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Thread: Diesel cars in America

  1. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    Yep and the whole point of a diesel engine is that you can, nerve saving, stay in the lower half of the rev range (without giving up much of its performance(, and wonder what the fuss is all about those high revving, nerve racking, petrol engines.....
    The BMW has plenty of low down torque (5th gear at 30 is no problem, quieter and more refined than a diesel too), but with responsiveness a diesel can't match. Then as the diesel runs out of puff, the exhaust valve on the BMW opens and you're treated to a classic straight six howl and feel like you're riding a wave that's getting faster and faster all the way to the redline.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    Did not try a new C5, when I bought this one the new was just on the market, and is both smaller and heavier than mine. If the current car will be replaced, it will be by either a C6 or the C5 Tourer with the 3.0 V6 Hdi as also found in the Jaguar XF.
    The 3.0HDi is definitely one of the very best diesels at the moment...and you can even get a 270BHP version from Jaguar. But it is an engine that does suit the C5 / 6 and actually one that's better with an auto 'box (I tried a C6 recently and was impressed, however see my comments below).

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    That car would be an exact meeting of the general US demand for low revving, high torque engines.
    I don't disagree...but given that in the US you don't have to worry about fuel prices, I'd rather drive something that's more appealing to an enthusiast.

    The way I see it is that diesel engines are a compromise for people who use their car as an appliance and see it as no different to the white goods in their kitchen. However as an enthusiast, given the choice I'd always choose a good petrol over a good diesel...

    ...the best way I can explain it is like this: A diesel engine is like a nervous teenager in their first sexual encounter - a shaky start (below say 2k rpm) before suddenly everything is delivered prematurely and they run out of stamina when you want them to keep going! - It's a disappointment and not a good experience when compared to a petrol that starts off responsive and builds into a thrilling climax.

    Do you mean to tell me that if you didn't have to worry about fuel economy you'd prefer a diesel? Even in something like a Lancia Stratos (which IIRC you said was one of your dream cars)?

    Personally, I'd like all non-enthusiasts to move onto driving electric cars as the technology matures, leaving us enthusiasts with a more plentiful supply of super unleaded.
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  2. #197
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    Some people enjoy driving diesels. Others enjoy hypermiling. Others enjoy country and western music. So yes, I'm sure there are people who'd enjoy a Stratos occasionally and a nice comfy diesel to tour about at other times.
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  3. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clivey View Post
    The BMW has plenty of low down torque (5th gear at 30 is no problem, quieter and more refined than a diesel too), but with responsiveness a diesel can't match. Then as the diesel runs out of puff, the exhaust valve on the BMW opens and you're treated to a classic straight six howl and feel like you're riding a wave that's getting faster and faster all the way to the redline.



    The 3.0HDi is definitely one of the very best diesels at the moment...and you can even get a 270BHP version from Jaguar. But it is an engine that does suit the C5 / 6 and actually one that's better with an auto 'box (I tried a C6 recently and was impressed, however see my comments below).



    I don't disagree...but given that in the US you don't have to worry about fuel prices, I'd rather drive something that's more appealing to an enthusiast.

    The way I see it is that diesel engines are a compromise for people who use their car as an appliance and see it as no different to the white goods in their kitchen. However as an enthusiast, given the choice I'd always choose a good petrol over a good diesel...

    ...the best way I can explain it is like this: A diesel engine is like a nervous teenager in their first sexual encounter - a shaky start (below say 2k rpm) before suddenly everything is delivered prematurely and they run out of stamina when you want them to keep going! - It's a disappointment and not a good experience when compared to a petrol that starts off responsive and builds into a thrilling climax.

    Do you mean to tell me that if you didn't have to worry about fuel economy you'd prefer a diesel? Even in something like a Lancia Stratos (which IIRC you said was one of your dream cars)?

    Personally, I'd like all non-enthusiasts to move onto driving electric cars as the technology matures, leaving us enthusiasts with a more plentiful supply of super unleaded.

    I think you should not compare your C4 1.6 with a 3 litre petrol BMW. I am quite sure that a 330d or 335d would "blow away" your car in the departments that you are referring to. (that is enthusiast terminology)
    I compared the 1.6 Hdi that we have in the C3 now with the 1.6 16 valve petrol engine we had in the Stilo and the diesel is by far the better although it seems be to 8 horses down on actual BHP. (and when your exhaust valves opens, so does your wallet...)

    Your teenage encounter comparison is interesting. First we have to realise that each car needs "foreplay" just to get the "juices" on the right temperature....then we have the first diesel "explosion" and then as a deus ex machina, we use the gear box and bang, there is another one, on a level that a petrol engine can't match.....and finally, the diesel goes on and on and on...so talking about stamina...

    (and then there is your in-line six thrilling climax: Ask Dave Richards about the use of an inline six in last year's Aston Martin prototype, and he will probably kill you.....you may also want to check out what Uwe Baretzky said about the M1 racing engine that he was involved with in period)

    I agree with your reference about the US, but apparently you are under the impression that all americans are enthusiast drivers...they are clearly not, mostly they are just happily pottering along doing 65 mph....and this topic is about diesel in America, which, I maintain, is extremely suitable to the driving style of the overwhelming majority of motorists there.

    And yes, economy is an issue, when you drive over 40000 km per year and diesel is about 25p per liter CHEAPER in Holland than petrol, diesel becomes an attractive choice, one that I made in 1985 for the first time and have never regretted. (And no, I don't want to drive 40k in a Stratos each year, and also not in an A110).
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  4. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    I think you should not compare your C4 1.6 with a 3 litre petrol BMW. I am quite sure that a 330d or 335d would "blow away" your car in the departments that you are referring to. (that is enthusiast terminology)
    My BMW's a 2.2-litre (E46 320i) - although it is same block as the 3.0-litre and I'm only comparing these cars as that's what I have. The BMW still compares favourably to the equivalent E46 320d (£3,000 more to buy used) until you start talking about fuel economy (which is why the 3.0-litre petrol was sold in the 'states and the diesel wasn't). I've worked-out that the BMW will cost me approximately £600/year more in fuel than the C4 if they're used equally.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    I compared the 1.6 Hdi that we have in the C3 now with the 1.6 16 valve petrol engine we had in the Stilo and the diesel is by far the better although it seems be to 8 horses down on actual BHP. (and when your exhaust valves opens, so does your wallet...)
    You'll notice that earlier I used the phrase "I'd rather have a good petrol over a good diesel...

    If you really want to compare like with like, you'd need to compare it to a car with the 1.6THP turbo petrol engine and to be honest, I'd be surprised if the 1.6THP isn't a nicer engine than the 1.6HDi although I haven't experienced the former.

    If you're really interested in being fair, you should compare my 2.2-litre NA petrol to a NA diesel of similar capacity. The only recent one I can think of is the VW SDi engine...and let's not go there.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    Your teenage encounter comparison is interesting. First we have to realise that each car needs "foreplay" just to get the "juices" on the right temperature....
    No, really. Try any 6-cylinder E46 with a manual box. They all have plenty of instant power / torque low down in the rev range, unless your name's 'Schumacher'. I can just leave mine in 5th at any speed above 30 and have no trouble keeping up with traffic. It just gets even stronger and more exciting if you use the second half of the rev range, which is precisely where diesels lose their composure.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    then we have the first diesel "explosion" and then as a deus ex machina, we use the gear box and bang, there is another one, on a level that a petrol engine can't match.....and finally, the diesel goes on and on and on...so talking about stamina...
    I'm sorry but that just isn't the case regarding the majority of diesel / petrol comparisons. A good petrol will provide more acceleration in the top half of a lower gear than the equivalent diesel would provide in the bottom half of the next gear. - You say that the petrols "just can't match" the diesels...so which diesels are faster than the following for a similar purchase price?

    - Fiat Panda 100HP
    - Renault Clio Sport 200 Cup
    - Vauxhall Insignia VXR
    - Subaru Impreza WRX
    - Nissan 370Z
    - Lotus Exige
    - BMW M3
    - Porsche 911 (997) S
    - Ferrari 458 Italia

    - The answer is that there aren't any viable alternatives...because diesels don't suit performance cars such as these.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    (and then there is your in-line six thrilling climax: Ask Dave Richards about the use of an inline six in last year's Aston Martin prototype, and he will probably kill you.....you may also want to check out what Uwe Baretzky said about the M1 racing engine that he was involved with in period)
    You mean to tell me that all 6-cylinder petrols aren't suitable for racing? I suggest you get on the phone to Nissan and Porsche and tell them to fire all of their engineers - you would have thought that after 40-odd years in Porsche's case they'd have figured this out.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    I agree with your reference about the US, but apparently you are under the impression that all americans are enthusiast drivers...they are clearly not, mostly they are just happily pottering along doing 65 mph....and this topic is about diesel in America, which, I maintain, is extremely suitable to the driving style of the overwhelming majority of motorists there.
    I haven't once stated that all Americans are car enthusiasts (they produced the Geo Metro after all ), but you seem to think that a diesel engine is all things to all men. They're fine for shopping / motorways / towing / saving money but the main point I'm trying to make is that if you don't have to compromise, then why do so?

    Besdies, It's not worth Americans investing heavily in diesel - they might as well move straight onto electric cars if they want to save fuel and use economies of scale to push the vehicle prices down.

    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    And yes, economy is an issue, when you drive over 40000 km per year and diesel is about 25p per liter CHEAPER in Holland than petrol, diesel becomes an attractive choice, one that I made in 1985 for the first time and have never regretted. (And no, I don't want to drive 40k in a Stratos each year, and also not in an A110).
    In your case, I completely understand and given your fuel prices / tax system, petrols only make sense if you're buying a sports car...but you're in Holland and the topic of this thread is 'Diesels in America'. Having mentioned electric cars as an alternative to diesels for the Americans that are concerned with efficiency; what do you think to cars such as the GM Volt and Tesla Model S?
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  5. #200
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    before going into all your other points, please tell me which I6 engine Porsche has been using,ever....
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  6. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimento View Post
    Some people enjoy driving diesels. Others enjoy hypermiling. Others enjoy country and western music. So yes, I'm sure there are people who'd enjoy a Stratos occasionally and a nice comfy diesel to tour about at other times.
    And fair play to them - it's just the assertion that diesels are the answer to every question that I'm challenging. Although you have to admit that if you went to a dinner party, you'd probably pay money not to sit next to those obsessed with "hypermiling".



    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    before going into all your other points, please tell me which I6 engine Porsche has been using,ever....
    I said "6-cylinder". There are no intrinsic problems that make an I6 any less reliable than a V6 (in fact they're smoother without the need for a balancer shaft), in fact, Jeep fans will attest to the durability of 4.0-litre I6 Wranglers. BMW will even build you a car with an inline 6 diesel should you so desire.
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  7. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clivey View Post


    I said "6-cylinder". There are no intrinsic problems that make an I6 any less reliable than a V6 (in fact they're smoother without the need for a balancer shaft), in fact, Jeep fans will attest to the durability of 4.0-litre I6 Wranglers. BMW will even build you a car with an inline 6 diesel should you so desire.
    I specifically addressed the I6 issues, with Aston Martin as a recent example, and Uwe Baretzky's comments on this I6 concept.....(from his time when he was responsible for racing the BMW M1s) The Aston Martin engine will not be seen again.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  8. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    I specifically addressed the I6 issues, with Aston Martin as a recent example, and Uwe Baretzky's comments on this I6 concept.....(from his time when he was responsible for racing the BMW M1s) The Aston Martin engine will not be seen again.
    But you could give examples of reliability problems with engines from any layout, could you not? The 1.6HDi we both have is no stranger to turbo failure, for example.

    I'm simply saying that for the US, I don't think diesel is the answer. They can afford the "luxury" of a petrol engine. If they want to save money / the environment, they'd be better off investing in electric cars in the long term. Most people could use a GM Volt to commute and go shopping, for example. Many urbanites wouldn't even use the petrol engine every day.

    Diesels have their place, but they're not a one-size-fits-all solution.
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  9. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clivey View Post
    But you could give examples of reliability problems with engines from any layout, could you not?
    the I6 problems (as faced by Aston Martin and in the M1) were not reliability related but structural...(and I referred to the I-6 cylinder because you were talking BMW, which as we know, does not use a V or a flat six)

    Anyway, the main characteristics of diesel engines do meet the average US driving style, as I have observed for many years now, i.e. low revving, sufficient torque and (increasingly important) a good fuel economy. What will most likely prevent a further increase in market share is the increasing cost of emission control.

    Electric vehicles might be a solution, but not for all purposes for which you buy a car. (And of course the production of electricity does not come without any pollution as well)
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting, but it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously." Douglas Adams

  10. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
    the I6 problems (as faced by Aston Martin and in the M1) were not reliability related but structural...(and I referred to the I-6 cylinder because you were talking BMW, which as we know, does not use a V or a flat six)

    Anyway, the main characteristics of diesel engines do meet the average US driving style, as I have observed for many years now, i.e. low revving, sufficient torque and (increasingly important) a good fuel economy. What will most likely prevent a further increase in market share is the increasing cost of emission control.

    Electric vehicles might be a solution, but not for all purposes for which you buy a car. (And of course the production of electricity does not come without any pollution as well)
    Completely agree. The thing is: Americans are used to paying less for their cars and diesels are (at least here) £thousands more expensive than the same capacity petrols. Coupled with the fact that they won't see the same monetary savings through greater fuel economy and diesels don't make as much sense as in Europe. By the time Joe Average has paid the extra purchase price of diesel, he might as well go the whole hog.

    Electric vehicles are improving quickly - a few short years ago, they required too much in the way of compromise (short range, all night to recharge etc.), and even though most manufacturers haven't released any production models yet, we're beginning to see models that are practical enough for everyday use. The good thing about batteries is that progress is relentless - comparing my new MacBook Pro to my 6-year-old PowerBook illustrates my point perfectly. The new Tesla model S promises unto 300 miles on a charge and they're not even mainstream yet.

    As regards to generating the power to charge the batteries: That's up to the state. Government keeps telling motorists to "go green" - if we drive electric cars, the ball will be in their court.
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  11. #206
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    Still prefer the idea of a diesel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcp123 View Post
    Still prefer the idea of a diesel.
    Then go ahead by all means. Just don't fool yourself into thinking it's some kind of magic. What class of car (& price) are you thinking about and how many miles would you cover per year in one?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitdy View Post
    Diesel is higher in energy content by mass and by volume than gasoline.
    pretty sure diesel has a lower calorific value, something like 45 mj/kg compared to a bit more for 'petrol'. diesel does have a better resistance to self ignition and more predictable behavior (diesel burns (i.e Deflagration) under pressure but petrol detonates) allowing for a higher compression ratio and ultimately a higher engine thermal efficiency in a diesel which is where the real efficiency comparison can be found.

    Diesel engines where/are nosier because of the process of pumping fuel to a high pressure and injecting with high pressure drops into cylinder. Modern engines do this better now with clever electrical and variable injectors etc but if you imagine the old cylinder by cylinder mechanical pumps found in VW PD engines you will catch my drift. I might be wrong, just an area of interest. Large industrial diesels occasionally fall into my work offshore.
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  14. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clivey View Post
    Then go ahead by all means. Just don't fool yourself into thinking it's some kind of magic. What class of car (& price) are you thinking about and how many miles would you cover per year in one?
    Well, so far there's not much out there for me to choose from! I'd want a d-segment wagon or a Mazda5ish size vehicle. With manual trans of course.
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  15. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcp123 View Post
    Well, so far there's not much out there for me to choose from! I'd want a d-segment wagon or a Mazda5ish size vehicle. With manual trans of course.
    According to their US sites, neither Audi or BMW offer their diesel-engined A4 or 3-Series in the 'States (though I realise that these are going to be too expensive anyway) - who does offer diesel D-segment cars in the US at the moment? Is it pretty much just VW and the Passat?

    As for a manual 'box...actually, diesels work better with autos IMHO (with the exception of off road vehicles as you'd want the control of a manual & clutch) as the gearbox works around the turbo lag / flat spots. I certainly wish I had the EGS (paddle shift) version of the C4, but when I bought mine, they were £2,000 more.
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