BMW Diesel Hatchback Gets 103 MPG In UK Competition

Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric vehicles like Tesla Motors’ Model S that was recently awarded 2012 Automobile of The Year, consume a lot of headline space in today’s news.

But a two-man team in England recently proved that the modern internal combustion engine is capable of achieving fuel miser numbers rivaling and even beating alternative-fuel/green car icons, like Toyota’s Prius. editor and founder, Paul Clarke, and his driving mate, Paul Andrews, recently squeezed out 103 mpg from the diesel engine-powered BMW 116d EfficientDynamics 5-door hatchback they entered in the RAC Future Car Challenge 2012.

The duo’s fuel-efficient driving efforts over the 64-mile route between Brighton and London netted them a win in the Internal Combustion Engine class. The route included many miles of uphill sections and busy London traffic according to a release from BMW UK.

“It is an incredible achievement for a BMW to achieve over 100 mpg on a busy Saturday morning drive from Brighton into central London. Hybrids and electric cars certainly have an important future, but it shows that people shouldn’t write off the internal combustion engine yet, as its efficiency is improving all the time,” said Clarke on

The team also claims to have managed “more than 90 mpg” during a 500-mile roundtrip from the BMW. Unfortunately for consumers in the U.S. the 116d EfficientDynamics currently isn’t available stateside.

The Brighton to London RAC Future Car Challenge event, sponsored by RAC Motoring Services, was first introduced in 2010 to showcase low energy use vehicles. It features competitors driving electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low-emission conventional petrol and diesel cars on a route from Brighton to London, using the least amount of energy possible. The event is a real-world test of current and future vehicle technology. The Best Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) award was sponsored by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative.

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  • froggy96

    Me want! Unfortunately it’s probably for europe only.

  • Duude

    Can’t allow this vehicle to become available in the US. It would destroy PHEV vehicle sales. No eight hour plug in.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    Yeah, sure you just need to slow it down to “snail” pace…

    The engine is severely undersized for that application and performance is NOT a requirement in MPG competition…

  • Shines

    103 mpg is impressive, but we don’t know what the 2 drivers were doing: turning the engine off going downhill and at traffic lights, accelerating super slowly, drafting behind larger vehicles. Some of these things are done automatically in hybrids and plug ins. I still like the idea that braking is regenerating a battery in hybrids and not wearing out pads and going up in heat as in conventional brakes. A diesel hybrid would be perfect.

  • Paul Andrews

    The 64 mile course has to be completed in 3 hours, about 40% of this is city centre and urban driving. The 116 has stop start and all the eco driving techniques that are safe were used (so no drafting!)
    We won the HEV class in 2011 in a gen 1 Honda Insight CVT which is why BMW invited us to drive the car this year. I am a confirmed hybrid nut and a hybrid systems engineer but the BMW was truly amazing!

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    First, is this Imperial gallon or US gallon? if it is imperial gallon, then divide it by 1.2 to give it US MPG. it would be 85mpg. There are already “hypermiler” who achieved this in Jetta/Passet diesel in the US.

    60 miles in 3 hours is averaged less than 20 miles/hr. Low speed driving increase efficiency in all cars. The sweet spot is between 25mph to 45 mph…

    Those are “exact” daily driving conditions in the US…