The 7 Best Diesel-Powered Cars on the Road

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The 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel. Photo: Porsche

There are a lot of good reasons to consider switching to a diesel-powered car: they’re more efficient, more reliable and just may be the future of the automotive industry. If you’re interested, here are the seven best diesels on the road today (or coming soon), from Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW.

2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

To be unveiled in April at the New York Auto Show, the 2013 Cayenne (pictured above) is Porsche’s first foray into the world of diesel power. With a 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel engine with 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque, the Cayenne Diesel does 0 to 60mph in 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 135mph. That power comes with 20mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway, so you get the best of both worlds.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The VW Jetta TDI. Photo: Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

Despite an October safety recall by VW, the Jetta line of turbodiesel cars is a good one. The TDI sedan gets an impressive 42 miles to the gallon on the highway and 30mpg in the city. It also kicks the image of diesel as a dirty fuel to the curb: According to VW, its engine produces “90% less sooty emissions than diesels of old.”

BMW X5 xDrive35d

The BMW X5 xDrive35d. Photo: BMW

Rumored since last August, the X5 xDrive35d comes with a V-8 engine and 265 horses, enough to beat the Porsche Cayenne’s 0 to 60mph time, clocking in at 6.9 seconds. The small SUV lives up to BMW’s reputation for luxury and quality, with state of the art entertainment and safety systems. Getting 26mpg on the highway, you can drive for nearly 600 miles before stopping to gas up, giving you more time to enjoy the ride.

2012 Audi Q7 TDI

The Audi Q7 TDI. Photo: Audi of America

Audi goes toe to toe with BMW on quality, and the TDI keeps the heat up on the competition. The Q7 seats seven and has all the latest technology to keep everyone comfortable, but the 3.0 TDI clean diesel engine is the star of the show. It pumps out 406 lb-ft of torque and 225hp, all while producing 20 percent fewer CO2 emissions than comparable gasoline engines, according to Audi.

Volkswagen Golf TDI

The VW Golf TDI. Photo: dailymatador/ Creative Commons

The hatchback Golf shares a TDI engine with the Jetta, so it gets the same 42mpg on the highway as its brother. The Turbo edition adds some kick to the numbers, while keeping things clean, thanks to a “trap and burn system” that keeps sooty emissions from escaping into the atmosphere.

2011 Mercedes E350 Blue TEC

The Mercedes E350 BlueTEC. Photo: Mercedes-Benz USA

Among the most fuel-efficient luxury cars out there, Mercedes’ E350 is a mid-sized sedan with a V6 engine that produces 210 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes has been producing diesel-powered cars since 1936, and the experience shows: the E350 gets 34mpg on the highway and goes from 0 to 60mph in 7.2 seconds. It can be yours for under $52,000.

2011 BMW 335d

The BMW 335d. Photo: BMW

BMW’s luxury-performance sedan combines fuel-efficiency with power. The 3.0 liter engine goes from 0 to 60mph in under seven seconds, seats five and gets 36mpg on the highway, 23mpg in the city. At $44,150, it’s the most fuel-efficient car BMW has ever sold in North America; and according to The Diesel Driver, it goes 40 percent farther on a tank than its gasoline-powered siblings.

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