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After evaluating supercars to see which could go furthest on a gallon of gasoline, the crew of Top Gear decided to try again. What they apparently set out to do was demonstrate the impact of driving behavior on fuel economy. All hypermiling enthusiasts will gladly expound on how modifying your driving style can take you above and beyond the EPA mileage ratings. Of course, Jeremy Clarkson had to demonstrate this by taking the negative approach. He pitted a Toyota Prius against a new BMW M3. No one would ever expect the 414hp V8 powered M3 to get better mileage than a Prius. Unless, of course, you pushed a Prius around a test track as fast it would possibly go and then pacing the hybrid with the M3. Not surprisingly, thrashing a Prius around a track for ten laps provides less than stellar mileage results. Check out the video after the jump to see if the Prius or M3 won this HYPO-miling contest.

[Source: YouTube]



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  • 22 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nonsense. The M3 is probably at 1500rpm and the Prius is working hard at 6000rpm. Prius is 1.3 litre, so it becomes equivalent to 1.3x4=4.2 litre. So, Top Gear is fxxking our minds. Like a comedy and I don't watch the show any more.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The BMW should have driven next to the prius not behind, or they should have stayed way back to eliminate aero effects.

      The H2 had the 5.3 & 4 SPEED AUTOMATIC, the H2 [upgrade] received the 6 speed automatic & variable camshaft timing.

      The transmission efficiency of the BMW double clutch is impressive. 7th gear is 1:1 so you only have 1 gear mesh from engine to axle. (well if it is a stick car, the same pertains to 5th gear)
      The prius transaxle is a mess. 2 gear meshes + 1 transfer chain, plus the power split device operating over the unity speed (electric overdrive)
      http://www.techno-fandom.org/~hobbit/cars/training/800/ptrain.jpg
      previous gen. prius
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/31809458@N00/399978739/

      The prius has a lower Cd and swept area than the M3

      So the answer, negating the huge transmission disparities, is BSFC.
      • 7 Years Ago
      he hates the corvette because its an American car that out performs any British pos. Opps did i say British? I meant Chinese,Indian, Arabian, Russian,German owned British name
      • 7 Years Ago
      The main advantage of a hybrid is its regenerative braking which powers electric-assisted acceleration. The electric motor on the Prius isn't even active above a certain speed.

      They way they drove them was in no way similar to the EPA mileage tests. Not surprisingly, the way they drove them was in no way similar to how 99.9% of the people drive on the streets. So this test isn't even applicable to most of us.
      • 7 Years Ago
      proves what happens when engine is working 100% compared to one just working like 20%

      if you think about it the 4.4liter engine runnign at 20% is pretty much consuming as much fuel as a 800 CC engine working at 100%
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've long suspected the poor mileage of the prius (relative to high mileage cars of the 1980s) is all the extra weight and complicated gubbins they carry around. Once you get above a certain speed and the electric motor stops, then all that stuff becomes a hindrance.

      Granted for stop-start driving in big cities, hybrids make sense, but for a highway commuter, if you stripped out the batteries and electric motor from a prius, and just had it as a very lightweight gas-only car, it would be a lot more efficient.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Rather humourous, but of course pointless. Why, you ask? Because a Prius buyer would never buy that BMW or vice versa. Toyota knows that Prius buyers will drive their car gingerly, so they have maximized the car for that. And what's wrong with that? Conversely, the M3 was designed for speed. If the buyer can afford to buy the car, then they will be able to pay for the gas, even if gas costs $15/litre. So fuel economy is not a priority. Different priorities. Completely different cars. Completely different buyers.

      Still, it makes for a humourous watch. And if anything serious can be taken from it, it's that driving behaviour does indeed play a large part in fuel economy.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gotta love how they start out by repeating the same debunked-over-and-over-and-over myths about the environmental damage of building a Prius. Starting off with the old "nickel myth" (clue: Toyota only buys about 1% of the plant's output, and the overwhelming majority of the damage from the plant was done back in the 60s and 70s, before it was cleaned up)

      Even at top speed, I doubt their claim on the Prius's mpg, too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Re 14 and 19:
      The electric motor/generator is always doing something, regardless of speed. It evens out power demands and keeps the ICE at more constant rpms, which improves efficiency, even at highway speeds.
      Also the electric motor allows you to build a car with a smaller engine (more efficient) which is also tuned to the more efficient Atkinson cycle. The electric motor makes up for the torque and power that this smaller, more efficient engine would otherwise be missing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      People are missing the point of the test. Jeremy even said at the end that an M3 is not a more economical choice than a Prius, just that driving style has a lot to do with what king of MPG you get. Even if you drive a Honda Civic, you will get bad MPG of you floor it from stop light to stop light.
      • 7 Years Ago
      BTW, why do they make the audience stand (at attention)? Love the show but Jeremy is clearly up himself.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In these particular circumstances, I'd imagine it's plausible that the Prius got worse mpg. (Hummer first supplied its cars wiht a smaller engine, but that engine was too slow. Then they made they replaced it with a larger engine. The larger engine got the same mpg as the smaller engine because they small one had to rev so much to keep speed)

      I like Top Speed, but it makes me cringe how they stigmatize some alternative fuel cars. Do they realize the power they have?
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