So, I like blogging about fuel mileage. Maybe because it’s such a hot topic, or because virtually all automakers claim their latest umbrella of gas-saving technologies will deliver a hundred miles per gallon and 0-60 in 3 seconds.
Or (and probably) because my weekly test commute of over 2,000 kilometres gives me a fantastic way to compare new vehicles with said technologies to each other in the real world. Somewhat accurately, too.
Every week, Highway 69 (which connects Sudbury with Southern Ontario) becomes my little proving ground, where test-car fuel consumption is compared to each other in real life.
My weekly drive is hardly a scientific, controlled or exhaustive mileage test – but it’s an interesting comparison if nothing else.
Recently, the real-world fuel economy I recorded in the new 2012 BMW 335i Sedan
proved noteworthy. After 2,200 kilometres of city driving and highway cruising at a good clip, the tester burned an average of 8.7L/100km. That’s measured by hand, not using the often-optimistic on-board computer.
|Photo: Sébastien D'Amour
I don’t know where that figure stands in relation to government ratings, because I don’t check government ratings. I find they’re generally out to lunch for my locale and driving habits because I’m not a Yoga enthusiast who attempts to achieve maximum mileage at all times.
But I digress. A glance at my notes showed higher overall consumption recorded in cars like the Volkswagen GTI
, Subaru Impreza, Audi A7
, Chevrolet Camaro RS and others. So for a 300-hp, turbocharged sport sedan, my overall figure of 8.7L/100km of premium unleaded is pretty darn good. I was impressed.
Someone from BMW once told me that it’s not a single ‘magic’ technology that will make a gasoline engine vastly more efficient on its own. Instead, numerous technologies that trim bits of fuel consumption are employed.
Case in point? In the 335i, direct injection reduces consumption and bumps output. Ditto the 8-speed automatic. And ditto the Brake Energy Regeneration system, which effectively only engages the 335i’s alternator when the car coasts or brakes. Twin Power Turbo technology ramps up performance and overall efficiency, too. End of the day, it all turns in more power to the road and less fuel burned. And, as evidenced by my fuel consumption numbers, the above technologies work.
There’s even an ‘Eco Pro’ mode on the new 2012 3 Series Sedan that helps drivers visualize their current level of ‘greenness’ and offers up tips to encourage fuel-efficient motoring. It lets drivers get involved with achieving good mileage.
A few days after I returned the tester, I checked out a busted-up old 3 Series from the eighties that a friend bought for $900 to turn into a drift car. Inside, amidst the ripped leather, cracked dash and squeaky door hinges, I noticed an interesting “L/100km” gauge in the instrument cluster.
I’m no BMW fanboy, and although I was aware of this fuel economy gauge on newer models, I was surprised to see it installed on a car as old as me. It reminded me of a very early and primitive version of the ‘Eco Pro’ mode in the new 3 Series.
So, I guess BMW’s Efficient Dynamics mantra isn’t just marketing fluff. Apparently, they were into advancing efficient performance before it was even trendy to do so. Neat stuff.