Econuts should give car makers a break

While testing something at work today, as usual I choose a car I rather like to use as my test subject. Today I picked the Skoda Fabia 2.0 TFSI vRS, about 200 horsepower, front wheel drive, cost a little over £20,000.

I like Skoda’s and that vRS isn’t a terrible target to set myself. I could probably just about cope with one on finance… but I won’t get one just yet.

Whilst testing the tool I was working on, I realised that the speed and power figures are not that disimilar to those of my old 1995 BMW 328i, yet the emissions/economy figures are much better.

I then wondered what the stats would be on a modern equivalent BMW to my old 328i and the current Octavia vRS.

Car BMW 328i Skoda 2.0 TFSI vRS 200PS BMW 325i M Sport BMW 320i M Sport
Year 1995 2012
Power (bhp) 193 200 218 172
0 – 60 (s) 7.2 7.0 6.9 8.4
CO2 (g/km) 221 175 170 149
Fuel consumption (mpg) 30 37.7 38.7 44.1
Price (£) 500 – 3000 21,480 32,590 29,085

So in 15 years time, Skoda have built a car that is similar in performance to a fairly top end BMW, yet got it to eat less trees and fart out less poison – most likely because of the use of a turbo on a smaller engine, but it’s not just that.

So in the same amount of time, BMW has got it’s equivalent cars to do the same, they’re more environmentally friendly and the performance figures are much higher. A current 325i M Sport has 25 more horsepower than my old 328i and produces 41 less grams co2/km, and the MPG is up from 30 to 38.

Even the 320i, which is about 20 bhp less powerful, still gets to 60 in 8.4 seconds which isn’t slow, and that has a much lower CO2 and a higher mpg of 44 which is about 50% better than my 328i.

Obviously you get what you pay for, and the BMWs are much more expensive than the Octavia, and I imagine the handling of the BMW is way better than the Skoda – having said that I drove a sporty Fabia recently and I was pretty impressed.
But BMW do make pretty awesome cars, so my money would be on a BMW in a race.

But the point being, these days, even cheaper performance cars have pretty impressive numbers in terms of entertainment value and saving the planet/money.

I don’t think most of the electric cars that are around today are going to work (Tesla, REVA, Lexus and Prius) but things like the GM Ampera/Volt which use an efficient petrol generator to power an electric motor, and the battery pack replacement vehicles and hydrogen cars that are coming will probably take off (maybe even literally).

So until electric cars have been worked out properly, and the Prius (although possibly not the new plug-in hybrid version), Leaf and iOn types have been phased out, I think manufacturers are doing pretty well to make cars better for our wallets and the air we breath, whilst still making them faster and more fun to drive! Even with the bad electrics, at least they’re trying. The model T ford sucks by todays standard but it was popular once.

Final point (not mine but well made) is that it doesn’t matter what happens to cars, the environment and us, the Earth will keep lapping the sun dodging big rocks regardless.


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