A Diesel In Every Driveway?

A new breed of engines sparks a race for market share

Klaus Zintz, a die-hard fan of the original Volkswagen Beetle, likes to tool around Stuttgart in his 1977 convertible bug. But when the 44-year-old biologist went shopping this summer for a New Beetle, in white with a sunroof, he opted for a diesel engine as well. He likes the improved fuel economy--5.2 liters of fuel to go 100 kilometers, compared to 8.7 liters for the gas-powered version. And Zintz, an outdoorsman whose walls are covered with photographs of visits to the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness, is no longer worried that a diesel engine will hurt the environment. "It used to be, diesels were lame and stinky," says Zintz. "The technology is so much better now, and they're fun to drive, too."

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