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Auto blogSat, 24 Aug 2013 20:00:00 EST
For nine years, Diesel Power magazine has run the Diesel Power Challenge, this year's grindfest being "a week-long torture test that features seven events, nine trucks, 8,000 horsepower, and nearly 15,000 pound-feet of torque." The road to being crowned "the most powerful truck" starts with a dyno run, and then continues through the completion of a CDL-style obstacle course, an eighth-of-a-mile drag race while towing a 10,000-pound trailer, a quarter-mile drag race without a trailer, a fuel economy test in the mountains and finally a sled-pulling test through a 300-foot-long packed-mud pit.
What kind of trucks get into such a fight? Last year's winner, for instance - who upgraded his truck this year to prove he didn't "luck into the win" - drives a 2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty with a 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 upgraded with a custom intake, Elite Diesel triple turbos and a two-stage nitrous system. Another competitor has a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 powered by a 5.9-liter Cummins inline-six, upgraded with Garrett turbos, dual-stage nitrous, a seven-inch exhaust stack and twin fans built into the bed to cool the Sun Coast Omega transmission. The numbers on that truck: 1,255 horsepower, and 2,063 pound-feet of torque at the wheels. Naturally, as the image above might suggest, things don't always end well.
You'll find all five videos covering this years challenge below. A scene in the dyno video sums it all up perfectly: a competitor leaves his nitrous on too long and the crew is treated to some ominous poppings, he leans out the window, throws both hands up and shouts, "Amer'ca!"
Edmunds has worked up a piece that tries to figure out just how much the global Chevrolet Corvette economy is worth, a spitballed guesstimate putting the number at more than $2.5 billion with the proviso that the number is probably low. It starts by taking Corvette's new car sales of 14,132 units last year, which would equate to $714,725,900 (including destination) assuming ever car sold was a base coupe with no options. In the final tally, a little extra padding gets that number up to $750,000,000.
But that's not all. Consider this: Many of the almost 1.4 million Corvettes produced over the model's history are still on the road. There are new parts being produced and aftermarket companies like Mid-America Motorworks deaing business, that single Illinois company doing more than $40 million a year in sales. There are the Corvette events large and small, restorers who do nothing but Corvettes, salvage yards that deal only in used Corvette parts and the Corvette magazines where owners find all this stuff.
And then there are the Corvette-themed tchotchkes, every single one of which provides a tiny contribution to the huge licensing royalties that General Motors collects every year. The article admits there's no way to come to an accurate number, but it just goes to show how valuable one specific model can be to a company.
Consumer Reports criticizes small turbo engines for misleading performance, fuel economy claims [w/video]Tue, 05 Feb 2013 10:13:00 EST
Consumer Reports has taken aim at at small-displacement, forced-induction engines, saying the powerplants don't manage to deliver on automaker fuel economy claims. Manufacturers have long held that smaller, turbocharged engines pack all power of their larger displacement cousins with significantly better fuel economy, but the research organization says that despite scoring high EPA economy numbers, the engines are no better than conventional drivetrains in both categories. Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, says the forced induction options "are often slower and less fuel efficient than larger four and six-cylinder engines."
Specifically, CR calls out the new Ford Fusion equipped with the automaker's Ecoboost 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. The institute's researchers found the engine, which is a $795 option over the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder, fails to match competitors in acceleration and served up 25 miles per gallon in testing, putting the sedan dead last among other midsize options.
The Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Sonata Turbo and Ford Escape 2.0T all got dinged for the same troubles, though Consumer Reports has found the turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the BMW 328i does deliver on its promises. You can check out the full press release below. You can also read the full study on the Consumer Reports site, or scroll down for a short video recap.