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Audi in with diesel and hybrids

Le Mans-winning tech to bring the 'cleanest diesel engine in the world' to the consumers by mid-2008.

Audi TT
Audi TT Candace Lombardi/CNET Networks

We know Audi has the fastest diesel engine in the world, but does it also have the cleanest one?

Many car companies have been touting diesel engine technology as the short-term solution to fuel prices and environmental concerns. Others are making hybrids or concentrating on improving the efficiency of gas engines.

Audi may have something that will blow them all away.

The company plans to incorporate the TDI (turbocharged direct injection) technology that was used in its Le Mans-winning R10 TDI sports car into its existing line of consumer cars. That's not surprising.

Here's the kicker.

The company claimed in its announcement that it will be selling cars with "the cleanest diesel technology in the world" by mid-2008.

It's a pretty bold statement considering Honda showcased a diesel Accord that gets 62 miles per gallon.

Of course, that Honda won't be out until 2010 and Audi said "cleanest," not most fuel-efficient, so maybe there's some wiggle room there.

The new extra-efficient versions of existing Audi models will be designated with an "e." Some of them will be diesel and some more fuel-efficient gas engine cars, with hybrids also in the works.

Audi said in a statement that its "e" cars will beat "the most stringent emissions limits that are to be applied in the future in Europe as soon as production starts." I think Audi is aiming to beat out the Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTec, which won the next World Green Car Award, in addition to winning over consumers.

I guess winning World Car Design of the Year and World Car Performance for 2007 just wasn't good enough.