The masochistic Germans have been at it again, driving a 345 HP 2009 Porsche 911 efficiently enough to return 35 MPG (US). Did they drive it slowly? No, not really.
Over a 402-mile route that included country and city roads in addition to the Autobahn, they averaged 52 MPH, with a top speed of 81 MPH. That sounds an awful lot more fun than I had driving 20 MPH in a Ford Fusion Hybrid.
The trick was to keep the 911's engine at its most efficient point: between 1,800 and 2,000 RPM. The test was intended to promote supposedly fuel saving new technologies like direct injection and the new dual-clutch transmission. But, since the 911 already averages 24 MPG (US) in the European combined cycle, what this really highlights is the effect driver behavior has on fuel economy.
As drivers seek to achieve better fuel economy from their vehicles, car manufacturers are finally beginning to promote the advantages of efficient driving behavior. In Porsche's case, this means a publicity stunt, but manufacturers like Ford and Honda are starting to equip their more efficient models with instrumentation that instructs drivers on fuel efficient behavior, then rewards them for achieving good economy. [via MotorAuthority]