Zzzzz….Toyota Prius PHEV Sets Nürburgring Record for Fuel Economy [w/Video]

Automakers use the Nürburgring racetrack as a proving ground to make their latest cars go faster and better, and when they make an announcement about the Nordschleife, it almost always has to do with how fast they completed a full lap. Not this time, as Toyota isn’t bragging about miles per hour, but about miles per gallon – talk about a snooze-fest…

Toyota called in motoring journalist Joe Clifford and put him in a mostly standard Prius Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) fitted with some styling parts from TRD like a grounds kit and 18-inch wheels in 225/40 tires.

Clifford was tasked with completing a single lap of the Nordschliefe using as little fuel as possible, all while complying with the circuit rules, including the 60km/h (37mph) minimum average speed.

The European-specification car’s official combined cycle figure is 134mpg UK (equal to 2.1l/100km or 111.6mpg US), but Clifford managed to record an average of 698mpg UK (0,4 l/km or 581,21 mpg US) on the 12.9-mile (20.75 km) long German circuit, completing the lap in…20 minutes and 59 seconds, which sounds like an eternity in ‘Ring time.

For comparison, that’s more than twice the time of Clarkson’s 9:59 run in a 207hp Jaguar S-Type Diesel back in 2004.

Toyota brags that the Prius PHEV “used less than five tablespoons of fuel to do the job”.

After the fuel-economy feat, Clifford commented:

“We used no special tricks for this test. We simply took a fully charged car, fitted it with low rolling resistance tyres and drove the lap, among all the other public drivers taking the opportunity to experience the challenge of the Nürburgring.”

“Although the 12.9-mile distance is similar to a typical commuter trip, the difference here is a rise and fall in elevation of around 1,000 feet. In fact it was only on one long climb that the petrol engine cut in, and then only for a short while. Without that, we think we might have even achieved the ultimate 999.9mpg read-out – the highest figure the display can show.”

By John Halas




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