The Opel Eco Speedster Says: Diesels Can Rip and Sip at the Same Time


The Opel Eco Speedster first wowed crowds at the Paris Auto Show in 2002 and has now popped up in the Discovery Channel’s FutureCar series (see below for the video link). The sleek concept car holds a distinguished place in the growing family of high-performance diesels that are breaking records, as well as people’s prejudices about what diesels can do on the road and the track. The Eco Speedster, with its surprisingly diminutive 1.3-liter ECOTECH CDTI, tops out at 155 mph and clocked an average fuel economy of 113 mpg over a 24-hour road test. A combination of low weight (660 kg/1,445 lbs), minimal drag, mid-engine design, and a 5-speed automatic transmission let the Eco Speedster rip and sip at the same time. Opel built the car to spotlight its ability to make highly-efficient, next-generation diesel cars that are a blast to drive. GM (Opel and Vauxhall’s parent company) sadly doesn’t seem particularly interested in sharing such cars with its North American customers. (more pics after the fold)The arrival (and mandating) of significantly cleaner diesel fuel in the US is expected to open up the gates to a host of new and exciting diesel models to American customers, who are, understandably, still wary of a fuel that is more often associated with tractor trailers and black soot. But if Opel’s hot little number isn’t proof enough that diesel’s can tear it up, there are plenty of other compelling examples. Last year, an Audi TDI took first place in the opening race of the famous Le Mans series, and the biodiesel-powered Lola raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 2005. Diesel-based hybrids and plug-in hybrids are seen as a promising next step in the evolution of the internal combustion engine. People unfamiliar with the efficiency, power, and satisfying feel of a quality diesel engine under the hood should find a way to try one, and feel as their prejudices do out the window. ::Opel Eco Speedster on FutureCars (YouTube) via Hugg (Linton)



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