By on January 20, 2014

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Recently, I spent some of my procrastinating time in Facebook discussion with a colleague, motoring journalist here in Czech Republic. He was driving a new Range Rover at the time, and he was raving about how great car it was. But there was one flaw, he said. The car came with the most common engine on our market – the TDV6 diesel. And while it didn’t really lack power and was reasonable refined, even for the luxury car it is, there was one thing it just lacked. A V8. Preferably, of the gasoline-burning kind.

Which naturally led to crucial question: Why do things like a six cylinder, diesel-powered Range Rover even exist. And why are so many people buying them? You may say that it’s a natural response to the fact that a Range Rover 5.0 V8, or the more appropriate 5.0 Supercharged, is gulping the gas in horrendous quantities, and gas is expensive in Europe. So it’s better to have the more frugal car.

But my reply will be: So what?

Let me elaborate on this a little. Imagine that you are really in the shoes of someone who can afford the Range Rover. Someone, who is either so succesful and affluent, or so fiscally careless, that he can treat himself with one of the most luxurious, most prestigious and of course also most expensive mass produced cars.

Someone who is content with the idea that his shiny, brand new Range, which cost him about the price of a small house (at least here in the Czech Republic) will be worth about a third of the price, maybe even less, when he will be selling it in some 3 years.

You buy a new Range diesel for some 130 thousand Euros, or $170k. You drive it for three years and decide that you want a new one. So you sell it, or trade it in, and get another shiny new one. A nice example of a 2010 Range Rover with some 40k miles (typical mileage of a normal European driver in three years) will fetch something like €40-45k (about $60k). And that’s a V8 one, because a V6 diesel wasn’t available then.

This means the thing cost you about 90 thousand Euros, or 120 thousand dollars, in those three years/40k miles. With simple math, we arrive to a rather staggering cost of THREE DOLLARS PER MILE. Or, put another way, a 109 dollars per day, even if the sucker is parked. Which is, even at European prices, about half a tank of gas.

And it’s the same story for other luxury SUVs, as well as posh sedans. The value drop may be a little less harsh for a sporty coupe, like a 911 or a Jag XK, or some supercar. But any “normal” luxury car will cost you dearly.

Let’s put this into some perspective. If we look at the actual fuel mileage of the current generation of Range Rovers (using great fuel economy tracking site www.SpritMonitor.de), we see that a TDV6 Rangie will need roughly 11 liters of diesel fuel for every 100 kilometers (or 62 miles) travelled. This translates to roughly 22mpg. The monstrous, ineffective gas hog that is the 5.0 Supercharged will gulp a horrendous amount of 15 liters of gasoline for the same distance. Which is about 15mpg.

So, time for more math. Gasoline is just a tiny bit more expensive in some part of Europe, while in many countries (like my homeland), it costs the same. But let’s say that a liter of gas costs a €1.50, while a liter of diesel costs €1.40. This translates in €15.40 ($20) per 100km (62 miles) for the diesel and €22.50 ($30) for the Supercharged. Which means that each mile will cost you €0.24 ($0.32) and €0.36 ($0.48) for the big one.

This makes the difference in fuel costs between the two cars a whopping DIME AND A HALF. For a vehicle which costs about three dollars a mile in depreciation costs alone, plus some more for servicing costs, tires and other stuff. Which will, in the end, make one mile worth about four dollars.

Buying a diesel car, which, however nice the modern diesels may be, is still slower and less refined than the “proper” one, will thus save you about 2.5 percent of the TCO. To me, this seems a bit like drinking Dom Perignon out of a plastic cup to save on glassware.

Of course, there are cases where diesel engines make sense for expensive cars. An A8 or a S420CDI, used for frequent business trips across Europe may easily rack those 40 thousand miles in a single year, and may well be kept around for 4 or 5 years, making the depreciation costs less significant, and the fuel costs much more important. And the same goes for hotel limos and other heavily driven cars.

But people are still buying diesels even when they don’t drive that much. Look at some European car classifieds site, like Mobile.de, and you will find surprisingly many low-mileage luxurious diesels.

Why are people doing that? Is it that the rich tend to be savvy and look at every penny? Or is it just a habit from the times when they weren’t so rich and the lower running costs of a VW TDI actually mattered? Or is it that they just hate gas stations and rather live with the worse engine, just so they don’t have to fill up so often?

My theory is different. I think that motoring journalists may be at fault.

As you probably know (especially if you read TTAC a lot), motoring hacks typically aren’t exactly rich. To make a living from driving brand new cars, travelling around the world and writing about it is so enticing a prospect in itself that it’s not necessary to pay people big bucks for doing it.

So, most of us will only experience the Range Rover or S-klasse through the relatively short, usually a week-long test. Some of us may actually buy those cars – in 10 or 20 years, when someone else already swallowed all the depreciation costs. The Range Rover costs about the same money as our apartment, and likely more than we actually make in three years. And the only expense we actually get to feel, is the price of fuel.

I’m not sure about other countries, but here in CZ, the journos usually pay for their gas. You get the obligatory full tank at the beginning of the week, some more generous magazines may provide you with fuel for photoshoots and so on, but after that, you have to fill up for your own money.

And, since average European motoring journo usually spends most of the time behind the wheel of diesel hatchbacks, diesel MPVs and other slow, unglamorous and in fact rather boring stuff, he tends to make the most of his week with an expensive car. He shows off, gives friends rides, shows what the big V8 can do. So, he racks up awful lot of miles, and since the rare experience with the powerful car has to be lived to the fullest, has a lead foot. So the Range won’t get 15mpg, like it does in the hand of someone who is accustomed to the power of the V8, but barely reaches 10. Which makes filling the 100 liter fuel tank inevitable and very, very painful.

I actually remember that one time, I voluntarily decided to exchange press Audi S5 Sportback for a lowly Skoda Fabia mid-week, solely on the grounds of the fact that in my rather “spirited” driving, the Audi got about 10mpg on average (and something like four or five when tearing the backroads – the supercharged V6 is only better than the 4.2 V8 on paper) and cost me $150 in the first two days. While the Fabia got 40 mpg and, more importantly, a tank full of gas I didn’t have to pay for.

For most journos, such experience is enough to write something along the lines of “the 5.0 Supercharged is a remarkably refined and powerful, but it will bankrupt you with fuel costs, so the six-cylinder diesel is the more prudent choice”.

But it isn’t. If you do some real job and are so succesful and affluent that you can afford a new Range Rover or A8, fuel costs will not bankrupt you. Actually, in the total cost of running such car, you won’t even feel it. And if you’re worried about the polar bears – think of all the people who won’t breathe soot from another diesel truck instead.

@VojtaDobes is motoring journalist from Czech Republic, who previously worked for local editions of Autocar and TopGear magazines. Today, he runs his own website, www.Autickar.cz and serves as editor-in-chief at www.USmotors.cz. After a failed adventure with importing classic American cars to Europe, he is utterly broke, so he drives a borrowed Lincoln Town Car. His previous cars included a 1988 Caprice in NYC Taxi livery, a hot-rodded Opel Diplomat, two Dodge Coronets, a Simca, a Fiat 600 and Austin Maestro. He has never owned a diesel, manual wagon.

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96 Comments on “About Motoring Journalists And Luxury Diesels...”


  • avatar
    Vega

    Nice theory, but flawed. Even wealthy people can count, that’s why they have become wealthy.

    Your theory has 3 flawed premises:

    1. Most European luxury cars are leased as tax-deductible company cars by higher-level employees or self-employed lawyers, doctors etc. Which significantly lowers the depreciation impact and thus increases the total share of fuel cost.

    2. These company cars (and SUVs) usually have higher mileage, the average of about 40,000 miles in three years you cite is lowered by smaller, cheaper, privately owned cars. Just search autoscout24 for 3 year old E classes, 5 series BMWs or A6s and check the average mileage there…

    3. Your biggest mistake is equating Diesel with slow. Anyone who has ever driven in real life knows that, especially on the freeway (e.g. the Autobahn), low-end torque is what counts. Just compare a 530d with a 535i on a fast trip from, say, Munich to Frankfurt and you will see that in real driving 560NM vs. 400NM is a far more important statistic than 245hp vs. 306hp.

    • 0 avatar

      The 2-year lease is the ultimate gift to the luxury car buyer.

      $1500 a month for a W222, A8, BMW7, S7 or RS7
      $1000 a month for an XJ-L, Jeep SRT, Escalade or ModelS.
      $2000 a month for a Lamborghini.

      Why swallow depreciation when you don’t have to and can still drive in style?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Leasing is perpetually swallowing depreciation.

        • 0 avatar
          Spartan

          Finally! Someone who gets it. Thanks danio3834 because for the life of me, I don’t understand why people don’t understand this, especially with a high end luxury car leased to a consumer.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Yep, lease payments are adjusted largely on residual values, so the lesee is literally paying for the depreciation of the vehicle for the lessor.

          • 0 avatar
            Andy

            A lot of people don’t care. They want a nice new car, and to never have to worry about maintenance, and to always look great. And they often have their company paying for it anyway.

            I suspect diesels lease cheaper. And that the author gives himself a bit too much credit for the buying habits of thousands of consumers…

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The tax laws in the US aren’t as favorable to leasing as they are in Europe.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Buying new is financing the depreciation AND the buyout. At least with a lease you only finance the former.

          This has been re-hashed like 20 million times on the Internet. If you buy new anyways, leasing can save you money in many cases.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            Actually, no. Leasing results in a lower monthly payment than buying, but that’s not saving money.

            Leasing companies get to play games with quoted interest rates, but when you analyze the real cost of the lease, you’re financing at double-digit interest rates – which is what makes leasing more expensive.

            You can only win if the leasing company makes a big mistake in calculating the residual value. Which has happened, but only rarely. Very rarely.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Leases can include considerable OEM incentives, particularly for luxury cars.

            In some US states, the sales tax is only owed on the lease payment, rather than the entire underlying purchase price of the car, which can also help the lease deal.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Anybody leasing should be paying attention to the money factor, which is the equivalent of Interest rate.

        • 0 avatar
          JalopNick

          So is owning.

          The following is US-specific:

          When used for business (whether leased by an individual or by a company), the payments are almost 100% deductible (i.e. you pay less in taxes each year). An owned business vehicle must be depreciated over 5 years (so you pay more in taxes each year). If you sell it after 5 years, anything you get for it must be recaptured as income (sale of depreciated asset), so you pay even more taxes. In most states you only pay sales tax (i.e. “use tax”) on the monthly lease payment, not on the residual, so effectively you pay about half the sales tax over the duration of the lease, and you do that a bit every month as opposed to all at once. With the time value of money, that adds up.

          Leasing means you’re always covered by warranty and with some brands (BMW is the perfect example) you also have zero maintenance cost (brake jobs and everything). This is only relevant when comparing to buying something used and “depreciated”.

          You drive a new vehicle and get a loaner or rental every time you service it, there’s little chance of getting stranded somewhere by a breakdown, less work missed etc. That’s worth money too.

          Depending on how crazy you go with the options list (most high-end options do not residualize well at all, i.e. the mid-grade model is worth just a tad less than the pimped-up one at the end of a lease), you can find that leasing is actually the cheaper alternative unless you want to drive a beater into the ground or wrench yourself etc.
          For the non-DIY owner, leasing is often barely more expensive than buying used in terms of TCO. For a business-use situation, leasing is usually cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        @Bigtruck. Are those actual numbers? I’ve always joked that I could drive a Lamborghini for what I pay for daycare. Turns out I was wrong, could have a Lambo and a Tesla.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Now to convince the wife to let me use that money for a car when the little one is school age…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          For that kind of money I would seek out an au pair and save the hassle of running the brats around.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            I’d love to, MA has highest child care costs in the country, au pair, nanny whatever its all expensive. I guess all the hoops they have to jump through to be certified is a comfort.

          • 0 avatar
            JalopNick

            I’ll take your MA costs and raise you a few hundred. We peaked at a Lambo + a Tesla + gas and electricity money for just 2 kids when they were very young.
            (People’s Republic of CA here)

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          CGJEEP,

          Those numbers are about right. I think a Gallardo is actually about $2,500 a month though. They will give you an XJ-L at the Jaguar dealership all day for $1000/month, they will beg you to take it.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Oh here we go, HP vs torque we got a real genius here. Back to physics and math class come back when you can calculate the torque applied to the wheels and we can talk about why HP matters.

      Now tell me which diesel variant costs the same as its gas equivalent and is faster? They are getting close but not there yet. The MPG is nice though!

      • 0 avatar
        Vega

        Thanks for the nice condescension.

        All I know is when I you want to effortlessly merge into the fast lane without having to drop a gear, a lot of torque at low revs is better than less torque at higher revs.

        • 0 avatar
          The_real_JB

          Fortunately we don’t all live in “the real world” where you’re not allowed to change down from top.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          No problem ;-) I really should refrain from Internet commentary and let uniformed people remain uninformed.

          You are certainly talking about a nice characteristic of a diesel, though there are plenty of gas engines with this characteristic too, properly geared the effect is the same. Diesel will necessarily have taller gearing that negates much of torque advantage.

          So to challenge “all you know” I searched Car and Driver real quick for a VW TDI comparison:

          6 speed Bettle TDI: top gear 50-70 11.6 sec
          6 speed Golf GTI: top gear 50-70 7.5 sec

          Don’t even look at the 30-50 top gear, the GTI spanks the TDI easily.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      Hm, it shows that I’ve forgot to add a “signature” with my short bio in this article (already fixed). I live in Europe, always lived here, and I work as a motoring journo here. So, naturally, I’ve driven quite a few modern diesels. Including the current 535d and Audi 3.0 TDI Bi-turbo. And yes, a six-cylinder diesel, compared to the six-cylinder N/A gasoline engine in a 5-series or something similarly big, makes a lot more sense. Six-cylinder diesel, compared to supercharged V8, is just sad. And I was talking about REAL luxury cars, like Range Rovers.

      BMW 320d (or even 530d) is a VERY different case. For starters, the 320d can be had for little more than a third of the Range Rover, it consumes half as much fuel, and is much more likely to be bought as a company car. The 530d still costs about a half of Rangie, gets similar fuel mileage to the 320d, and is still reasonable choice for a company car.

      Range Rovers, A8s and such are, of course, also registered as company cars. Most of pricier cars are. But that may save you the VAT (in some cases), and a bit of income tax, but it doesn’t make the car “free”. The tax savings may be a third of the price (and, thus, also the third of depreciation), but it’s still terribly expensive.

      And while there is a lot of luxury cars with high mileage, there is also lots of them with 40k miles or less.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    diesels for passenger cars are just stupid.
    it’s a fact, sorry, but cope.
    maybe there was a day long ago when a diesel engine made some financial / durability sense for a 1978 Rabbit, but those days are just gone.

    Durability? we’ll see. Modern diesels that meet the Tier II Bin 5 emissions have changed the dynamic. Once you take Otto’s relatively simple peanut oil burner and add a second EGR system (VW) urea injection (just about everyone) highp pressure direct injection (everyone) and diesel particulate filters (soon to be everyone), any concept of durability through greater simplicity is just gone. The days of a diesel motor being simpler than a gas motor are in the past.

    Economy? not likely. Diesels generally cost between $1300 and $3000 more than gas counterpart engines. It takes a long, long time to get that money back out of a car. I won’t do the fuel economy math here, it’s been done before a thousand times and there are a dozen different ways to cook the numbers to serve your argument. I’m sure there are five people on this board who drive eleventy one thousand miles per year selling barbed wire to midwest farmers. those people are so far removed from the majority that they probably drive a Panther chassis anyway. I’d rather just put forth that since it is so easy to cook those numbers either way, it’s not a huge leap to say that any fuel cost savings are questionable. VW diesel owners get a bonus: when that diesel particulate filter goes (filters are service items!), break out your wallet, it’s gonna cost.

    Performance? who are we really kidding here? diesel variants are uniformly slower to highway speed. Yes, they have good grunt off the line, but run out of breath quickly. Any diesel that is as fast as a gas motor probably gets the same fuel economy, so why bother?

    hopefully the above stirs the pot a good bit ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      “Yes, they have good grunt off the line, but run out of breath quickly”

      My 143mph Golf GTD laughs in your general direction…

      Also, how important is acceleration over 110mph in the US?

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        My 5.4 supercharged V8 Mustang laughs at your puny diesel. It has 698NM from 2000 to 6000 rpm, peaks at 780NM and goes at least 294 km/h.

        Fun game, who’s next?

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          Alas, nobody ever accused your method of propulsion of ‘running out of breath quickly’.

          I was just busting FractureCritical’s myth.

          • 0 avatar
            FractureCritical

            NOT a myth.
            Pick pretty much any production gasser vs. it’s diesel counterpart and compare the 0-60 times. Yes, realize that on a drag strip or on the salt flats it’s a stupid metric. In an urban/suburban region (Where most of these cars are actually sold) and you have old short acceleration ramps on to highways, then yes, 0-60 really matters.

          • 0 avatar
            Vega

            And you are accelerating onto freeways from a standstill? That sounds ridiculous. Once your rolling, in-gear acceleration for Diesels is at least at par if not better than comparable petrol engines.

            Let me guess, you’ve never driven a modern performance Diesel, have you?

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            Not true, see my reply above, I looked at the turbo beetle too for a better comparison, the TDI Bettle can’t beat the 2.0T Beetle even when the turbo Beetle was a heavier cabriolet model, 30-50 and 50-70 in top gear on the 6 speed, gasser beats diesel in both. Diesel has lower and larger torque peak but gearing and HP wins.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Right, our cars don’t hit 4000 rpm until 110mph. ???

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Does it beat the GTI? The 2.0T has nice power characteristics and wider powerband and higher HP which allows shorter gearing, hence diesel beating performance.

        I couldn’t find any US test of top gear accel on the GTD. None of the US VW TDIs currently can beat any VW 2.0T from 30mph in top gear(with manual trans), how much more torquey can the 2.0T get, and still beat the TDI on the other end too. Of course that is traded for some fuel economy…

      • 0 avatar
        Tom Szechy

        All 4-cyl VW diesels sound like a decent agricultural device (at least on the outside).
        Actually even the BMW 4-cyl diesels sound like a frackin’ tractor…

        I can only agree with Vojta’s findings, it’s sort of retarded to buy a 50k+ car with diesel engine, while your aim is to keep the fuel costs down.

        And yes, automotive journalists are the main instrument in evangelising diesels everywhere. But the culprits are those pesky Germans actually – My theory is that European manufacturers only invented the diesel hype to attack a market that was not touched by decent manufacturers before.
        Ie. they created the diesel market what they are now dominating. Nice job.

        Too bad it’s over with Euro-6 and the like.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Most European countries get about a Euro less per liter for diesel than gas, so there is a fuel savings, but Vojta’s argument makes sense. If you can afford the costs of ownership for a Range Rover, the cost of fuel is a conversation piece, not a burden. Wow, that’s some depreciation hit!
      When the Europeans get the full emissions treatment as we already have it’ll be interesting to see if the diesel love affair ends. Fracture has it exactly right: the DPF is warrantied as an emissions component for the first 80,000 miles. When mine failed at 75k the dealer told me it would have been $6000 for replacement. Traded it in two days later.

      • 0 avatar
        1998redwagon

        eye opener. 6K to replace a dpf filter. i would be trading it in too. which make/model are you talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        Vojta Dobeš

        Nope. For this article, I looked up average fuel prices accross Europe. In my country, the difference is even smaller than what I used for the example – it’s something like 35CZK for a liter of diesel and 36CZK for a liter of gasoline. It’s smaller than than the difference between two gas stations accross a small town, or than a cost of a sandwich and cup of coffee on a full Range Rover tank.

      • 0 avatar
        TurbineGuy

        With that kind of cost, passenger vehicle DPFs are cheaper to remove and clean out vs replace. Big diesel rigs do this now.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Assuming that all the emissions equipment on a modern diesel will fail and cost thousands and thousands of $ to fix with no proof of the matter such as recalls which would happen if it was a major issue is also stupid. Most people who maintain their clean diesel will not have issues – those who use the wrong oil that is no safe for DPF vehicles will see a failure with emissions equipment. This argument joins in other ignorant anti diesel rhetoric of baseless claims of fuel pumps, injectors, glow plugs, turbos, anal probes failing based on something read on the Internet which cost eleventy billion dollars to get fixed. Because we all know that no gas engine or its turbo or ignition system has ever failed.

      Here’s a study of the 3 / 5 year TCO of diesel versus gas counterparts by the TRI at U of M if you’ve not read it: http://www.dieselforum.org/files/dmfile/20130311_CD_UMTRITCOFinalReport_dd2017.pdf

      On the flip side GDI engines are being found to have significant increase in particulate emissions so that they pollute more than a modern diesel engine does (the catalytic converter does not address particulate matter). You know what that means – they will get a particulate filter as well. Here’s a study about this: http://www.swri.org/3pubs/ttoday/Summer11/PDFs/ParticleEmissions.pdf

      So as gas engines try to be more like diesels (direct injection, combustion ignition) they will get the same emissions scrubbing technology. That also increase the cost of the engine and of repairs such as high pressure fuel pumps and expensive injectors…slippery slope.

      Of course this also ignores another engine emission which we will see more regulation on is CO2 which the diesel powerplant emits less than it’s gas counterpart (something about equal an equal amount of diesel having 20% greater energy density than gasoline).

    • 0 avatar
      PCP

      @FractureCritical:
      Are you starting you rant with ‘its a fact’ because you’ve read that in ‘Rhetoric for Dummies’?
      Oh, and Diesel first name was Rudolf. While Otto is actually considered (one of) the inventor of the 4-stroke gasoline engine with ignition – NOT the peanut-oil burner w/o.
      ‘Any diesel that is as fast as a gas motor probably gets the same fuel economy, so why bother?’ – Probably? so what is it now?
      Let me guess, the last Diesel engine you drove was an Oldsmobile?

    • 0 avatar
      OliverTwist

      FractureCritical, I assume you are living in the United States and seeing how the pick-up trucks with heavy duty diesel V8 or Cummins straight six perform.

      I live in Germany and view it in opposite way. I drove many different vehicles over the years in Germany.

      I used to drive between Munich and Paris often for business. When I drove Audi A4 2.0 TDI Avant, I could go the entire trip on *single* tank in spite of the spirited and lead-footed driving on the Autobahn (more than 120mph in most stretch of Autobahn). Audi wasn’t slow at all. That car convinced me how much diesel technology has changed since the Malaise Era. When I had to hire a Ford C-Max with petrol engine for the same stretch, I ended up having to stop for refuel twice on the way to Paris. And twice on way back to Munich. And it was slow as fuck in keeping up with the traffic. Ford C-Max was smaller and lighter than Audi A4. Go figure…

      Last year, I drove a BMW 525d xDrive Touring through eastern Germany for a personal holiday. The car was astoundingly quick in accelerating from the standstill as well as from 40mph to 130mph on the Autobahn. I had seen the fuel consumption needle hovering over 10 l/100km mark (23mpg) at 130mph. The car was so smooth and so quiet that I had to remind myself it’s diesel. I used only half a tank for the entire 500-km trip. When I made another road trip through eastern Germany a few months ago, the car rental agency gave me a smaller BMW 116i. I hated that car because of its lacklustre power and prodigious appetite for petrol on the Autobahn (15-18 l/100km or 13-15mpg at 120mph). I had to shift more often just to keep up with the traffic and with the rolling hills.

      Sorry, I will always stick with diesel vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @FractureCritical
      I have the opposite effect with my diesel off the mark. My vehicle performs lesser at a lower speed than a higher speed in comparison to a gasoline engine.

      As speed increases in a diesel the reduction in acceleration is less in comparison to a gas engine. Because you need torque at a higher speed to overcome air resistance. A gas engine can rev its t!ts off to gain torque through gearing, where the diesel has the torque on tap.

      Diesel make the best high speed cruisers. Slow? Even my global midsizer has a top speed of 118mph.

      Have you ever driven a diesel vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      Ron B.

      You have never driven a diesel have you ..Even large multi wheeled Semi’s will run over 100MPH with the driver sitting in aircon comfort akin to a airplane seat. I suggest you visit any car showroom and book a test drive in any type of diesel .

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Because even though Range Rover owners are generally quite wealthy they want to appear globally responsible by not consuming more fossil fuels then is absolutely necessary when carting their royal butts around the countryside. The same holds true for someone who would spend $75K on a Cadillac ELR. Looking cool while saving the planet is quite chic, don’t you know?

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      Diesel is far polluting than gasoline engine in areas other than greenhouse gasses. The difference is smaller with modern direct-injected gasoline plants, which actually emit lots of particles, but lots of gasoline engines are still non-GDI and thus generally cleaner than diesel.

      So, by buying a diesel, you’re saving polar bears, but killing little babies who breathe the soot from your exhaust.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Ironic, isn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Boy, I would have thought the Czech Republic or Slovakia had Euro standards.

        Are they still phasing in those emission standards?

        I read an interesting article regarding Euro diesel emissions. The current problem of particulates is due to the older diesels still on the roads.

        Even Euro 5 have quite low particulate emissions, Euro 6 will be quite harsh.

        • 0 avatar
          Tom Szechy

          Current Euro emission standards do not control the really small particulates, only larger ones (ie. visible soot).

          (sub)PM10 particulates are the real danger, they can get in your bloodstream and also carry all sorts of crazy stuff along.

  • avatar

    Diesel makes sense so long as you need to haul large loads over long distances and when diesel costs less than gasoline. Thing is, for the load-pulling-torque and energy efficiecy, I’d rather have a quiet, EV.

    I hope all SUV and trucks become EV as technology improves.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      EV is still a problem with the long distances part of the equation though…

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Here is where you can justify the following:

      – heavy loads, towing frequently, poor aerodynamics making the engien work harder to move air, vehicle is very heavy (5k lbs or more), lots of highway driving. Diesel is your best bet as it’s constant state and ability to make the same power as a gas engine at significantly lower RPM rule the day. The diesel will give you endurance better than anything on the road as no batteries to deplete on long stretches, it can lug along providing maximum torque at low revs for towing or highway driving. Easy passing with out need for downshifting.

      – Low miles, infrequent driving, lot’s of short trips, mix of city / highway driving, need cheapest wheels, light weight vehicle, want excellent acceleration and handling from a lighter vehicle. Plain old gasoline engine will fit this bill as it’s a sprinter not an endurance racer and can do everything pretty well (except for getting best mpg without some aides such as roll resistance tires, batteries, aero devices).

      – Lots of stop & go, mostly city / suburb driving but then go on long trips occasionally. A hybrid here will fit the bill well as they are gas engine and can do great city mpg and decent highway.

      – Almost all city driving, stop and go and traffic madness of not moving. An electric car is the best choice here as long commutes of not moving fits this vehicles strong points. Until you have to drive longer in the day than the range allows.

    • 0 avatar
      Ron B.

      Well… it’s been over 120 years since the Columbia electric car was punted to women because there was no engine to crank and no gears to shift and apart from the styling and size nothing has changed at all with electric vehicles. They are still slow, they still have a ridiculously short range and they are still hideously expensive. Nothing has changed with the fact that they must be plugged into the mains grid to recharge them ,using electricity made with coal,oil,radiation or 14th Century windmill technology. All have of the former have created massive carbon footprints in their manufacture. So EV’s ..to me they are a tech dead end and are really just glorified golf carts or mobility scooters for the impaired.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Some people want a nice, top shelf vehicle and don’t really care what’s under the hood. Diesel is pretty standard fare in Europe, so those who don’t care about the refined performance of a supercharged gasoline engine will choose the diesel. I don’t think it needs to be read into too much. It’s like getting the small turbo I4 in a “luxury car” instead of the V6 or V8.

  • avatar
    mechimike

    The other issue with diesel is the fillup. Whenever I need to fuel my powerstroke-enhanced F350, I inevitably end up with diesel stink on my hands, which inevitably transfers itself to my clothing, which then ends up in the cab of my truck and sometimes into the house. My wife has actually grimaced while kissing me when I arrived home after a trip in my truck which involved a stop at a filling station. (no, she doesn’t normally grimace!) Often there’s a pool of fuel oil around the diesel pumps, since it doesn’t evaporate like gasoline does. And then you get it on your shoes, too.

    Diesel stink isn’t like gasoline stink. Gasoline stink evaporates, and goes away with a handwash. Diesel stink is pervasive. I can’t imagine anyone owning a luxury car and tolerating the diesel filling station experience- unless of course they had their driver fill the car, or only went to full service stations.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      That’s why there are disposable gloves..

      Are you sure it wasn’t the chilidog you bought at the gas station?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      The last time I filled my motorhome the fuel tank “burped” giving me a nice diesel fuel shower. Threw all clothes in a plastic bag, wiped myself down with HandiWipes, and I was back on the road with a lingering smell of Au de Exxon. Took three washings to get the smell out of the clothes.

      Diesel has it’s downsides.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @mechimike
      In Australia we do come across ‘oily and smelly’ diesel bowsers. But it has become uncommon of late.

      The fuel companies are finding out that the average person, male/female or whatever isn’t driving a truck.

      As diesel becomes more popular and the average person drives a diesel powered vehicle the fuel companies will rectify that problem.

      They want to sell their fuel.

      What concerns me the most is the diesel on the ground, as this will inevitably end up in your carpet in your vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        Ron B.

        Fuel companies? frankly they don’t give damn. it’s Coles and woolies who call the shots ol’ mate. And when I think of the insane profits these two bloated monopolistic greed factories make in an hour I get angry when there isn’t even hand cleaner offered at diesel pumps. And it’s been a damn long time since my 1985 Mercedes 300D or 1962 190D rolled out of the Mercedes show rooms too. And yet? they are perfectly willing to put us diesel buyers over the barrel but real slow in recognizing that we don’t like the bitter acidic smell of modern diesel on our hands. Other countries have plastic gloves,hand cleaner and even working water taps for diesel buyers,but here ? huh! Woolies and coles attitude is ” .stiff shit,pay your money and piss off suckers!”

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    Since when is is rational to buy a Range Rover in the first place? I’m sure that they’re rationalizing their decision, and an available diesel makes it easier to do.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I disagree. I don’t think they’re rationalizing at all. They’re buying what they want.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @mike1dog
      I initially was considering buying a Land Rover Discovery with the 3 litre, V6 Lion. It’s quite a nice vehicle. It has the same diesel as the Range Rover.

      FE is a significant factor. I couldn’t justify the price of the LR and looked at a Grand Cherokee VM V6 diesel. I couldn’t justify the price.

      So I bought a Mazda BT50GT dual cab pickup. With a 3.2, 5 cylinder diesel. I worked out to be half the price as the Land Rover.

      I was looking to pay cash. So FE is important, all I have to pay for is fuel and servicings, which I do most of anyway, the nearest service centre is a 750km round trip.

      People do pay cash for these vehicles. In Australia people we call grey nomads buy these style of vehicles to tow a large caravan around Australia for years on end.

      These larger diesel vehicles pay for themselves in just reduced fuel consumption.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Diesel is great for hauling loads and vs pissing away enormous amounts of gasoline while hauling loads. However, I’ve driven many diesel cars and SUVs and their gasoline counterparts. 90% of the time, I prefer the gasoline powered version. Better refined, no stinky smell and no black smoke after years of use.

    Everyone wants a brown diesel MT wagon, until they drive a brown diesel MT wagon.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Not all high income earners are fiscally wise. Sorry occupier dudes, but much of the one percent earn their high incomes by hard work and talent that doesn’t include using a financial calculator or how to understand depreciation. Don’t hate me, bro.

    These evil, greedy, planet destroyers may buy the diesel because it seems interesting or they don’t like the pain of filling up more often or it’s the one with the color leather they like. They bought it, and now they are back at work doing something they are really exceptionally good at which pays so well it all works out. Or, maybe they are part of the statist, financial cabal of Wall Street and Washington who know the insider pseudo language used by the connected to skim off of all the value creators and don’t care about the depreciation because it’s someone else’s money they are mostly spending anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Not all high income earners are fiscally wise.”

      I don’t think I’d go that far. Most know the value of a dollar. Know what they can afford and buy what they want.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        It’s not going too far to say, “not all”. I know and have known lots of people this describes. Doctors, Lawyers, and even entrepreneurs can be able to create lots of value and earn lots of money and still not be good financial decision makers. IIRC, the RR qualifies for special tax treatment. Tax avoidance is a huge deal to the over a quarter crowd. Unfortunately, it’s not really a savings and the rules on such things can flip on you mid lease. It’s a fools game.

        I am not talking here about people with millions in assets as well as high incomes who can decide the extra cash is worth it for a toy they want. Bless those folks for spreading the money around.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    A great majority of luxury cars in Europe are diesel and that is a fact. In a lot of countries lately, the subsidies for diesel have been slowly taken out so there is no more difference between gas and diesel at the pump. Actually, diesel can cost more at times. People are still very much in love with diesel engines though just because they get so much better mileage. Resale value is much higher for a used diesel vehicle. The bigger elephant in the room I think is the way engines are taxed in most European countries. Anything above a 2.0l engines costs lots more money to register. Affluent people are not stupid. Why get 5.0 liter gas in that GL 450 and give the taxman tons of money, when they can buy the GL 320 Blutec and save a bundle? Yes, rich people like to save too you know…
    I have family in Denmark and family in Romania. I’ve heard this theory from lots of people in both countries. Why not drive a 1.8L diesel and save both ways ( tax man and mileage) instead of 3.0L gas and pay up the nose?
    Now, the uber nuveau rich I’ve seen in Romania don’t give a crap. They like Rolls Royce and Bentley.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      Well, the taxes MAY be a reason in some countries. But here (CZ), there’s no difference in tax, registration and liability insurance between the TDV6 and 5.0 Supercharged.

      But I highly doubt that a TDV6 Range Rover will be significantly less taxed than the Supercharged everywhere else. It’s still a friggin three-liter V6. That’s a huge engine for Europe and will likely fall into the highest tax bracket as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Yes, Denmark taxes cars by cc. Anything more than 2.0 costs a lot more to register. The only way to escape the tax on a bigger engine is to make it a company car and take out the back seats. Lots of Jeep GC in Denmark have no back seats, otherwise the tax would be enormous. My uncle and aunt had gas cars until this last car they bought. They have a small camper…not sure how heavy but can’t be more than 2000 lbs. Until about a year ago, they had a Mazda 5 2.0l gas engine. They were towing the camper while driving all over Europe with it. My uncle never complained about the towing performance of the Mazda 5, until he traded it in for a CUV Toyota ( Auris?). I guess it’s like the North American Venza but much smaller. It has a 1.8 liter Diesel engine. My uncle and my aunt are blown away by how strong that little Toyota Diesel engine is. They vowed never to go back to a gas engine if they can help it. My uncle was the stereotypical diesel hater…”they stink, they are slow, they are noisy” but when I talked to him over the holidays he seemed a bit sheepish about his old notions of diesel cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          According to this, the Danes tax fuel economy. There’s no direct tax on engine displacement.

          http://www.cesifo-group.de/ifoHome/facts/DICE/Infrastructure/Transportation/Road-Transport/over-CO2-mot-veh-tax_12/fileBinary/over-CO2-mot-veh-tax_12.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      If you are fine with the dreary performance of a 1.8L diesel, why would you even consider a 3.0L V6 gasser? It would be completely wasted.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Well, I actually drove my father-in-law’s 1.5 liter diesel Hyundai. There was nothing dreary about that little engine. It seemed much better than the 2.4l gas engines Hyundai had in their last generation Sonata in USA. It was a little noisy but that’s about it. I was getting close to 60 mpg in it and I didn’t really care about the noise.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The type of people you describe as people who could buy the Rangie are the stereotypical rich people.

    Most very rich people are extremely cheap. They don’t stay rich by wasting money on fuel unnecessarily, when diesel is cheaper than gas. That begs the question then why buy a Rangie? They want a nice car, but don’t want to waste money on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      That’s the point. If you’re trying to be fiscally responsible, buying a Range Rover and selling it/trading it in after three years is one of the worst things you can do…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        When weighed against appearances, equally important as being cheap to the wealthy, it amounts to the cost of doing business. To many, looking successful is directly linked to being successful

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Vojta: you compare depreciation of a V8 gasoline vehicle to the ownership cost of a Diesel. You reason because no used diesels were available. didn’t you think depreciation of a Diesel is much better (=less) and is shown by the fact they are barely available on the market? I bet if you sell a diesel Rang Rover you can sell it for much more much quicker (as evidenced by the lack of any available). so the depreciation on the diesel is less, hence total cost of ownership as well.

    not sure about the V6 diesel. bu ti had a rental Landrover with the I4 diesel in 2013 and that was horrible. It had a turbo lag of 10 seconds. You step on the accelerator and for 5 seconds literally nothing happens and then it kicks you in the back. Any 2000+ VW diesel has instant torque , even my old 2003 3-cylinder Tdi had better manners. In addition it sounded very rough… not acceptable in a passenger car. i realize Range Rover is more expensive than Land Rover, but it tells me what hey are capable (or not) of.

    i realize you tested a Range Rover diesel, but for a fair comparison diesel / gasoline one should use a car from a company that actually knows how to make diesels (which is almost every company except Rover).

    As for the people here talking about how bad diesels accelerate, did you ever drive one? Audi even won races with Diesel cars competing with gasoline cars.

    As for people arguing if diesel makes sense in a car: you have a valid point, especially with all the complex exhaust treatment required. but Europe has tax laws favoring diesel fuel – there you go.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Audi’s diesels in Le Mans were a good sidestep of the rules that limit peak hp. Nevertheless, their last win was with a hybrid that had Toyota’s gas hybrids breathing down their necks on lap times and the Toyotas had better efficiency. Some bad luck knocked the Toyotas out of contention. Basically, I wouldn’t use race results to justify how fast a completely unrelated road car is.

      The only drivability reason I can see someone wanting a diesel luxury vehicle is they don’t like the NHV that results from downshifting. At cruising revs, diesels usually make significantly more torque and won’t require downshifts as frequently.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        I think between automatic tranny and the superior sound dampening in luxury cars, the driver won’t really notice a difference between diesel and gasoline. At 300-400 hp a little bit shift in tourque peak rarely is noticeable for a person that typically prefers smooth riding and luxury anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      I used depreciation of V8 DIESEL Range Rovers. Their depreciation is very similar to the gasoline ones.

      I just could’t use TDV6 in comparison, because that engine wasn’t yet available back then.

      As for the Range Rover diesels – the V6 ones are the same ones used in Jaguars. Maybe not as good as BMW ones, but comparable.

      Also, I’ve driven modern six-cylinder diesels, including the famed BMW 30d and 35d, or bi-TDI in Audi A6. They were great. In an A6 or 5-series, they make sense.

      In Range Rover, you want a Supercharged V8, because it’s just BETTER.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The “company car” tax rules in countries such as Germany have the effect of driving up luxury car prices, which pushes them up even in neighboring countries that may not provide as much of a tax shelter.

    As an end result, the new luxury car market in Europe is dominated by lessees, not buyers, who are receiving a tax shelter that acts as an effective subsidy, all of which makes the first owners (lessees) less price sensitive, which then allows the automakers to jack up the prices. (Yes, Germany does quietly subsidize its auto industry, after all.)

  • avatar
    henkdevries

    Vojta some of your arguments are highly arguable and not commonly applicable to every European country.

    In the Netherlands, where I live, it makes sense to pick the Diesel. The tax is based on the CO2 emission. The diesel costs 119k euros and the gasoline 180k euros. Apart from the the price of the diesel without tax is 80k euros and the gasoline 100k euros. The CO2 taxation makes the Netherlands a bit different, but for the more general case you didn’t mention any price difference between the diesel and the gasoline car. I also expect a difference in depreciation.

    If you follow this link and click “prijzen” you find a comparison between diesel and gasoline. http://www.autoweek.nl/carbase_data.php?id1=70576&id2=70572

    If I’d but the Range I’d but the diesel, stopping less at the gas station I find an advantage.

    BTW Euro 6 will make Diesel approximately equal to Gasoline regarding NOx and fine particular matter. Euro 1 to 5 NOx emissions were in practice about 3 times higher, Euro 6 compliant vehicles didn’t have this difference because it is so tight. DI gasoline has it’s the same troubles. Nobody said it would be easy.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      All of the EU is moving away from displacement taxes and toward taxes based upon CO2 emissions (fuel economy) that don’t decline as the car depreciates.

      That is going to help diesels and pretty much kill off the gas/petrol six-cylinder family car. The registration fees of the latter will be so high compared to the value of the car that it won’t make any sense to own one.

      • 0 avatar
        Vojta Dobeš

        Pch101: I think the trend is heading more towards downsized gasoline engines.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A CO2 standard is effectively the same thing as an MPG or l/100km standard.

          That sort of standard favors diesel over gasoline, as diesel is a denser fuel that contains more energy per gallon/liter than gasoline.

          For the luxury automakers, the sale of a high performance petrol car will need to be offset by something else. Likewise, it won’t pay to sell a family car with a lot of engine because the margins are too low compared to an uber-car that fetches top dollar/euro/pound, etc.

          That’s probably good news for Smart fans, since Daimler will need cars that will allow them sell AMGs. It’s probably bad news for cheaper cars such as 6-cylinder VWs, which will produce lower margins for the automaker and relatively high ownership fees for the buyer.

          • 0 avatar
            Vojta Dobeš

            But the emission standards (Euro X, not the CO2 crap) are tightening on diesels, forcing them to run DPFs and do other expensive stuff.

            This, combined with downsized gasoline engines getting impressive on-paper results, means that the actual market share of diesel engines will actually shrink, as lots of people will buy stuff like 1.2 TSI or 1.0 Ecoboost engines instead.

            And V6 VWs are dead already, except for Phaeton and Touareg.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It’s not an either-or, it’s both.

            But given the MPG issues inherent to the different types of fuel, that’s going to encourage the production of more diesels in cases when the engine is larger, in order to offset the top-of-the-line cars that will continue to run on gasoline.

            I would also expect hybrids to become more commonplace for similar reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      Vojta Dobeš

      Well, that makes sense. Or, the taxes do not make sense, but buying a diesel because of them does. We, fortunatelly, have no such thing. But people are still buying big TDIs like crazy.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Luxury cars should have V8s, preferably NA V8s. I really like the Jaguar XJ, I am happy they made an AWD version, I would buy one if they had it in a V8 but they made the AWD only with a V6 and that is crap to me. Range Rover putting a V6 in the full size Range Rover made me want to puke. There is no way that is an acceptable engine for a truck that big and that heavy and luxurious.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’m going to advance a couple of alternate theories.

    1) Car companies will not release smaller engines that cannibalize sales of more expensive and profitable engines unless there are competitive pressures to do so. Land Rover is giving you the choice because they think you’ll jump ship to a competitor if you don’t like their price point for a V8.

    Thus we expect any new luxury marques to offer only one engine choice at first, followed by two or more after several model generations. We also expect export luxury cars to offer fewer engine choices than the same models for domestic consumption.

    2) The diesel could be playing to the more educated and informed crowd.

    Going by evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller’s four categorizations of conspicuous consumption of consumer goods (waste, precision, branding, and rarity), we expect that engine choice is going to be a battle between conspicuous waste (Faster! More powerful! Louder!) and conspicuous precision (More fuel efficient! Quieter! More innovative!).

    You’d think that conspicuous waste always defeats conspicuous precision when you have wads of cash. You’d be wrong. The former has connotations of nouveau riche, vulgarity, truculence, and impulsiveness. The latter is associated with old money, sophistication, consumerism, and connoisseurship. While both require money to play, the latter has higher opportunity costs in the form of research and specialized knowledge.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Personally, I’d go for the diesel every time simply because I appreciate efficiency for the sake of efficiency. I don’t CARE if it is a bit slower and costs more upfront or in maintenance, it is still faster than I need to go. I would KILL to have a diesel in MY Range Rover, because as much as I love the beast, and how ultimately useful a vehicle it is, the 12-15mpg it gets from the 4.6L V8 is borderline offensive. And that is with my driving it VERY gently, and rarely exceeding 70mph. If I drove it in a spirited manner I am sure single-digits would be the rule.

    By comparison, friends have a diesel Mercedes GL which when driven in a manner which will leave my truck in the dust gets 28mpg while being even bigger and heavier. It may not be as fast as a RR SC, but it is more than fast enough to get your license shredded.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      I understand that. Everything isn’t always about the bottom line. The mpg on my Land Cruiser would often be irritating. OTOH, maintenance was cheap, as was depreciation, and it made me realize that paying a higher price at the store nearby was generally cheaper than driving to a big box. And, it saved me time. Still, would have liked a diesel though.

  • avatar
    amca

    What you’re missing is that people like efficiency.

    Efficiency itself is a virtue people enjoy. It’s as simple as that.

    • 0 avatar
      Tom Szechy

      Especially when “efficiency” is used so heavily as a marketing term.
      There are so many ways to achieve efficiency not to mention fuel efficiency is just one aspect. There are also efficiency aspects to be chased in maintenance, manufacturing, etc.

      And that’s the big problem with the diesel fad, it’s only pushed on the market because for certain manufacturers this is a strong differentiator (Germans). Obviously they will market the shit out of it, as they want their ROIs nice and shiny.
      But most people will only see the benefits of decreased fuel consumption plus low-rev torque. And they don’t see everything else :)


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