NEW YORK – Audi of America Inc.’s ‘09 Q7 powered by the auto maker’s 3.0L TDI V-6 diesel will base at $50,900, not including an $825 destination charge or $1,150 federal tax credit.

The base model features Audi’s S trim package, which includes standard 19-in. wheels, bolder bumper styling and brushed-aluminum interior trim, providing the diesel Q7 with a more aggressive appearance.

The price reflects a $3,000 premium above the gasoline-fueled model. Audi says it already has orders for the diesel cross/utility vehicle despite the fact dealers received pricing info only a few days ago. The diesel is certified for sale in all 50 states.

Johan de Nysschen, Audi's North American chief, on hand here for the New York International Auto Show, says American consumers are a generation behind in their thinking about diesel technology.

“But the time has come to forget outdated (views) about diesel engines and fuel,” he says. “Clean diesels now have excellent economy and performance and can help the U.S. lessen its reliance on foreign petroleum.”

He notes that other alternative fuel technologies are prohibitively expensive.

“Clean diesels are here right now, and the technology is too good to ignore,” de Nysschen says.

Audi expects 10,000-12,000 Q7 TDI sales in the U.S. and 50,000 units globally. China and Russia are expected to be the runners up in sales volume.