2008 Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion

It’s a big diesel-fest for Volkswagen at this September’s Frankfurt Auto Show. The Golf BlueMotion is one of six highly efficient diesel models that VW is bringing to the party.

First thing’s first: the Golf BlueMotion gets 52 mpg on the European combined fuel economy cycle. That’s not only a very impressive number, but it’s significantly higher than the already impressive 46 mpg that the regular Golf TDI achieves.

Instead of the heavy batteries and complicated electronics that Hybrids use, the Golf BlueMotion achieves its fuel economy the old fashion way – by tweaking what’s already there. VW was able to gain a few mpg simply by reducing the engine idle speed and fitting the transmission with longer third, fourth, and fifth gears.

Then, it flow-optimized the Golf’s underbody, redesigned the grille, fitted high-pressure, low-resistance tires, and lowered the chassis, reducing the coefficient of drag from 0.32 to 0.30.

The result is not only the increase in fuel economy, but also a higher top speed. The normal Golf TDI maxes out at 116 mph, but thanks to the tweaks, the 105-hp BlueMotion is even faster – it’s limited to 118 mph.

The price premium for the BlueMotion over the base Golf TDI is only 315 Euro – or about $430. Since this Golf can travel almost 750 miles on a single tank of fuel, it won’t be long before the BlueMotion’s improvements pay for themselves.

Hybrid, schmybrid.

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