Toyota’s Prius has become the latest car model to set a record at the Nürburgring, but not for the reason you might think.
Long revered as the de-facto proving ground for cars looking to test their mettle, the aim for most vehicles is seeing how fast they can get around the infamous Nordschleife route.
However, Toyota turned tradition on its head after setting a record lap, not for speed but for fuel economy.
The circuit commands a minimum 37mph average speed, and to further enhance the genuineness of the lap, the car also ran in traffic to simulate a real-world situation as closely as possible.
Both the speed requirement and 12.9-mile circuit length were both well within the Prius’ electric range, with the distance, in theory, being able to be covered without using any petrol.
Motoring journalist Joe Clifford was behind the wheel of the plug-in hybrid, and completed the lap in 20 minutes and 59 seconds. He also recorded 698mpg, which far outstripped the car’s official quoted figure of 134mpg.
He said: “We used no special tricks for this test. We simply took a fully charged car, fitted it with low rolling resistance tyres and drove the lap, among all the other public drivers taking the opportunity to experience the challenge of the Nürburgring.
“Although the 12.9-mile distance is similar to a typical commuter trip, the difference here is a rise and fall in elevation of around 1,000 feet. In fact it was only on one long climb that the petrol engine cut in, and then only for a short while. Without that, we think we might have even achieved the ultimate 999.9mpg read-out, the highest figure the display can show.”
This is the latest in a string of successes for Toyota at the Nürburgring, after the carmaker also set lap records for is all-electric P001 and P002 vehicles.
The latest test also shows more accurately what Prius owners and potential buyers might experience on their everyday journeys. It also neatly links to the record-breaking time set by the P002, which also had a hand in the Prius’ own record after its battery cells provided some of the power to the Prius during charging.