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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Diesels are far more superior to hybrids at this day and age. The problem with hybrids is weight. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are just too heavy and their weight kills fuel efficiency. Is it any wonder why so many driving hybrid versions of Highlanders, RXs, and Accords cannot get significantly better mileage than non-hybrid versions of their cars? In contrast the real world mileage of diesel Benz Es and Jetta TDIs are significantly better than what can be achieved with a Jetta 2.5L and a MB E350.

    My wife postponed replacing her 83 MB300D with a hybrid Camry. I have read 8 reviews and on average the MPG of a Camry hybrid is in the low 30s IMO that is not very impressive especially when my wife's MB300D already gets that kind of mileage.

    We will wait until there are hybrids that are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have about 25 percent of the weight of nickel-metal cabride batteries. Such a relativlely lighter battery would improve hybrid MPG quite significantly.

    And I will have to patiently wait for a replacement of my 99 BMW 3 series(hopefully in the guise of a Audi A4 TDI or a BMW330D/535D) :)
  • If there is a dramatic increase in demand for diesel fuel, would it require significant changes to the refinery infrastructure, or can gasoline refineries be easily switched over to diesel? Also, is the availability of the raw crude that is the basis for diesel different and/or more scarce than that of gasoline? It seems these factors would influence price as well.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    dewey - you know this argument went on and on in the hybrid forum. There are HUGE benefits to the hybrid technology. The upcoming Lexus LS600hL will be an ultimate hybrid vehicle, and the 2006 Civic hybrid which is one of the "fantastic four" Civics, as Motor Trend Car of the Year, is the first true hybrid to actually have a small enough price difference to the regular ICE model to give the buyer a mathematical financial BENEFIT to selecting it. And some of the other models, such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape are very worthy vehicles.

    Read this new Edmunds article about hybrids. They are definately a great and legitimate alternative until hydrogen finally makes its way.

    link title

    It is a great perspective on hybrids. The future is finally here and it will get even better.

  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    ...first true hybrid to actually have a small enough price difference to the regular ICE model to give the buyer a mathematical financial BENEFIT to selecting it.

    The difference is that even the few diesel cars on the market have been about the same price as the gasoline versions. There isn't that huge financial burden to overcome as there is, and has been, with hybrids.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I disagree. Most of the time, when choosing engines on a similarly-equipped model, the larger ICE option, or diesel option costs more, sometimes considerably more than the standard ICE.

    But, is the diesel worth the extra cost? I think sometimes it is well worth it. I love diesels as another alternative to the standard ICE's. But diesels generally do cost more.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "But diesels generally do cost more."

    As do hybrids, but diesels also have an advantage of being almost maintenance free. With diesels there aren't going to be millions of batteries polluting the environment.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    but diesels also have an advantage of being almost maintenance free

    Diesels have no "traditional" ignition system . . . but traditional ignition systems are now practically maintenance-free anyway, with 100,000 mile spark plugs, etc.

    The latest diesels have HUGE pressure at the injectors, and generally do NOT have the very best reliability ratings, in spite of the fact that they are diesels.

    I do like diesels, however, and I AGREE that diesels have certain advantages, and down the road, as they clean them up, and increase their efficiency a little more, they will be an even better alternative than they are now.

    I think it is entirely possible within a few more years for diesels to become an even better alternative than the hybrid, but at this moment, the fuel-efficiency of the hybrid is superior. Additionally there are fuel supply and price issues, the nature of diesel fuel itself, and the challenges to clean it up enough for California and other states that have serious restrictions on the emissions.

    Further, in a few more years, as the diesels continue to improve, so will the hybrids, so it will be interesting to see which one comes out on top. Quite possibly, and more likely, they will co-exist . . . each offering unique benefits. Perhaps they will even exist together as a diesel hybrid. We will see.

    . . . next stop after that? . . . the hydrogen fuel-cells finally become the next BIG solution.

  • . . .hybrids have a higher TCO even with the tax incentives. As these incentives decrease, the TCO actually increases to the point that we would need over $90 a bbl as the base price of oil.

    As we push and remain above $70 a bbl, the reserves we already have in the US (triple the known Arabian reserves according to the Rand Corporation) become even more likely to be tapped as a source for fuel for, one would imagine, at least 30 years. According to the Rand study we have enough known oil to satisfy 100% of our own consumption without importing a drop for 100 years. Put another way, we have the resources to go 400 years assuming we need to bring in "forever" 25% of our petrol from foreign sources.

    The number of authors decrying the push toward hybrids either are all left or right wing wackos (it is hard to tell which) or "thoughtful" folks who are apparently going unlistened to. Maybe they're all lying or wrong or, like me, believe that robots are stealing my luggage.

    A 4.2 liter V8 engine running diesel fuel pushes an Audi A8L down the highway sipping the fuel at a rate of 40+MPG's -- it seems that without any extraordinary push to improve diesel's efficiency, we will continue to improve its capabilities and capacities to extend our use of fossil fuels.

    Now, the argument for cleaner operation does favor the hybrid UNTIL the batteries need to be replaced then what? Land fills?

    The possible wackos I alluded to above suggest that hybrid's main adoption will be for performance not efficiency and certainly not positive ecological impacts.

    I dunno, maybe these folks own stock in companies that make diesel; but, their arguments are that diesel is a progressive use of natural resources that can be used to simultaneously improve performance, decrease consumption and be cleaner than current technology hybrids.

    Hydrogen fuel-cells, they continue are perhaps being delayed by the funneling of resources into development of a dead end technology.

    Now, in all fairness, I have read several other contrary articles that suggest the use of hybrids to improve performance is a good thing. Of course even these folks claim that current batteries are too heavy and pose a problem 3 - 7 years down the road when it comes time to replace them. The problems, which they suggest will be successfully dealt with (but haven't yet) include, cost, and toxic land fill proliferation.

    Yet there's Bill Ford talking about hybrids as if they alone will save the US auto industry.

    Another point of view with respect to saving the US auto industry has more to do with "building attractive cars" (beauty being, as usual, in the eye of the beholder.)

    Styling, not hybrid technologies, would do more for the US automakers, that is. Of course, cutting costs plus styling plus doing whatever it takes with respect to engineering and efficiency would seem to be both a more effective and quicker (and probably less costly) means to that end, wouldn't it?

    Style, utility, safety and features (probably in that order but certainly style is #1) sell before efficiency -- at least this appears to be historically the case and also the case in the LPS and near premium class.

    Had I not driven an A4 2.5TDI with a 6speed manual and today's equivalent of SLine back in 2002, I probably wouldn't be so adamant in this regard -- but Audi AG let the kitty out of der bag when they gave 40 Americans the use of these cars for 2 days.

    The gasoline versions, good as they are and have become, just don't even come close to the rush of driving a car with this much low end torque -- stump pulling, locomotive breath, weapons grade torque. And the heck of it is, the car is providing such a forward rush all the while sipping fuel, diesel fuel. I'd like to place my order now, please.

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    . . .hybrids have a higher TCO even with the tax incentives.

    Some do, some don't. It depends on the comparison. The EXTRA lofty price for a diesel engine, coupled with the average HIGHER fuel price, and the LACK of tax incentives, and the LOWER fuel efficiency ALL add up together to become a much higher TCO, sometimes higher than the hybrid as well.

    I have shown the mathematical formula, and it is also verifiable in numerous articles, that the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid actually is the first hybrid to place the buyer AHEAD in TCO than in the similarly-equipped ICE.

    A 4.2 liter V8 engine running diesel fuel pushes an Audi A8L down the highway sipping the fuel at a rate of 40+MPG's

    Totally unreal number. Go to and get the EPA ratings for ALL vehicles and the REAL-LIFE reported ratings from actual users. NO diesel, even the tiniest beats the Honda Hybrid. Further, even the TINIEST diesels do not get the real-life mpg that you suggest with a 4.2 liter V8. There is no REAL data to support that.

    current batteries are too heavy and pose a problem 3 - 7 years down the road when it comes time to replace them.

    Again, REAL-LIFE shows that the batteries are lasting over 10 years and are warranted for 8-10 years and about 100,000 miles or more. They are lasting so long that there is no end of life for them that has been determined.

    As I have indicated, diesels are a GREAT alternative, and diesels improve fuel economy compared to ICE's, as do the hybrids. But hybrids also have definate advantages, and DO FINALLY offer a LOWER TCO, particularly with the new 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. Both engines are merely a transition at this point until hydrigen fuel-cell technology is in place. THAT is the BIGGER picture that will come within this DECADE.


  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    One other minor point about TCO . . . it is a general rule that upgrades of all types will increase the TCO of a vehicle as the price of the vehicle climbs. Those upgrades can be convenience options and accessories or engine choices. Even larger ICE's generally follow that rule. The pricier the engine, the higher the TCO. And diesel and hybrid engines fall into the engine upgrade category. The difference is that the diesel will pay back some of its extra premium, and the hybrid will pay back even more, therefore making the increase in TCO have less of an impact, but one that was preferred as a choice by the buyer. The exception to this is the 2006 Honda Civic hybrid which LOWERS the TCO, and the Toyota Prius in base versions has a low TCO, but a non-hybrid Prius does not exist, so a comparison to another model vehicle becomes arbitrary.


  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Good questions, unfortunately I dont know the answers to your questions.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    So how good are diesels? What I find interesting is that there are very few diesel owners who complain about their mileage compared to EPA. The feelings among many if not most hybrid owners is that of disappointment, especially if they expected anything close to EPA.The following is from a Toronto Star article about the Audi Q7 TDI linked below:

    But what's amazing is the Audi Q7's fuel economy — almost twice that of the gas engine (it works out to a nice round 1,000 km per tank of diesel fuel or an average consumption of 10.5 L/100 km). This motor is quiet, pulls hard and at idle barely gives away its identity in a whisper of sound.

    AUDI Q7 TDI 3.0L
  • . . .listen, I am not against any new technology; and, despite what I have written, I am not anti-hybrid.

    I am, however, against "withholding" information which does to a certain extent seem to be the case here in the US.

    Check this out:

    800 miles to go

    This is ~13 minutes long, but it is entertaining especially when the review concludes Audi has come up with a car that actually seems to run on air.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Right, but what could a hybrid do if driven like that? Use a feather light touch on the gas, keep the car in electric mode as long as absolutely possible, and brake just enough for maximum regenerative efficiency, and a Prius could probably pull down 65mpg+
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Terrific video of the Audi V8 diesel getting about 40+ mpg. Lots of fun to watch.

    The tach never above 1250 rpm!!! Who drives like that!!!???

    Remember what jeremy said would happen if it ran out of fuel . . . bleed the lines!!!!!! Nothing too appealing about that. No climate control, of course . . . and windows must be up!!! Lots of joy.

    Cool video, but such an extreme attempt to demonstrate a potential that no one in real life would ever come close to. But, still amazing.

    Diesels are great, but again, hybrid technology is still at the top of the EPA charts. And when they change those rating procedures, they'll still be on top.

    Close, but no cigar. At least not yet.

  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Right, but what could a hybrid do if driven like that? Use a feather light touch on the gas, keep the car in electric mode as long as absolutely possible, and brake just enough for maximum regenerative efficiency, and a Prius could probably pull down 65mpg+

    Feather light touching a pedal and slow and non-accelerative driving like a great- great-grand mother sounds very exciting, indeed. IMO diesels are more fun to drive with the bonus of saving fuel.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Diesels are great, but again, hybrid technology is still at the top of the EPA charts. And when they change those rating procedures, they'll still be on top.

    Close, but no cigar. At least not yet.

    Too early to say that. Please refer to some hybrid forums and listen to the many dissatisfied owners. The cigars are already being smoked by diesel owners.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    To clarify my point in post 6200, you dont have to drive like the timid with a diesel in order to gain fuel savings. Gas efficiency with hybrids is achieved primarily with timidity.

    I challenge any forum member here to prove to me that a hybrd RX or Highlander can accomplish double the mileage of their non-hybrid siblings. The fact that a Audi Q7 can accomplish such fuel efficiency is amazing.
  • Anyone who believes the current hybrid epa ratings has been smoking something that is illegal!

    People are being ripped off big time on these things. My neighbor bought his wife a new Lexus 400H thinking she would get around 40 mpg around town. After 6 months the best she has done is 22mpg. All around town and hardly nothing over 40mph. He paid a $10,000. premium for this?

    After people catch on to this how do you think it will affect the resale of these white elephants? Plug that into your TCO equation!! Give me a good diesel any day.
  • . . .someone here must know the weight of the A8L, perhaps someone here knows the weight of the cameras and other equipment used to produce the video and other things such as wind speed, etc. Despite the "tricks" played to wring every last inch out of every molecule of fuel, the point (to me) was all about the potential.

    The close up of the rear deck lid showed an engine of 4.0 liters (it is essentially the 4.2 Audi V8 morphed into a diesel, after all.) And, aluminum or not, the A8L is a whale of a car. Most of us even if we could buy one of them would pause and consider buying the A8 (SWB) or A6 or -- fill-in-the-blank -- [smaller sized] brand auto.

    Most of us probably don't go for Audis, BMWs, Lexus, etc V8 equipped cars -- some folks probably don't go for the extra two cylinders because of the increased fuel requirements or because in many of the urban (and suburban) areas in the US (at least) there is much congestion and not all that much room to accelerate with gleeful, reckless abandon.

    My point, I assumed the point of the video, too, was to extrapolate and project what could happen if we continued along a path of normal and customary refinement of the diesel technology in cars other than those high-zoot, high-buck, land-yachts that most folks never buy and only seldom ride in.

    Forget the brand -- the fact that it was a TV show and they could use "an attractive" car (attractive to both the rich and famous and lesser mortals) isn't/wasn't the point. Using my favorite sociologist's concept, "The Sociological Imagination," imagine what might happen, where we might be, etc. if we did NOT abandon hybrids but, in addition, embraced rather than shunned diesels on this side of the Atlantic.

    Let's use the LPS segment and wonder if instead of our 3.5, 3.2 and 3.0 liter gasoline engines we were also offered otherwise identical cars with similar sized turbo diesels.

    Mileage and performance would improve.

    Possibly MSRP would rise (but would it have to with widespread availability?) but I suspect not as much as the price difference between a gas/electric hybrid vs a gas only version.

    And, if we seem to want to argue one vs the other rather than co-existence, how about a diesel/electric hybrid with those rumored light weight (coming soon?) batteries powering the electric motor side?

    Perhaps it would've been "boring tv," but what would have been the possible outcome if the exact same test would've been undertaken with an Audi A4 or A6 and the smaller TD engines offered "over there?"

    TODAY, gasoline, PREMIUM gasoline, in Cincinnati is $2.07 & 9/10's per gallon. After Katrina it was as high as $3.49. Where will it be a year from now?

    We know now that a big-hulk-luxury car driven in a way most of us would not ever drive exceeded 40MPG's -- and they did this show on normal highways, not limited access not "no traffic jams guaranteed," etc. It seems to me that if Audi, BMW, Mercedes and others from all over the world were given a "challenge" (a contest?) to take another step up in efficiency, that it might be possible to repeat this test in the future with the headlights on, the climate control on and allow a stop for the poor driver to pee, too -- all the while achieving similar results.

    Now if we could get 60 minutes or someone here to broadcast that show or recreate it -- perhaps we could stop going down the path of "hybrids are the answer" rather than perhaps a more sagacious path of "hybrids are one answer" [of several] for today.

    Diesels as depicted in the link posted above are here and now. :surprise:
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