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Prius vs BMW M3 vs MPG at Top Gear: Who Wins?


I really didn’t like what the Top Gear guys did the last time to a Prius, but this time I think they have a point (partially). They’re going to race a Toyota Prius (1.5L)versus a BMW M3 (4L). Of course the BMW will win the competition… but wait… not the speed competition. The BMW will get 19mpg and the Prius only 17mpg. Why is that? Does it prove that the Prius is more of a gas-guzzler than the BMW?  No.

The following happened: the BMW, with its 4L engine, did the trip with its engine at low rpm, because it can do much more with it, and the Prius over-revved its small engine, eating much more fuel, since it wasn’t designed for that kind of load.

The Top Gear hosts say it all depends on the way you drive, and I agree with that, but the competition they just did here doesn’t prove that if you take your Prius to a calm city walk its consumption will be more or equal to a BMW’s, in whatever manner you would drive that BMW. Even if you keep it to the engine’s stall limit, a minimum value of consumption would still be much higher than the Prius has. My father does that with his 2.0L Ford, and he keeps getting values of 23MPG in a relatively small town (not a lot of red lights).

On the other hand, some say there is more pollution in making the Prius than a Hummer can do in a lifetime by burning gasoline. I agree with that to some extent, but not completely . Still, Toyota should find a more economical and environmentally-friendly solution for their Prius to be really green from head to toes (when I say that, I mean the battery).

Go ahead and watch the video!

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  1. Then again, the prius DOES suck balls and anybody who thinks it is better than a normal car for the planet is of course a lunatic who needs to rethink their life. It takes 30 years for the BUILD of a prius to equal out to the USE of a regular car. Yup, keep making batteries you hippy morons

  2. The video “test” of course was total nonsense. A formula 1 driver drove the Prius between maximum acceleration and maximum brake. This forces the engine into maximum power mode where the engine efficiency falls off and maximum braking exceeds the regenerative braking capability. In the meanwhile, Clarkson simply followed without braking or accelerating except to keep at a similar AVERAGE speed. The 19 MPG reported is just under the 20 MPG mileage rating of that BMW.

    The Top Gear web site claims the Prius and the BMW 318 diesel have the same mileage in the “extra urban” cycle. This makes sense as the current extra urban cycle is the highway mileage test. But Top Gear is comparing a manual transmission BMW 318 versus an automatic Prius, not the automatic transmission BMW 318. In that test, the Prius wipes out the BMW 318 in both the extra urban and the urban tests.

    But there is one quote in this report that is unsupported,”On the other hand, there is more pollution in making the Prius than a Hummer can do in a lifetime by burning gasoline. I agree with that.” Please provide the backup documentation and let’s do some ‘fact checking.’

    I have no problem if there are facts supporting this claim. After all, a dirty Prius should be just the thing for Clarkson.

    Bob Wilson
    625k Inc.


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