Nurburgring is the place where all major carmakers test their cars but also their latest hypercars in order to see which one is the fastest. Three digits records are not something new at the Nurburgring and every time we see reports about speed and miles per hour. But what about miles per gallon?
Apparently, we have a response for this too, as Toyota took its Prius Plug-in hybrid to the iconic German racetrack in order to see not how fast the car can go, but how little fuel it uses on a single lap. For those who don’t know, the minimum average speed on the Nurburgring is 60 km/h (37 mph), while the length is 20 km or 12.9 miles.
The vehicle, which was upgraded with the addition of TRD parts, was driven by motoring journalists and Japanese car expert Joe Clifford. According to Toyota, he managed to complete the lap in 20 minutes and 50 seconds, while recording an impressive 698mpg (0.4 l/100 km).
This is absolutely impressive, taking in consideration that the combined fuel consumption of the Prius is 134 mpg (2.1 l/100 km). The Toyota Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle petrol engine that delivers 136 hp and also carries a compact, rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) is made in 10.4 seconds, while top speed is limited at 180 km/h or 111.8 mph.
Toyota targets to set a new miles-per-gallon record at the Nurburgring without resorting to tricky body works or technical modifications. The Japanese carmaker is fielding a standard Toyota Prius Plug-in to undergo a genuine real-world test, with the car moving through traffic during a public session while meeting all the circuit rules that include a minimum average speed of 60 km/h.
On paper, the 60 km/h minimum average speed requirement as well as the 12.9-mile long circuit puts the act just within the all-electric range that Toyota published for the Prius Plug-in. Notably, its performance is intended to meet the daily driving requirement of urban drivers. Thus, in theory, the Prius Plug-in could complete 12.9 miles of the circuit without even consuming a drop of petrol.
Assigned to get behind the wheel of the Prius Plug-in during the 12.9-mile run is automotive journalist and Japanese car expert Joe Clifford. The Prius Plug-in in the project is a standard unit that Clifford recently upgraded with styling elements from TRD, which means that it doesn’t have any additional parts that could make it more fuel-efficient.
The 12.9-mile drive was done in dry, breezy conditions, and Clifford’s Prius Plug-in managed to complete the lap in 20 minutes and 59 seconds while recording a fuel economy number of 698 mpg – more the five times the vehicle’s combined cycle figure of 134 mpg. In its conventional fuel equivalent, 698 mpg meant that the Prius Plug-in consumed less than five tablespoons of fuel to complete the lap.
This feat was achieved thanks to a development of Toyota's full hybrid system that makes use of a 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle petrol engine and a compact, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery was design to offer a performance and energy density that allows the all-electric mode of the Prius Plug-in to be driven at greater distance and higher speeds than a standard Prius.