Performance and Economy? Why have one or the other, when you could have both? read more!
Many people are under the illusion that fast cars are not very fuel efficient, and that cars that sip fuel are slow. But I've been thinking, and asked myself why have either performance/economy when there are cars out there that will offer both depending on what mood you're in?!
So to kick things off, here are 3 cars i can think of that offer pretty good performance (extreme in the 1st instance!) but not bad fuel economy either! Feel free to add more!
1. Caterham R500 superlight - Although a little too extreme for most, both performance wise and practicality wise, the Caterham R500 does 0-60 in an astonishing 2.8 seconds, and has the same power/weight ratio as a 1000 BHP Bugatti Veyron! And yet, when driven sensibly, will still return around or over 40 MPG!
2. Another one from Lotus - New Elise, the basic model may be down on power, but it's so light, it still does 0-60 in 6 seconds flat, but the amazing thing is, it will do an incredible 56 MPG with a little effort! The C02 emissions are extremely low too at only 149 grams per KM!
3. Jaguar XF - it may have a 3.0 litre V6 engine and nearly 300 BHP which rockets the 5 door sedan from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds, but the efficient diesel engine will still do 52 MPG if you want it too!
(For US MPG figures, take around 17% off the quoted figures above!) So what cars do you know of that are on sale today that offer performance and economy?
In the US, the Corvette is king. In the US, the Lotus Elise - obviously not the base model you get in the UK (I'm assuming), is rated 21 City / 27 Highway (miles per US gallon) and capable of 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with 189 HP and a weight of 1984 lbs.
The Corvette, a car weighing 3208 lbs with 430 hp, is rated 16 City / 26 highway. It's not stellar, but it's really not bad for the level of performance you're getting.
Performance and economy certainly don't have to be mutually exclusive. There are certain technologies, like direct cylinder fuel injection, that create more efficient combustion and result in both power and economy gains. Other technologies like turbocharging allow you to increase maximum performance, but with minimal losses in fuel economy during relaxed driving.
I still think the best performance technology is 2 wheels, though. My carbureted motorcycle manages 0-60 times in the low 4 second range while achieving crusing economy in the low to mid 40s.
While not really a car you can straight buy, the project sipster project from Topgear.com USA a couple years ago set out to make a car that could do 0-60 in 7 seconds, have a mpg of 70(USgallons) and cost under $7k. Well they ended up getting 0-60 of 7.1, and a mpg of around 85 mpg with a full tank, driving 70 miles and seeing how far it had gone down. Though it is a crappy rabbit, it is still a fun, relatively fast, and extremely fuel efficient car. They did have step by step instructions of how to make it, but I think most of that was lost with Topgears restructuring of their website. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGBqBVoAcMs