In 1989, a small German automaker named Audi introduced the first of an estimated 7.5 million TDI engines built since then. Debuting on the Audi 100, today’s TDI engines can be found not just in Audi’s production cars, but on the race track as well. In the quarter-century since the first TDI engine was built, Audi has managed to reduce pollution emissions by some 98% while doubling the power output of its turbodiesel powerplants.
The first TDI engine was a 120 horsepower 2.5 liter five-cylinder making 195 ft-lbs of torque, and was one of the first “modern” diesel engines to offer more than 40 MPG and a top speed of over 120 MPH. At the time, many diesel-powered cars were lucky to break 90. It took thirteen years of development to get those sorts of figures, those advancements in TDI technology have since accelerated.
Speaking of acceleration, Audi’s TDI engines have had a lot of success on the race track as well, most notably at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which the German brand won (again) this year. And from that single five-cylinder engine, there are now over 140 different TDI engine and transmission combinations, including the all-new 2015 Audi A7 Sportback TDI. Sales of Audi TDI engines exploded in 2013, up 40% compared to 2012, and this year the take rate should be even higher as much of America has caught diesel fever.
Makes you wonder what the next 25 years of TDI technology has in store.