The middle class savers in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
The savings masters of the middle class in the test
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It looks a bit like a teacher, the display in the A udi A4 : “Only disengage below 1,300 rpm, engine brake” or “Please note gear shift indicator”. It's good. But you can also understand the developers somewhere. After months of detailed work, every drop of fuel is haggled over - how annoying when the driver does not use the full potential.

The manufacturers' diet programs look similar

Finally, the TDI and five other colleagues want in the second part of the auto motor und sport savings championship show how frugally a fully-fledged family car can be moved. In contrast to the Compacts that run on petrol, diesel, gas or as a hybrid, the manufacturers rely on the classic diesel engine for the most economical variants of their mid-range models across the board. There is also broad agreement on the displacement: except for VW and Mercedes (1.6 or 2, 1 liter) only two-liter four-cylinder units come under the hood. The rest of the diet program is just as comparable: with low-friction tires, optimized engine management, improved aerodynamics or longer gear ratios, the engineers apply their consumption files to the same points.

In addition, there are gearshift displays that are intended to encourage a low-speed driving style. With so much drive consensus, it is not surprising that the test consumptions are close together: On average over all measurements, the thirstiest candidate, the 170 hp Mercedes C 220 CDI, just 0.7 liters over the 65 hp weaker ascetic king VW Passat TDI Blue Motion that burns just 5.4 liters of fuel over 100 kilometers . And that despite the fact that he's like the Ford Mondeo Econetic as a station wagon - so not in the lightest variant.

The gear ratio counts

The individual consumption trips reveal further interesting differences: For example, the VW Passat, of all things, achieved the second worst result on the autobahn. No wonder, since it has to get by with a five-speed transmission optimized for the ECE measurement, which is why it rotates around 2,500 rpm at 140 km /h, which is significantly higher than the six-speed competitors. Despite its six gears, the transmission in the Opel Insignia Ecoflex is also not entirely convincing. Thanks to the extremely long gear ratio, it achieves top values ​​on motorways and standard laps, but on the overland test route it achieves the highest individual consumption of 7.3 liters.

The extra weight costs consumption points

Due to the many inclines and tight bends, downshifts often had to be made, which in theory resulted in longer gear ratios on the contrary. In addition, its high weight is noticeable here. Although the engines of the middle class have around 30 percent more power than those of Golf, Prius & Co., their CO2 emissions and thus consumption are only ten percent higher. Also respectable in view of the differences in space and weight: After all, the compact class weighs an average of 200 kilos less.

On-board computers tend to be glossed over

That the three candidates have a start-stop system (Audi A4, BMW 316d and VW Passat) land in the first three places, however, is coincidence. Due to the winter temperatures on the test days, the BMW Not at all, Audi and VW only in a few individual cases. In addition, the route profile of the overland and motorway circuit did not contain any stance phases. Most of the savings can be made with start-stop in the city in summer. By the way, drivers should not rely on the on-board computer values: Even if not all candidates withheld a whole liter like the Mondeo , they tend to be glossed over. With one laudable exception: on the autobahn, the Mercedes was even two tenths more economical than indicated by the on-board computer.

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