All this eco-awareness malarkey has certainly delivered some interesting twists on economy with power. Whether you buy in to the whole ‘Planet-Killing’ ethos or not, you have to admire the ingenuity of car makers in trouble times. Necessity is the mother of invention? If you’re a car maker in these strange times, that would certainly seem to be the case.
Car makers are getting some extraordinary numbers out of their products at the moment. I mentioned the other day my super-fast 3.0 litre Ford Capri from the ’70s that delivered a then stonking great 138bhp. And around 20mpg. But plenty of car makers are getting significantly more power out of 2.0 litre turbo diesel these days, and delivering 50+ mpg in to the bargain.
The figures we see are a little disingenuous, as using the performance to the full will certainly not give you the headline economy figures quoted. But none of us uses all the power all of the time, and the economy side of these performance fuel-misers comes in to play during the everyday trudge around our crowded roads, but allows you to get up and hustle when the opportunity arises.
And of course, there is an element of being seen to buy a responsible car. Which is why even premium and performance car makers are going this route. Koenigsegg is working on its next generation of ‘Supercars with a Conscience’ and Mercedes has delivered the market the once unthinkable with the Mercedes S400 Hybrid.
But BMW’s raison d’être is cars for drivers. So they need to deliver as much headline power as possible, but with strong eco-credentials, and a report that they are working on what can best be described as an X5M Diesel makes sense. True, it won’t be marketed as such in case it is seen to ‘Dilute’ the M Brand, but it will be a real barn stormer of a car. Using the same 3.0 litre diesel already found in the X5 (which delivers 265bhp) BMW has introduced a third turbo-charger and boosted the power up to 350bhp. But can you imagine the torque it’s likely to have? BMW might well have to throw in a neck brace with every order to keep the injury claims down!
Styling is said to be a slightly toned-down version of the X5M (think the old 4.8S X5), and BMW intends throwing in stuff like stop/start and regenerative braking which come as part of the ‘Efficient Dynamics’.
There is every chance, particularly in Europe, that this could become the best performance 4×4 on the market. Performance up there with Audi’s V12 Q7, but far more economical.
No word yet on when this tri-turbo Diesel X5 will hit the market, but it will. Soon.