2009 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro Diesel

2009 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro Diesel 2009 Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro Diesel
Short Take Road Test

From the TT TDI to the A5 3.0 TDI to the Le Mans–winning R10 TDI race car, Audi builds some of the world’s most appealing and innovative diesel-powered vehicles. Not that Americans would know, since Audi has declined to sell a single one in the U.S. But after years of “research,” Audi is about to dip a toe into U.S. diesel waters with its upcoming Q7 3.0 TDI, poised to go on sale in early 2009. Under its tall hood will be Audi’s stellar 221-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 that produces a fabulous 406 pound-feet of torque, modified specifically for the U.S. with an AdBlue-enhanced “ultra-low emission system” that Audi claims makes it the world’s cleanest diesel engine.

To pave the way for the Q7 3.0 TDI’s arrival, as well as any additional diesel Audis we might get later, Audi hosted a two-week, 4800-mile cross-country PR blitz called the Audi Mileage Marathon. During the marathon, 23 diesel-powered Audis zigzagged the country from New York to Los Angeles with two-person journalist teams competing with one another to see how efficiently they could cover each of four sections. Speed also factored into Audi’s complicated math, as this was an efficiency challenge, not just a raw fuel-economy challenge. Sounded like as good a first drive opportunity as any.

We signed up for the first wave, taking us from the Big Apple to Chicago over three days, via Washington, D.C., and Cleveland, Ohio. The timing was perfect, with mild fall temps, gorgeous foliage, and memories of our recent mileage-maximizing driving tips feature dancing through our heads. And we planned to use each one of those tips to win.

Here’s a day-by-day account of how it went.