A SUPER car of the future that sips rather than guzzles — delivering out-of-this-world miles per gallon — is probably being tested at this very moment in the Nevada Desert or some such secret place away from prying eyes.
In the meantime, many conscience-ridden motorists around the real world are playing catch-up, swapping their dirty old diesels and petrol-gulping everyday motors for something approaching a zero-emissions vehicle.
Imagine our roads entirely populated by zero-emissions vehicles. “Ain’t gonna happen,” I hear you say. Well, maybe not for a couple of lifetimes. Yet the quest by carmakers to produce even greener cars within our own lifetime continues at good speed. Take this week’s drive, the Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TDI Ultra SE.
The clue, of course, is in the name: Ultra. Audi is arguably among carmakers at the forefront of finding ways of producing cars that are, let’s say, more socially acceptable for future generations. We know there will be a heck of a lot more vehicles on the roads as the years pass and Audi it seems to me is tackling the whole ethos of car ownership head on.
Of course, they want to sell them to you and the more the merrier. But I like the way they are trying to create a more acceptable motoring world.
This manifests itself in workshops that make cars that are wholly recyclable. But not only that: Audi engines are getting greener by the minute, too.
The “Ultra” technology in this A5 aims to take another big step along the road to cleaner cars. The evidence is there in the techy detail: here we have a car, the A5, sporting a 2-litre diesel engine that produces impressive CO2 emissions of 102g/km, while not compromising on torque (pulling power) or top speed (140mph) or 0 to 62mph performance (8.3 seconds). Fuel consumption is 67.3mpg on the combined cycle. Now I know that for many motorists these “anorak” numbers supplied by manufacturers can be so much gobbledegook and have caused controversy. But the fact is that on the evidence of driving the A5 Ultra this week, one thing is for sure: the car sips fuel in a way that for a big handsome car with good design lines and head-turning brilliant red livery is quite astounding.
The A5 Ultra may be parsimonious with fuel but is not too shabby when it comes to performance. If you want the power it is there. If you want to drive nobly and with a clear conscience then the car has the ability to do that, too.
Many new vehicles “prompt” the driver to change gear for better fuel efficiency: the A5 Ultra is no exception. And if you drive using the gear-changing “guide” like a mantra playing inside your driver’s head, then you will I am sure achieve those desirable, high miles-per-gallon figures.
When considering the Audi A5 Ultra you can get a bit carried away with what is going on under the bonnet but the rest is not half bad either: comfortable black Nappa leather seats and a Bang and Olufsen sound system that delivers Motown or Mozart in copious, sweet-sounding chunks as if you are there in the front stalls.
Ultra means, according to one dictionary, going beyond what is ordinary. Ordinary in car ownership at present is the great mismatch of vehicles on our roads, many of which might never pass a reasonable emissions test let alone being declared “clean” or ultra clean. So I can invoke with confidence that old maxim: way to go Audi.
Car tested: A5 Coupé SE 2.0 TDI ultra (163 PS) six-speed manual
• Total cost of test model: £37,030
• Options include: Assistance package with adaptive cruise control with braking guard and Audi active lane assist
• MMI Navigation system plus
• Audi Music Interface
• New ultra versions of A4, A4 Avant and A5 Coupé now available
• With CO2 outputs of as little as 109g/km the three new A4 and A5 TDI ultra models undercut low emissions figures achieved by the familiar TDIe versions in each range