The Toyota Prius Plug-In just set a Nürburgring lap record. We, too, were surprised at this outrageous and seemingly impossible reality, until we read the fine print. Humming along like a Norelco through the infamous Green Hell, the Toyota Prius Plug-In set a fuel efficiency lap record, completing a full lap on the German raceway averaging an astronomical 698 mpg.
Of course, such a thrifty lap took a mesmerizing 20 minutes and 59 seconds to complete the 12.9-mile lap, with the Toyota Prius Plug-In fluttering along at an average speed of 40 mph. Toyota even observed the track rules of maintaining an average speed of at least 37 mph (60 km/h).
OK, so Toyota isn’t deluded enough to bring a Prius Plug-In to the Nürburgring with any hope of melting faces with its laughable lap time. The goal here was miles-per-gallon, not miles-per-hour. Without any special aerodynamic trickery or body modifications (purely aesthetic TRD parts were added), the Toyota Prius Plug-In used less than five tablespoons of fuel on its triumphant 12.9-mile outing. You’ll find more honey in the average pitcher of sweet tea. Because the car's battery was fully charged, the only time the gas engine intervened was during one long hill climb.
“We used no special tricks for this test,” said driver Joe Clifford in a statement. “We simply took a fully charged car, fitted it with low rolling resistance tires and drove the lap, among all the other public drivers taking the opportunity to experience the challenge of the Nürburgring.”
The Toyota Prius Plug-in uses the same 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine as the standard Prius, but it can travel faster and further on all-electric energy thanks to a beefed-up battery and more powerful electric motor.
You can watch some overly dramatic (but comically self-aware) footage of the Prius Plug-In hybrid on the Nürburgring here, although watching a bagel toast is approximately three times more exhilarating.