15 Best Performance Diesel Cars

Aside from a few exceptions, production turbo diesels are not made with purely performance in mind, there is no diesel powered R26-R rival for example. They are all sensible and economical cars, it’s just that some happen to have a performance aspect to them too.

As you all know, the beauty of tuning is you can get a car and adjust things to focus on the things you are interested in, in our case performance, and turbo diesels are just as ripe for this as the petrol powered cars we are used to seeing.

Certain turbo diesels have been blessed from the factory with attributes that make them a great base for anything from a performance daily to a track weapon, and here are our favourites…


Audi A4 B7 3.0 TDi Quattro

Tuning: Since scooping Le Mans victories with its oil-burning race cars, Audi has been keen to show what a performance diesel can achieve. The A4’s 3.0-ltr six-pot is no exception, offering 229bhp, 332 lb/ft, 152mph and 0 to 60mph in 6.6 seconds as standard, in saloon or estate guise. If that’s not enough, a software remap will take it to 270bhp, along with a 90 lb/ft torque increase. Add a Milltek stainless exhaust system with cat bypass pipe, and the A4 can chase even the mighty BMW 335D. Naturally, you’ll also want to bolt on some coilover suspension, whopping big brakes and the usual Audi styling kit – like RS4 rims and bodykit.

Petrol Equivalent: There’s the petrol-powered six-cylinder 3.2ltr FSI Quattro, offering 252bhp and 243 lb/ ft torque. Then there’s the S4, with V8 grunt, 339bhp and 302 lb/ft. Somehow, the TDI can hold its head high, especially when remapped. It’s quicker in-gear than the FSI, although can’t quite match the engine note or poise – but with similar driveability, even some S4 owners opt for a TDI next time around.