The recent Fleet World MPG Marathon challenged participants to drive 350 miles through the British countryside and record the best fuel economy possible. You might imagine that the winning vehicle was a miniscule city car, a high-tech hybrid, or perhaps even an advanced diesel engine. In fact, the winner was a Vauxhall VXR8 muscle car.
Yes, the Vauxhall VXR8 achieved the equivalent of 26.7 mpg, which at 53 percent greater than the car’s official combined economy figure of 17.5 mpg, made the big Vauxhall the winner for overall best percentage improvement. The car was driven by Top Gear Online editor Chris Mooney.
The reason that result is so impressive is that the VXR8 is a modern-day muscle car powered by General Motors’ 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 engine. A derivative was briefly sold on our shores as the Pontiac G8 GXP. The VXR8 packs 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, and hits 60 mph in a claimed 4.9 seconds; top speed is limited to 155 mph.
And yet the fire-burning performance car returned 26.7 mpg over 350 miles, vastly outpacing the car’s official fuel-economy ratings.
“It just goes to show that the person behind the wheel can make a massive difference to fuel costs and carbon emissions,” said Mooney.
Indeed, we’re reminded of a segment on the BBC’s Top Gear where the team raced a BMW M3 against a Toyota Prius on the show’s Dunsfold test track. Because the Prius had to be pushed to its absolute limits to keep up with a dawdling M3, the Toyota hybrid recorded significantly worse fuel economy than the BMW sports car. You can see the clip here.
So when it comes to saving the environment and reducing fuel consumption, which is more important: picking the thriftiest car possible, or driving sensibly to conserve fuel? Let us know what you think by way of the comments section below.