 for a truck. Their first dealership is opening in Irvine, CA, in August.


Audi Electric Vehicles

A3 E-Tron – Audi brought 17 test models of its plug-in electric car to U.S. cities this summer, but it looks like it won’t be hitting showrooms until 2014. It is expected to have 134 horsepower, a top speed of 89 MPH and a 92-mile range.

R8 E-Tron – The plug-in version of Audi’s R8 high-end sports car is expected to go on sale this fall. It has set electric car speed records and is reported to go from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, with a 124 MPH top speed and  a 134-mile range.

Plans for electric versions of the A1 and A2 have been discontinued.