Plenty of fuel for thought

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Paul Gover -

EV­ERY­ONE is think­ing more about fuel. The num­ber of emails and calls about LPG con­ver­sions, diesel choices and down­siz­ing has sky­rock­eted in re­cent weeks.

Car­mak­ers are also spend­ing more time talk­ing about leaner and greener ad­di­tions to their show­room line-ups.

In the past week alone we have driven a new diesel Saab and heard about a Porsche 911 with the fuel econ­omy of a Toy­ota Camry.

We have also driven a Toy­ota Prius that has clocked 100,000km, show­ing the car’s bat­ter­ies can last the life of the ve­hi­cle.

The Prius also drove al­most as tight as new and dur­ing a run in and around Syd­ney av­er­aged an im­pres­sive 5.4 litres/100km.

But all the talk and worry about fuel and CO2 does not mean the end of per­for­mance cars.

BMW has just un­corked an M3 with a manu­matic gear­box which, as does the 911, prom­ises more go from less fuel, and the boss of Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles says his com­pany is still bank­ing on V8s for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

Tom Walkin­shaw was talk­ing as he re­vealed de­tails of the hottest Holden yet, the HSV 427 with a 7-litre V8 en­gine.

‘‘I don’t see there is any rea­son we should not stop mak­ing big cars or cars that are en­joy­able to drive. If you take this to the ex­treme we’d all be driv­ing golf karts and I don’t think you’d want that,’’ Walkin­shaw says.

‘‘I feel quite strongly there are pres­sures on ev­ery­one at present with the cost of liv­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns and so forth. But where do you stop? Is ev­ery­one go­ing to knock down their house? You all have to live in lit­tle boxes. Where do you stop? Be­cause once you start on that and be­gin ask­ing what is the car­bon foot­print of ev­ery­thing, you just take ev­ery­thing to silly ex­tremes.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously we have to be re­spon­si­ble and work on it, but you can­not fix the prob­lems of the world just by look­ing at the mo­tor car alone.’’

Eco­nom­i­cal: a Toy­ota Prius driven in and around Syd­ney av­er­aged an im­pres­sive 5.4 litres for 100km.

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