The Hell With Political Correctness; Angry Bob is Back

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
the hell with political correctness angry bob is back

With 2007 gasping its last breath, the Detroit Free Press asked local civic and industry leaders for their thoughts on the upcoming year. GM's Slick Rick Wagoner took the conservative approach and wished for "an end to the housing and auto recessions in the U.S. in 2008; a comprehensive U.S. energy policy, and continued success in emerging markets." Mark "The Mullet" Fields from FoMoCo took an equally optimistic view, hoping "we don't continually talk ourselves into a recession" and wishing "cars and crossovers will outsell trucks and SUVs for the first time in many years." But every auto journalist's favorite sound bite machine Maximum Bob Lutz didn't mince words: "Now that we have the 35 miles-per-gallon fuel economy mandate by 2020, I am hoping that in 2008 'Professor Doktor' David Friedman (research director, clean vehicles program, Union of Concerned Scientists) and his 'highly-qualified' band of allegedly concerned, self-proclaimed scientists will turn their energy toward showing the world's automotive industry exactly how those numbers, using existing technology and 'costs of a few hundred dollars at the most' can be attained with a vehicle selection that even remotely resembles the cars and trucks Americans want to buy today." Go get 'em Bob!

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  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Jan 03, 2008
    Consider the Lexus IS-250 and IS-350. The IS-250 (2.5L engine) enjoys a significant fuel economy advantage over the IS-350 (3.5L). And, per Edmunds, the IS-250 weighs about 80 lbs less. The features lists are identical, so if that 80 lb difference isn’t due to the engine and/or transmmission, it’s a mystery to me what is responsible for the difference. And 80 lbs won’t make for a 4mpg difference at cruise. If that’s not displacement-related, it’s also going to be hard to explain. It could be a number of things that are more than feature-list deep, like structural reinforcements to support the increased power of the larger engine, or a more aggressive tune that sacrifices fuel economy in the name of performance, it's misleading to believe that the 80 extra pounds is going to come solely from the engine (if you can even save that much by dropping a litre of displacement). If that were true, the front/rear weight distribution between the two would be off. If displacement were the be-all end-all, I'd expect a more significant difference in mileage with vehicles like Mercedes C300 and C350 or the BMW 328i and 335i. The smartest thing car builders could start doing is creating efficient engines that run smoothly at high revs, and have good “zoom”. Zoom has been defined as the acceleration of acceleration (v cubed). The original Miata’s have it. Even though they were not great performers in acceleration, they felt fast because they accelerated faster and faster while the engine was smooth and sounded good all the way to the revline. I think they did this with about 130 hp or so. Zoominess works when you have a tossable car, like the Miata, or CRX, or Sentra SE-R. With a larger car, I'll venture to say it'll be like running the iditarod dogsled race with a pack of chihuahuas. p.s. Don't forget the 'n' in QuasiMondo
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jan 03, 2008

    Quasi, So you now agree that smaller IS more efficient? And, yes, zoomy will not work for land yachts. Detroit knows how to make those so I would not suggest they learn to do so. (I think they are presently squeezing every ounce out of that particular pile of grapes). I was making a suggestion on how to build a more efficient car that is fun to drive so it will sell. Honda and Mazda can make cars like this, and I suspect they will start gaining market share.

  • KixStart KixStart on Jan 03, 2008

    Quasimondo, With respect to the 80 lbs difference, "It could be a number of things that are more than feature-list deep..." Like lighter structural members? They're going to do that and not make the engine lighter, too? And 80 lbs altering the balance in a luxury car isn't going to be seen as a big deal (it's not like that becomes an 8% difference in f/r weight distribution; you'd get a bigger shift adding a rear seat passenger). Be that as it may, the most significant difference between the two cars is the 1.0L displacement difference and, as near as I can tell, it's the only one. And the truly smaller engine gets fuel economy that can't be explained by the weight savings; it's the improved efficiency do to the smaller engine. By the way, I believe that car 0-60s in under 8 seconds with the smaller engine, which would be good enough (and then some) for me. As for your counter-suggestion of the BMW 328/335, one of those is turbo'ed and the other is not. That's hardly the same kind of comparison (and the "larger" model, surprise, gets worse fuel economy). Face it, the earlier advice to win on fuel economy by dialling back on the horsepower wars is good advice that Detroit could implement quickly.

  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Jan 03, 2008

    I finally tracked it down. The service weight for the IS350's engine is 180kg, the service weight for the IS250's engine is 177kg. Wherever the weight differences are, it's not found in the engines. I'll admit, I did mess up by including the BMW's.