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In this episode, we find Top Gear's inimitable Jeremy Clarkson attempting to squeeze every last drop of derv out of an unmodified diesel-powered production car in an effort to travel 800 miles on a single tank.

This is a challenging enough proposition as it is, but Clarkson isn't messing about in some oil-burning microcar, he's doing it in an Audi A8 motivated by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 diesel... not exactly a thrift-minded machine. In fact, it's a torque-monster lashed to a gigantic luxury car... something of a middle-finger to the Prius set.

Given that Clarkson doesn't resort to NASCAR-style bump drafting, aero fairings, or weight-stripping, he resigns himself to trundling about with the engine never turning over 1,200 RPM (that, friends, is discipline). In fact, Clarkson's forced to be such a skinflint that he runs around with virtually all of the A8's considerable creature comforts off, and even answers nature's call with a plastic bottle in an attempt to avoid having to stop.

So.. can he eke out 800 miles? Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of his magical miserly tour to find out.

[Source: TopGear via Youtube]



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  • 23 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I remember this episode. This is from way back when the V8 TDI first came out.

      Speaks volumes for Audi engineering.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Why does everyone feel the need to point out that they've seen this already? Does it make them superior that out of all the crap online they got to it before it hit autoblog?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow. This is an oooold clip :-P
      • 8 Years Ago
      LOL.

      Well, I'm surprise that no one brought up the recent record of Prius achieving 1,400 miles on one tank, about 110 mpg.

      Link: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05220/550484.stm

      Before anyone get too excited, it was atypical, and was done as a challenge, a stunt. Not unlike what Top Gear did for their mule. This only happened because four guys took turns to drive the Prius in an ideal condition to result in such numbers.

      Yes, the diesels can get good mileage. However, ANY car, driven under ideal circumstances can get great mileage! So while a diesel get an "X" number is impressive, it is rarely achieved, and people shouldn't really pat their backs all that much about it.

      An average A8 will never get anything near 800 per tank, and people should not fool themselves to think that it is because it is an Audi, a diesel, a big luxury car, or whatever, that it deserve some kind of recognition.

      This is purely a stunt and an advertisement. People who gush over this silly event are just stroking their biases about what they like about the car.

      • 8 Years Ago
      The point is not simply to show how far cars can go, but to show that a car going 0-60 in around 6 seconds can still go far. It's an amazing feat because it's a huge lumbering A8, not a economy-sized, slightly underpowered hybrid.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "what if Jeremy had driven the new Prius (similar interior size to this Audi)"

      Ummm... The Prius is 2/3 the weight, more then 2 feet shorter, and designed to be Toyota's fuel economy flagship. The Audi A8 was designed to be the ultimate sedan for people who don't really care about economy. I'd bet if they just fitted the stock prius wheels/tires on the Audi the fuel light wouldn't even had come on.

      Are you getting defensive of the Prius because of this line:
      "In fact, it's a torque-monster lashed to a gigantic luxury car... something of a middle-finger to the Prius set"

      When I first read that I thought it was a cheap shot at the Prius' ability to achieve great mileage, but its not. Chris was just saying that huge luxury vehicles are a middle finger to the Prius fans, similar to how a Hummer is a middle finger.

      Thanks for posting the video, I have never seen it and it has motivated me to push the limits of what my car can do on my trip next weekend.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Keeping it under 1200 rpms is perfectly natural for a diesel, or even a torquey gas vehicle ..well one that makes enough power down low *at part throttle* (i.e. vacuum) which would mostly limit the gas engines to big blocks. Anyways this is how cars like the current vette Z06 get 26 mpg EPA highway.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oh give autoblog a break. Not everyone BT's the UK version of TG so they can watch entire episodes. Ok so most everyone does. But for those who don't, I don't see whats wrong with making a couple new TG fans by showing interesting clips. Wait you don't like Jeremy Clarkson? Are you sure you really want to read autoblog, a website about cars?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Keeping it under 1200 RPMs (turbo entry) for a turbodiesel engine is not natural at all.
      • 8 Years Ago
      OK now I've just "got" to be the fly in the ointment and ask - what if Jeremy had driven the new Prius (similar interior size to this Audi) with hybrid synergy drive on the same journey of 800 miles?

      Just checked Toyota.co.uk and the Prius hold 9.9 Imperial gallons or 45 litres of fuel. The offical "combined" mileage is 65.7 MPG (Imperial gallons, of course) or 4.3 litres per 100 km.

      This means the car should be capable of 650 miles on a tankful at 65.7 mpg, and would have to reach 80.9 mpg (Imp.) to get from London, to Edinburgh, to London again.

      Now, bearing in mind that hybrids are supposedly most efficient in stop-go traffic, the motorway would give the Prius a theoretical disadvantage.

      So, could the Prius "eke" out 81 mpg Imperial on a journey going 70 mph (and as low as 30 mph in town for a few miles)? That would be 67.5 mpg (US).

      Well, I'd guess "yes" since this Audi was able to do 41 mpg (Imp). However, I'd have to guess that to do so, would mean special driving techniques (not forgetting that driving a standard shift car and not exceeding 1200 rpm is decidedly considered special driving techniques).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes.

      People go to media sites to see new information, not to see old rehashed beaten-to-death topics. What if CNN put out their news topics a month after everyone else? You think people would still watch CNN?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I love Audi cars. I drove the A4 and A3... both reviewed of course. I cannot say enough good things about them. Except they are so damn expensive!

      Stoneman

      http://www.stonemanautoreview.com
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