BMW 1 Series joins the family

BMW 1 Series joins the family

“Oh Gawd, now I’ve gone an’ done it, I’ve only gone an’ bought a Beemer…”
Well, it’s a 1 Series to be precise. A BMW 118D Sport. The word Sport has pushed up the insurance a little, but my views on insurance costs are well known.
Any way, the new beast is a 5 door white 62 plate Beemer, BMWExterioronly the second one I’ve had, although Mrs S’s X5 is still the best car we’ve ever owned. I used to have a BMW535i, a fantastic saloon, Y reg, that was more than capable of eating up the miles and petrol. This one is a little more prosaic, being only 2.0 Litre and also a manual.  It is claimed BMWInsideto do 62mpg, and I shall be reporting back here as to the veracity of the claim.  I will say that the soon to be departed Merc 350 petrol returned an average of 28.6mpg, which I though quite remarkable for a V6 3.5 Litre engine running an automatic ‘box.

I am quite looking forward to driving it, I am sometimes called upon to drive long distances so we shall see how good it is over the long haul.

Diesel Engines

Diesel Engines

Been having a ride in a BMW 1 series today, more precisely 2 cars, a 1.6 petrol automatic and a 2.0 ltr diesel (118d).  The old C350 Merc is starting to show her age and number 2 son is also starting driving lessons so I have decided to ‘downsize’ to a manual car so that No. 2 can practice his skills.  BMW116PetrolThis one here is the petrol version, and a jolly fine car, although it is automatic so cannot really be considered for the junior offspring.  I was pleasantly surprised by the performance, in my day 1.6 litre was considered a little pathetic, but diesel was never an option in this sort of engine size.

Next up was the 118d, the salesman suggested it as a contrast and I had some time to spare…

WOW!  The 2.0 litre engine has some punch, smooth, pulls well from 1500rpm and goes like a train.  This is not what diesels are supposed to be like, where was the death rattle, the harsh vibrations, the black smoke?  60mpg!  What’s not to like.  If I can find one with climate control then a sale is made.  No. 2 will not be allowed near it.

Petrol or Diesel?

Accurate figures are hard to come by, but my best estimate is that diesel cars account for around 50% of the car market at present and that share is increasing. Some time ago I read an article about the contents of a barrel of oil and the figures are as follows:

Product Gallons Percentage
gasoline 19.5 44.12%
distillate fuel oil (Includes home heating oil and diesel fuel) 9.2 20.81%
kerosene-type jet fuel 4.1 9.28%
residual fuel oil (Heavy oils used as fuels in industry,
marine transportation and for electric power generation)
2.3 5.20%
liquefied refinery gasses 1.9 4.30%
still gas 1.9 4.30%
coke 1.8 4.07%
asphalt and road oil 1.3 2.94%
petrochemical feedstocks 1.2 2.71%
lubricants 0.5 1.13%
kerosene 0.2 0.45%
other 0.3 0.68%

Discounting the differences in fuel consumption between the two engine types I think that there is a glaring anomaly here. We are producing twice as much petrol as diesel for the same number of vehicles of each type, so the question is: How is it accounted for, where is all the surplus petrol going?

I understand that there are far too many variables to grapple with, and that a barrel of oil varies in consistency and content depending on its geographical area of production but I don’t understand why there is no information available for the discrepancies. Note also that the “Distillate Fuel Oil” covers heating oils too, so there is a bigger difference.

Over time I have remarked upon this to various people but no credible answer has been given…. Can you help?

Lancia in reverse

An old joke about Italian tanks having 7 reverse gears reminded me of an amusing incident some years ago:
We were driving from the pub, the Windmill at Linton at closing time; in those days pubs closed at ten thirty sharp. As we were still thirsty several of use decided to go to the pub in the next village which we knew would have a ‘lock in’ and serve beer after hours. My chum Alex set off first in his rather nice Lancia, a good car if a little unreliable. We followed in Nick’s Austin Landcrab, a comfy six cylinder machine with armchairs for seats. Although not a fast car Nick could really make it move and we drove quite quickly to keep up with the Lancia. As we were leaving the village I think Alex must have thought we were not following as we saw up ahead the Lancia brake and then the reversing lights came on. It started to reverse quite fast. Nick came to an emergency stop but the Lancia kept coming. It should be noted at this point that Alex is fairly rotund, could not comfortably turn his head very far and was accustomed to reversing using the mirrors. We realised that he had not seen us and thinking quickly Nick threw the Austin into reverse and started to back away. Still the Lancia kept coming. We were going backwards at top speed, the engine screaming…. but the Lancia was much faster. It hit us square on, I’m not sure what was going on in Alex’s beer fuelled mind, but he stopped and put the car into first and drove off.
We followed to the pub, at a safe distance, and questioned him as to what he was doing. He replied that he had not seen us, decided to come back to find us but hit something so carried on to the pub! Fortunately there was little damage to either car.