The Volkswagen Golf is getting a little greener with the recent release of the second generation BlueMotion Rabbit. Although the alternatively fueled car is going on sale in its home market of Germany, we should expect to see the TDI powered 62 MPG Golf stateside sometime in the near future, that is if Americans can shake their distaste for diesels. Aside from the less refined fuel burning power plant Volkswagen’s engineering team has built a few more economical features into the new Golf BlueMotion, starting off with a brake energy regeneration unit. A start/stop function that automatically turns off the engine at idle to save gas when stopped at a traffic light, a gear recommendation unit to keep you on the right cog for optimum efficiency and a set of lightweight aerodynamic wheel wrapped in low rolling resistance tires as well as a slight drop in ride height.
All of those items help the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion to make the most out of what it has under the hood. That would be a 1.6 Liter TDI power plant that delivers a very economical output of 105 HP connected to a very tall five speed gear box that could theoretically lap the Nurburgring’s Nordschleif almost five times on only one gallon of diesel. Although the other gas has caught a bad wrap over the years, modern day diesel fuel is much cleaner than it used to be and the result is nothing like the soot stained chimneys on top of 18 wheelers. Most new diesel automobiles make use of high tech particulate filters and with exhaust treatment systems in order to comply with the current regulation restrictions in Europe. With less moving parts and a whole heck of lot better fuel mileage, the 21,560 Euro Golf BlueMotion is a very practical solution to personal transportation.
Along with the rest of the automotive industry, the German luxury car builder BMW announced that they are planning to follow a recipe of downsizing and turbo charging their vehicle’s power plants in an attempt to meet the stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations that have been set forth by the U.S. Government stating that every automaker’s lineup must have an average fuel economy of 35 MPG by 2015. It was at last week’s Frankfurt Motor show that BMW North America CEO, Jim O’Donnell spoke with Automotive News about the automaker’s plans to sell four cylinder equipped vehicles in the U.S. by 2012.
The innovative German automaker sees the use of BMW’s next generation turbocharger technology along with smaller displacement engines as a way of generating output levels on par with today’s engines but with much greater fuel mileage and much less emissions. The CAFE regulations state that automakers must improve the fuel economy of their fleets by 5 percent every year leading up to the national standard of 35.5 MPG for the 2016 model year.
Across the pond, BMW already sells a European 3 Series with a four cylinder power plant under the hood, the automaker’s hope is that America will be just as accepting because they are planning on downsizing the drive trains of the next generation 3 Series as well as the X1 and X3 compact sports activity vehicles. O’Donnell sounds hopeful, saying “we see potentially a significant market that could get to 100,000 four cylinder engines” in the U.S. of course. If everything goes according to the automaker’s plans, then the Germans should be good by the year 2012, three years before the deadline set by Congress. Hopefully that will leave them some time to come up with a true 2002 tii successor.
But that’s what the guys from 4Car did, although there is a catch to the so-called ‘race’. The race isn’t so much as to determine which is faster – that’s not even up for debate – but to figure out which car can come closer to its official fuel consumption figures. For the record, the Prius does 74mpg while the 911 can run up to 28 mpg. So, the bet between 4C Editor Tim Bowdler and road test editor John Mahoney is to find out which car can come closer its advertised fuel consumption.
Bowdler takes the wheel of the Prius, claiming that – unlike the previous Prius model, which failed to live up to the fuel consumption hype it generated – the new Prius puts a stamp on that claim and beats it by a wide margin. On the other hand, Mahoney takes the wheel of the 911, which, as we all know, is in a class of its own as far as fuel efficiency is concerned.
To find out who won this unusual duel, click on the link to watch the video.
When Jay Leno officially hung up his gloves as a late-night talk show host, the prevailing thought was it was only a matter of time before he ends up in front of the cameras again.
Apparently, the return was sooner than most of us thought. Leno is scheduled to debut a one-hour prime-time show, which is predictably called, ‘The Jay Leno Show’, and being a true pistonhead, Leno is pitching to include an auto-racing event as one of his key segments.
While the format for this segment seems familiar – Leno actually copied it from Top Gear’s ‘Reasonably-Priced Car Challenge’ from which, ironically, he was one of the guest drivers – the ex-late night host is adding his own personal twist into this segment.
He’s calling it the “Green Car Challenge”, which will have celebrities racing around a specially-designed track inside the NBC compound in a – you guessed it – environmentally-friendly car.
When you’re struggling to make your cars more appealing to the consumer base, you try to figure out any and whatever kind of promotion you can to make your brand more attractive.
For a car manufacturer like Suzuki who has seen their sales figures drop like swatted flies, the promotions have come in droves. There was the zero-percent financing, the customer cash-back, the military service incentives, graduate incentives, and owner loyalty incentives.
First the Korean automaker was assuring to take over your payments in the event that you couldn’t pay your bills until the end of the year. Then they were paying you to buy one of their cars until the end of the year. Well if you are worried about the upcoming summer gas hike, Hyundai has got you covered once again. With a program called gas lock, the automaker is allowing customers to buy in to a program allowing them to purchase gasoline for only $1.49, quite reassuring with prices expected to exceed $3.00 in the near future.
Our question is why are all the incentive programs being offered until the end of the year? It would have been nice if you told us about these things back in January. At least with gas Gas Lock, Hyundai promises you up to a year’s worth of liquid. It looks like the deals will only be getting better as the seasons come and go, heck they will probably be giving away Genesis Coupe’s after Christmas, if so, we’ll be in line.
While $1.49 sounds good, mid-grade and high test will come at a premium, $1.64 and $1.79 respectively. However those prices aren’t bad either, even though the Lambda V6 has been tuned to run just fine on 87 octane.
It is mid-June, the Nurburgring 24 has passed and the endurance race fans from around the world are gathering at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. That is because this Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14 racing greats from around the world are competing in the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race twice around the clock includes vehicles from the ALMS as well as the LMS racing series which are made up of two classes of GT, production car based racers, and two classes of prototypes, this year’s race will include 20 of the big boy LMP1 machines all fighting each other as well as lapped traffic for an overall win.
The big battles lately have been between Audi’s and Peugeot’s endurance racing teams at these events. The German automaker is competing in their all new R15 racecar and Peugeot is bringing back their 908, except this time it has Formula 1 derived KERS. Reports from the racetrack say that the Audi camp has gotten a hold of some unfound speed from their previous entrant, the R10. The four ringed automaker has an excellent track record at the epic endurance race, with an Audi engine winning every year since 2000. 2003 was the only year that an Audi R chassis didn’t take home the victory, that year Audi’s factory efforts lent their services to fellow members of the Volkswagen family, creating the Bentley Speed 8. Ever since 2006 Audi’s racing team has been taking advantage of the rules regarding diesel powered race cars, a trend that has caught on with Peugeot.
The future of the baby Benz is looking a little greener, which is because the German automaker will be incorporating their BlueEFFICIENCY power plants into the C-Class’s product range. The Mercedes C will benefit from added power as well as improved efficiency thanks to fuel saving technology like direct injection and modern day turbochargers and an intelligent shifting transmission.
The new diesel powered C220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY will be the most fuel efficient C-Class ever. The turbo diesel 2.1 Liter engine will make 170 HP and be able to go from 0 to 60 MPH in just 8.4 seconds, all while returning an almost Prius-like 49 MPG, and that is without any electric motors to aid with the gas wasting stop and go city driving. Whereas if you are reluctant to go with the alternative fuel here in America, for fear of limited supply, or the outrageous price; then the C250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY is what you are looking for. With its direct injected 1.8 Liter four cylinder engine that produces 204 HP, this saloon will take 7.4 seconds to go from 0 to 60 MPH while getting a CAFÉ friendly 32.6 MPG.
Both of these new efficient offerings from Mercedes Benz are reasonable solutions for helping out the environment while still enjoying the luxury of an upscale sedan. The new BlueEFFICIENCY power plants don’t compromise performance for fuel efficiency, and go to show that you don’t have to drive a hybrid to get 50 MPG, the one thing the little Toyota doesn’t have is 170 HP. Perhaps the combination of diesel fuel and a turbo works just as well as gas and electric.
The lovable little Audi A3 will be receiving a couple of new power plants thanks to the Volkswagen Group. The four ringed automaker has added an alternatively fueled four cylinder engine to the lineup in order to satisfy diesel drivers in Europe as well as increase mileage and reduce emissions. The 1.6 Liter TDI will be offered in two flavors, the first making 90 HP and the second putting down 105 HP, while torque output for the two turbo diesel engines is significantly higher.
In Europe they would say that the 1.6 TDI A3 will consume only 4.1 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers, whereas in the U.S. we would say that it gets 57.37 MPG, all while emitting minimal greenhouse gasses. This excellent ecological performance is made possible by the new vehicle’s start/stop and energy recovery systems. The turbo diesel A3 is no slouch either, the high output version is capable of going from 0 to 60 MPH in 11.4 seconds, not bad considering the vehicle gets about the same gas mileage as a Prius.
You would think that an oil company would be all for gas-guzzlers and oil burners, vehicles that would keep the cash flowing and allow those companies to maximize profits. However there is one member of the crude retailing community that is more focused on getting the most out of every drop, as opposed to selling every last one.
The Hague based operation, Shell Oil, is committed to making the most out of the limited fossil fuel, that is why they have partnered with the Scuderia Ferrari in order to push the boundaries of both performance and efficiency. The pair work together to develop fuels that burn more proficiently on the racetrack and lubricants that allow the rotating parts of the highly sophisticated Formula 1 car to move with less friction and be less of a (parasitic) drag on the machine, allowing it t to be even more fuel efficient.
Shell’s efforts at conservation are not limited to the F1 circuit.
The oil company is also the title sponsor for the Shell Eco-Marathon, a competition whose record holders have achieved the equivalent of over 7800 MPG from their fuel-efficient forward thinking machine. The Shell Eco-Marathon is held in various locations around the globe, and invites students to design, build, and test their unique vehicles, all with the same goal, use the least amount of fuel to travel the farthest distance possible. The student design teams develop vehicles that run on conventional fuels like gasoline, ethanol and diesel, as well as futuristic concepts like solar power, hydrogen and other bio-fuels.