Toyota Prius proves a gas guzzler in a race with the BMW 520d

The Prius, like the iPod, is more than a piece of clever technology. It symbolises something bigger - a responsible attitude, a healthier way of living.
Toyota has sold more than a million examples of the car since launching it in 1997 and it has attracted a worldwide following led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and much of the rest of Hollywood. Read More: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/used_car_reviews/article3552994.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attry6841
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On Mon, 17 Mar 2008 02:10:58 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

symbolises something bigger - a responsible attitude, a healthier way of living. Toyota has sold more than a million examples of the car since launching it in 1997 and it has attracted a worldwide following led by Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and much of the rest of Hollywood.

No thanks. I'd rather be seen in Jeremy Pivens 7-series hydrogen-mobile.
- greg
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They're certainly not enthusiastic motorists if they like the Prius. Apart from having mediocre economy (except in stop start conditions) it is one of the most bland cars I've ever driven. And the poorest value too.

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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

I wonder about this comparison. Living in the US, I'm not familar with the route these two used, but it seems like it was a highway comparison. If so, it would favor the diesel engine car as the Toyota Prius' "strength" is not highway driving, but stop and go, bumper to bumper "city" type driving. On long highways, the Prius mpg is only rated at about 45mpg. In contrast, its "city" mpg is rated at 48mpg. So, I wonder what that BMW 520d would have done in "city" type driving?
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Having driven portions of the route they used (London-Reims) and familiar with the others, I can attest that it's very similar to driving around the Western states. The fact that they drove 200 miles on non-flat stages that caused the Prius to use it's battery was probably the deciding factor rather than the 100 miles of city driving.
For instance, this distance (550 miles) would be like starting in Seattle, driving around for a while, then driving I90 to Spokane, driving around some more, and then driving back to Seattle. It's also about the distance and type of driving from Seattle to, say Redding, CA along I5 (with some city driving thrown in.)
Considering that a Prius costs relatively much more (in terms of resources, and in terms of cost/cubic foot of space), the comparison seems very fair. The fact of the matter is that if Toyota put a diesel into their hybrid system, it would be 25% or more efficient than the current gasoline Prius.
FloydR
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You should take a look at the Prius before you make those comments about space. It is actually a quite roomy car for it's size. Much roomier w.r.t. its length than a 5-series. The 5-series is wasteful by comparison, no question.
I don't know what they (Prius) cost in Europe, but they are about $25,000 in the U.S. You cannot touch a 3-Series here for anything approaching that and a 5-Series is 2X that. We don't have any BMW diesels here yet, but BMW is set to start importing a 3-Series diesel and an X3 diesel. Sad thing is that the highway mileage estimates that they are giving are just slightly better than for the comparable gas engine in the same car. Diesel is running 20% more than gas here, so anyone who buys one of the BMW diesels here will be doing it as a fashion statement (or they like low end grunt) because with only slightly better mileage, higher initial cost (count on it), and on-going greater fuel cost, not buying a BMW diesel is the smart thing to do.
There is no way that Toyota would pick up another 25% in mileage with a diesel in the Prius. They would make the car thousands more expensive, though, and set the owner up for ~20% greater fuel cost. What a bargain.
I hate to say it because I am a fan of light duty diesels, like the MB, but diesel makes little sense in the US until/unless the cost discrepancy ends. The same would be true in Europe except that the governments manipulate the cost of fuel with taxes and you do have refineries set up for a bigger split of diesel/gas per barrel of crude than we do.
Some people (Ford) are claiming that they will get equal efficiency with gas engines to diesels (with turbos and combustion tweaks) and if that happens the coming day of diesels in the US will be very short, indeed.
George Litwinski
wrote:

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A diesel gives its best improvment over a petrol at low load conditions when the pumping losses of a petrol are at its worst. For average use which includes urban a diesel would be cheaper to run than a petrol - even with your 20% price difference.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Here in Md., it's more like a 10~15% difference between premium (recommended by BMW) at $3.45 and diesel around $3.90. And as diesel has only shot up over the past few months, I wonder if the end of the heating season will result in virtual parity between 93 octane and diesel.
Tom K.
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Very very few do highway miles only. And it's mixed use where the diesel scores. My neighbour has a new 530d while I have a 528 - both autos. He gets almost double the MPG in town that I do. And it's faster. ;-)
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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You're comparing apples to oranges. You're right, the Prius has about the same interior space, however, the 5-series is 5" wider - I know which car I'd like to be in the back seat with two other people. The 5-series also has about 25% more cargo space (about one more suitcase.) Also, the Prius has no optional motors - the 5-series can take anything from the I4 diesel to the I6 (itself probably a foot of the length difference) to V8s (body has to be much stronger to take the torque). It can be ordered with AWD. All things that the Prius can't be configured for.

I believe that you're comparing apples to oranges again. The diesel mileages (that you have seen) are using the "new, improved" EPA methodology. You're probably comparing it to the "old, un-improved" numbers. An easier way is to use the UK BMW site: the 530i gets 36.7mpg (British gallon). The 530d gets 44.1. I wouldn't say that >7 is "slightly better". I'd say it's 25% better.

I think you should research before you say things like that! ;-> You should google "hybrid diesel". On the regime in question, 25% is an entirely reasonable number for improvement, considering the quoted (speculative, I admit) 70-80 mpg.
FloydR
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The E90 gas vs. diesel numbers for the US model are from a car buff book (Autoweek?) of a couple of weeks back. They are the current EPA test method and are completely comparable.
The city numbers were significantly in the Diesel's favor, I grant you. Something like a 5 mpg improvement, but nothing like the numbers you quote.
A friend is buying a Prius and he says the EPA numbers for the Prius are in the 40's now, with the city number being higher. The new BMW E90 Diesel numbers are low to mid-20's. Far below the Prius.
The point about width and luggage space is valid some 1-5% (at most) of the time. Look at the cars around you. Most have 1-2 people in them and baggage capacity or 3-across shoulder room is next to irrelevant.
We have had an LS400 since 1993. It is a 5-passenger car, but you can count on two hands the number of times I have had more than 3 people in it and I am by no means atypical. Our RX330 is also 5-passenger and has never had more than 3 people in it. My E46 330i usually carries one person and very rarely 2. A handful of times three. I look around at other cars in traffic and these are typical passenger counts.
I do wish that BMW would sell the 1-Series hatch with a nice diesel here, though. I like my torque down low.
George Litwinski
As for the 70 mpg hybrid, show me one.
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same with you Greg
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