A battle of torque, efficiency, and German luxury
Want This, Get This: Audi A8 L TDI or BMW 328d xDrive
The Germans are all over the diesel car market. Which makes complete sense: those Europeans are passionate about the practicality that diesel-powered cars provide, not to mention the kind of torque that can pull Tyrannosaur teeth from their sockets. If you want a capable German diesel that nets both solid mileage numbers, good driving dynamics and the aesthetics and comfort a stylish German sedan affords, then look to Audi and BMW at the two ends of the price spectrum.
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2015 Audi A8 L TDI
As if the killer 42.9 inches of legroom in back wasn’t enough, the Ingolstadt bunch decides to put a potent diesel powertrain under hood in the form of a six cylinder engine with 240 hp and a whopping 428 lb-feet of torque. Sixty mph arrives at a mediocre 6.3 seconds, but it’ll hit 36 mpg on the highway — making it nearly as efficient as a Hyundai Elantra, but with about 100 times more street cred. The lightweight, super-stiff aluminum frame enhances performance and handling, and the quattro all-wheel drive keeps the rubber planted as you weave along wet roads. Inside you’ll find limousine-like comfort: the expanse of real wood along the dash and doors is dark and rich, while every touch from the robust shift knob to the satin finish metal and contrast stitching are exercises in beauty. Both the the big 7-inch display screen that rises from the dash and the retractable Bang & Olufsen speakers might have you playing with the big Audi a little too much.
2014 BMW 328d xDrive
The 328d doesn’t have the awesome size of the A8 L, but it’s still impressive diesel-powered transportation. Most prominently, the 328d features a torquey (280 lb-ft, available at a mere 1,750 rpms) 2.0-liter twin turbo diesel with 180 horsepower. With the quick-shifting and super-efficient 8-speed automatic transmission, the 328d gets to 60 in a hair over seven seconds. It gets 43 mpg highway, the kind of number that makes even a Prius a bit nervous. The regenerative braking feature stores energy in the battery that’s used for electricity without sapping the 328d’s fuel. Intelligent all-wheel-drive reduces both under- and oversteer, while the classic BMW weight ratio aids in the handling department. And though the diesel Bimmer can’t match the big Audi’s interior digs, there’s plenty to like about the sporty atmosphere the 328d provides with plenty of leather, brushed aluminum trim and a deliciously fat steering wheel.