Trident Iceni Biodiesel Sports Car Offers Nearly 69 Peak MPG Or 200 MPH Top Speed

You can forget about sensible stereotypes associated with the handful of diesel autos sold in the U.S. when looking at the UK-made Trident Iceni Grand Tourer.

It goes “nearly” 200 mph – or possibly more depending on tuning – and can still deliver 68.9 mpg – that is, you get either peak mpg /or peak mph, obviously – not both at the same time, but the 2-seater costing a bit more than a fully spec’d Tesla Model S electric sedan is meant to be compelling.

Trident will build the Iceni to order in Norfolk, starting at £75,000 (around $119,000). And though it has an engine that could make a 4X4 truck driver green with envy, it actually makes a few concessions toward being potentially green, as it will run also on mineral diesel, biodiesel, palm oil or linseed oil.


The base model uses a mid-front mounted 6.6-liter Duramax engine with turbo boost turned up for 430 bhp, 950-pound-feet torque at under 3,250 rpm. Its maker boasts 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.

Higher performance is possible via an upgraded version of the same engine that the manufacturer rates at 660 bhp and 1,050 pound-feet torque.

Its 68.9 mpg figure is derived by employing “torque multiplication” to its transmission so when in top gear at 70 mph, its freight-train-powerful diesel lazily lopes along at just 980 rpm.

At 980 rpm, much less fuel is being consumed, so it gets mileage as good as or better than a carefully driven Toyota Prius. Even at such low engine speeds, however, around 700 pound-feet of torque is ready at the driver’s disposal. With a rather large fuel tank on board, the theoretical range on one fill-up is over 2,000 miles – just what is needed for a “grand tourer,” right?

Trident is a traditional British brand originally established decades ago and in the mid 60s as Trident Cars Ltd. it produced such vehicles as the TVR Trident Coupe. In 1999 it was re-established in Fakenham, Norfolk to manufacture a GM petrol-engined V6 sports car, and the company underwent a change again after 2007/2008.

The newer company with the time-honored name will show its exclusive Iceni September 5-7 at the Salon Privé Supercar Show & Concours d’Elégance in the the UK.

As a UK equivalent to Pebble Beach, Salon Privé will have representatives from Trident on hand to take orders for those wanting a modern diesel sports car that makes an iconic but old-school AC Cobra 427 from the 1960s look rather underpowered and definitely more thirsty.

All the way back in 2008, the Daily Mail cited company reps claiming 100 mpg on biodiesel, stainless steel chassis and carbon fiber body although a recent press release is more vague about the to-be-revealed car. We’ve seen discrepancies also in its top speed from just shy of 200 mph to 230 mph.

Although the video mentions the higher top speed, presumably from a pre-production model – or perhaps someone was exaggerating, or maybe it was from a higher performance version – the manufacturer now simply claims “nearly 200 mph” presumably for the base model.

In any case, the Iceni is billed as a have-it-all green car; another approach to cool styling and outrageous performance while capable of fewer emissions and more miles per gallon – if one has the self-restraint to drive it at a docile pace, that is.

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  • john Smith

    This Iceni Grand Tourer is a sports car or a fuel economy car??????

  • Harry C

    So looks great, but impossible to find where to order one. the doesn’t go anywhere and there is nothing else up on google. Way to go guys. Create a cool car and have your head up your #%& when it comes to marketing.

  • Van

    Just a note on the “69” MPG. This probably refers to imperial gallons so if we convert to US gallons, it works out to 57 MPG. So if a diesel Prius was effiicent as this vaporware, then instead of 50 MPG, it might get 57 MPG because there is more energy to be had in a gallon of diesel. Of course there seems to be more pollution too. 🙂

  • ME

    I take it you have no idea how a diesel opperates. More pollution from a diesel is incorrect.

  • Van

    I am not a diesel engine design expert, but I owned and operated Volvo Penta diesel marine engines for more than 20 years. Now I also know that the EPA allows lots of different gasoline engines to operate, but only a few diesels meet the current pollution standards.

    When I speak of air pollution, I do not include CO2, but rather the soot and NOX. Here is a quote:

    “But when it comes to smog-forming pollutants and toxic particulate matter, also known as soot, today’s diesels are still a lot dirtier than the average gasoline car.

    All this means that diesel pollution can be deadly, causing premature mortality through cancer or heart and respiratory illnesses. The California Air Resources Board has concluded that diesel soot is responsible for 70% of the state’s risk of cancer from airborne toxics. In the population as a whole, studies have shown a 26% increase in mortality in people living in soot-polluted cities.”

  • wxman

    @Van – that’s an old quote from UCS (circa 2004). Current diesel technology has lower emissions across-the-board, except possibly for NOx, and here’s a breakdown based on CARB certified emissions of 2012 GM medium-duty gasoline and diesel engines…

    NMHC – 0.01 g/bhp-hr (D); 0.06 g/bhp-hr (G)
    NOx – 0.32 g/bhp-hr (D); 0.19 g/bhp-hr (G)
    CO – 0.3 g/bhp-hr (D); 2.2 g/bhp-hr (G)
    PM – 0.000 g/bhp-hr (D); 0.005 g/bhp-hr (G)

    D = “diesel engine” –

    G = “gasoline engine” –

    The 6.6 liter medium-duty diesel engine is a medium-duty truck version of the same engine that’s used in the subject sports car. I used the medium-duty version because PM emissions aren’t reported for gasoline cars in the CARB certs.

  • joe karthman

    why is it that the big three can not do something like this car in the USA it get great MPG andf it is look good. it look like it is fun to drive. also Why is it that the cars the big three make for Europe get better MPG then the same car here in the states?

  • just me

    diesels are used underground in mines for a reason. their less polluting. If a gaser was used in mines everyone would die! I’m just sayin

  • Van

    I think the increasing use of diesel mining equipment is in spite of the hazard of DPM harming mine workers, because of reliability and cost factors. Notice that there are strict ventilation regulations.

    As far as soot being higher in diesels, I think that is a given, and soot causes cancer, heart problems and all sorts of lung problems, especially in children.

    As far as old data, the absence of new evidence is not evidence of the absence of the hazard. The use of more modern diesels has greatly lowered the pollution level near the LA harbor, but it is too early to claim the well known health hazard has been eliminated.

  • wxman

    @Van –

    Are you saying it’s a given that soot is higher from diesel engines than gasoline engines? I’ve already posted that new gasoline engines produce at least 10 times as much PM as the equivalent new diesel engines based on CARB certification data. Do you have any data to the contrary?

    There are also studies which show that particle number emissions from DPF-equipped diesel cars are at least an order-of-magnitude lower than gasoline cars…

    “…The Particle Number emissions reinforce the effectiveness of the DPF on all of the test cycles. For all test cycles the uncorrected Particle Numbers for the diesel vehicle with DPF [were] at least one order of magnitude lower [than the gasoline vehicles] at 1×10^9 to 9.9×10^9 per km….”

    Source: Bosteels, D; May, J; Karlsson, H; de Serves, C; “‘Regulated’ and ‘Non-regulated’ Emissions from Modern European Passenger Cars.” SAE 2006-01-1516

    As far as the absence of new evidence is not evidence of the absence of the hazard, I agree, but ongoing studies have shown that lab animals exposed to concentrated exhaust from a 2007-complaince diesel truck engine have shown virtually no health effect over 12 months of exposure (@ 16 hours/day –

    And as far as that goes, the same could be said of gasoline engines. Even though IARC has left gasoline engine exhaust as a Group 2B carcinogen (“possible carcinogen”), it mentioned in 1989 that the levels of exposure to gasoline PM is limited to no more than 1/20th the exposure to diesel PM testing due to the toxicity of carbon monoxide (probably another reason gasoline engines aren’t used in mines). IARC also mentioned that there is sufficient evidence for the carcinogenicity of condensates/extracts of gasoline engine exhaust, so I don’t know of any reason to suspect that the combustion-generated particles from gasoline engines aren’t at least as carcinogenic/harmful as combustion-generated particles from diesel engines, especially since diesel engines now produce far fewer particles than similar gasoline engines.

    One last point…there was an article on this site a few years ago ( quoting the panel moderator, Tim Johnson, director of environmental technologies, Corning Inc., “And particle emissions coming out of the tailpipe are at or less than ambient.” I don’t know how much more can be expected of diesel engine emission reductions.

  • Van

    I appreciate all the work you seem to be putting into the assertion that new diesels are cleaner than gas engines. Alot of this assumes the filters on the diesels actually reduce the health hazard. For filter cigarettes, they did not.

    As I understand it, diesels meet bin 5 standards, where some gas hybrids meet bin 2 standards. So for a pollution comparison, a 2010 Jetta TDI might score a 6 but a Honda Hybrid would score a 9, or far less polluting.

    Bottom line, until localized environmental studies, such as at the LA Harbor show not only a reduction in pollution as measured in the air, but also a reduction in the health effects, I would advice buying plug in hybrids, such as the Ford Fusion Energi. Just look at the EPA sticker and judge for yourself.

  • wxman

    I also meant to mention that at least two studies have shown that the mutagenicity of diesel engine exhaust (DEE) is eliminated in the gas phase by a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (Götz A. Westphal et al, “Mutagenicity of Diesel Engine Exhaust Is Eliminated in the Gas Phase by an Oxidation Catalyst but Only Slightly Reduced in the Particle Phase.” Environmental Science & Technology (2012)).

    And since DPF reduces particulate emissions to ambient levels or below, there’s nothing left to cause cancer or any other damaging health effects, as the ACES Phase 3 study has shown.

    It should also be pointed out that gasoline exhaust has been shown to be more mutagenic that traditional DEE (i.e., no DPF) in earlier studies (A. L. Brooks, et al., “A comparison of genotoxicity of automotive exhaust particles from laboratory and environmental sources.” Environmental Mutagenesis, Volume 6, Issue 5).

    So I still dispute the “current gasoline engine technology is much cleaner than current diesel engine technology” assertion, regardless of the “green scores” they receive for the reasons I’ve given.

  • wxman

    You’re correct, the current diesel cars meet Tier 2 Bin 5 while there are some current gas cars that meet Tier 2 Bin 2 (and even PZEV in California). The “green scores” are based on the bin the specific car line hits.

    However, that only addresses the exhaust emissions from the vehicle itself. I’ve done an extensive analysis of the overall (well-to-wheels) emissions of a gasoline (Bin 2) and diesel (Bin 5) versions of the same vehicle at

    And as far as exhaust emissions are concerned, I would encourage you to look through the ACES (Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study) for an in-depth emissions from several diesel truck engines that are 2007 emissions compliant. It looks not only at regulated emissions (PM, CO, etc.) but also unregulated air toxics emissions. It’s available at

  • Van

    I have provided the basis of my assertion, and supported the view based on the latest available health hazard studies. The EPA rates diesels as bin 5 polluters whereas gasoline hybrids sometimes are rated as bin 3 or even 2.

    Now a clean diesel hybrid, like the VW prototype with a 48 hp diesel, may make your case. Time will tell, but that time Sir has not arrived in my book.

  • wxman

    OK, but why are you discounting the higher upstream emissions of gasoline? The EPA “bins” don’t take that into account. Did you even look at my analysis?

  • Van

    You are right, I do not factor in emissions from the well to the refinery, and from the refinery to the service station pump. And I agree, it is likely greater pollution is released from the refinery to the service station because of volatility.

    Without sharpening a pencil I can claim greater pollution is released per gallon of refined diesel versus a gallon of gasoline from the well to the refinery. I did not see where you addressed this issue, i.e. it takes more crude to produce a gallon of diesel than a gallon of gasoline.

    Next, it was not clear your GREET model was based on current technology, i.e. the vapor recovery systems of modern cars such as the Volt.

    I am not an expert of refinery operation or transport pollution from the delivery system, but I expect the modern trucks have vapor recovery systems too.

    Bottom line, I would be surprised if the volatility of gasoline from the refinery to the pump reversed the pump to wheels pollution outcome.

  • wxman

    Hi Van,

    EPA broke down the upstream emissions by stages if you are interested. It’s available in the document, “Proposed Rulemaking for 2017-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards”,, (Table 4-12, page 4-42 [366 of 479]). I reproduced it in the bottom half of my analysis page also.

    Just to be clear, I have nothing against PHEVs or EVs.

  • wxman

    The spam filter will not allow me to submit the URL of a presentation by the main GREET model developer, Dr. Michael Wang.

    I guess you’ll have to do a google search on “GREET Life-Cycle Analysis of Vehicle/Fuel Systems” if you want to see the assumptions in the GREET model.

  • Anonymous

    What about details on the engine(s) used in the subject car. Who makes it? Is it available to other maufacturers/users?

  • wxman

    @Anonymous – it appears to be an enhanced version of the 6.6 liter Duramax diesel engine used in the GMC and Chevrolet heavy-duty pickup trucks.

  • BioDrew

    I feel obliged to mention that I do not see anyone in their comments taking into account the fact that the Iceni was engineered to accept high-blend biofuels, which in my mind is one of its strongest benefits. Trident apparently claims that the Iceni is able to run on B100 (which can be refined from 100% waste stream vegetable oil, thus eliminating competition with food stock), and even straight vegetable oils such as palm and linseed. I assume the Duramax used as the base engine is the post-2011 model, which as I understand it removes the “regeneration event” (a.k.a. post-injection) from the cylinders and adds a dedicated injector to the head of the exhaust stream, thus eliminating the potential for unburned fuel to cause engine oil contamination as in the first-generation DPF systems. In short, use of high-blend biofuel with the Iceni as is possible should dramatically change the emissions signature for the better.

  • piwright42

    I love the notion that it is diesel, and depending on how you drive it you’ll get performance in regards to speed and mileage.

    Just can’t get my skull around how it looks like the legitimate offspring of a TVR Tuscan and a Panoz Esperante Roadster. Don’t get me wrong I think it looks gorgeous, and I am not saying that anyone did any copying.

    Did the same designer Panoz tapped also work for Trident/TVR? Nope Romo is different from McTaggart. No matter this car has the nose I like best. Very smooth compared to the air dam of the Esperante and it’s hood is nowhere near as manic as the TVR.

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