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Opinions on the Current Diesel Vs. Petrol Situation?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by PNH80, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I'm currently deciding on the make/ model and fuel type of my next car and to be honest it's a bit of a mine field with the current fuel prices.

    I honestly can't put much daylight between petrol and diesel. If you're running 97+ RON petrol it's not far off the same price as diesel. But obviously in a similar size engine the diesel is going to be the more economical and when you're talking about engines like Audi's 3.0 TDI and BMW's 335d, there isn't much loss in performance by going diesel either.

    However, i hear today that diesel is set to go up in price AGAIN, maybe to £1.35 a litre. Is it ever going to plateau or just keep going up til diesels aren't economically viable anymore??

    So what are the opinions on this? If you were looking at buying a car to keep for the next 3 years would you go petrol or diesel?
    Which is going to give you the better economy return overall in the coming years, while balancing against driver pleasure and overall owner satisfaction?

    I know petrol vs. diesel has always been a hot topic but i think it applies now more than ever seeing as there is becoming so little difference between the two both price and performance wise.

    I'll be interested to hear the opinions.
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  3. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Diesel would have to be in excess of £2.00 a litre before it become more expensive to run than a similar petrol car.
    #2
  4. dultanur
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    dultanur all promises, no action :)

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    recently i had a ride in an A6 3.0TDI quattro...wow! its fast! and the sound of the engine was unexpectedly very good. didn't sound like a diesel at all.

    to get back on topic, if you like the the way a diesel drives, i think go for one. over here diesel is still cheaper than gas but i still went with petrol, because i dont like the way smaller diesel engines drive and cant afford a big one.
    #3
  5. Matt
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    Matt Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I have the 170 and the petrol engine I would of considered is the 2.0TFSI which is around the same price and faster but not as economical. So it would cost me more to run it in that case.

    Depends how big a price difference there is between the models you are considering!
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  6. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    It's quite simple.
    Diesel is approx 10% dearer than Petrol.
    But you'll get at least 30% more mpg.

    If there are savings to be made in the purchase price, between petrol and diesel, then you could argue these should be taken into account.
    Then again, I'm a firm believer that diesels will hold their value better and be easier to sell in the future.
    #5
  7. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Is there not a specific number of miles you need to do before you make saving on a diesel car, once purchase price and servicing cost etc are factored in ?
    #6
  8. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    So 'they' say, but I always find the figures misleading.

    A/ They always use full RRP for the petrol and diesel cars, which no-one ever pays.
    B/ Not sure servicing is any dearer at all.
    C/ The diesel may have lower roadtax, because of it's lower Co2

    I defy anyone not to notice the savings-at-the-pumps a diesel offers.
    Even if the car does cost a wee bit more to buy, that cost is 'hidden'.
    You may not notice a £20 difference in the monthly payments, but you'll sure as hell notice your fuel lasting you two weeks instead of one.
    #7
  9. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    The reason for starting this thread was a last ditch attempt at allowing anyone to talk me out of buying diesel!
    If you have any sort of a refined performance car, diesel isn't more expensive anyway seeing as performance petrol (optimax, excellence, ultimate) is £1.25 +.
    The old oil burner argument doesn't wash anymore either. The bigger diesel engines i've tested are absolute gems.
    #8
  10. dultanur
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    dultanur all promises, no action :)

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    i totally agree. new diesel engines are incredible. my favorite engines at the moment are 23d and the 35d. both beamers i'm afraid, wish i could bolt a 23d in my A3 :D
    #9
  11. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    This post may not be particularly relevant because PNH80 is obviously looking for a performance car, but personally I'm way better off with petrol - I commute in and out of London every day in a Toyota Prius.

    With the extra fuel efficiency in town, plus the widening gap in diesel and petrol prices, I'm saving approximately £11.50 a WEEK in my 250 miles of driving as opposed to a family-sized diesel hatchback returning the same 45mpg I got in our Sportback along the same route.

    PNH80: you should consider not just the amount of mileage you do but the kind of mileage too. The Prius is our second car because I wanted to switch from the train (it's cheaper and faster by road), and initially I had all sorts of wonderful ideas about buying a Honda S2000 or a Porsche Boxster. But realising the kind of drive I would be making every day, buying a sports car would have been disasterous both financially and physically (i.e. with a manual gearbox!) and so the Prius fits the bill perfectly.

    My wife still uses our Sportback but, whisper it, we may sell it in the next few months and buy something small, cheap and fun to get put back some of our savings used to buy the Prius.
    #10
  12. mcc49
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    mcc49 Stalled

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Argue all you want but unless you're doing 20k+ miles a year get a petrol instead, with current petrol engine refinements being rolled out the tax brackets are coming down on petrol cars. With the current state of fuel supplies the difference in diesel and petrol price will further increase as diesel is byproduct of petrol and considering all commerial vehicles runs on diesel and the huge increase of consumer diesel cars on the road for the past few years, the demand will really put the strain on supply.

    Also with the new diesel engines fitted with DPF, just dont bother getting one if its mainly for town driving as the DPF simply cant heat up enough to burn off the soot in the filter through normal town driving. This pretty much resulted in repeated DPF warning lights and return to dealer trips for alot of diesel owners to get the problem rectify.
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  13. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    See this is why opinions of others who know more about the pro's and cons are valued by myself!
    It's far from square cut and statistics and figures only tell half a story it seems.

    benw123: Did you see Top Gear last night with the Prius/BMW M3 test around the track? If you didn't, the Stig was pushing the Prius as hard as he could around the track and all Clarkson was doing was keeping up in the M3....The M3 returned a better MPG. Obviously it's a very tongue in cheek test but interesting none the less!!
    #12
  14. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    But you're evidently not better off with petrol.
    You're better off with petrol combined with electric power.
    It's an irrelevant comparison.
    If you were comparing petrol/electric hybrids with diesel/electric hybrids, you'd be better off with diesel/electric, no doubt.
    #13
  15. mcc49
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    mcc49 Stalled

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Also since you're in the market for a performance car PNH80, whats your current budget and what the the bare minimum bhp you'd settle for?

    I just had a look at the 3.0TDI A5 and the performance is good but compared to the 335D even I who currently prefer Audi's would say go for the 335D engine.
    #14
  16. bacardi
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    bacardi Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Its a tricky one

    If I had my heart make the call, it would be petrol, they rev higher,are quieter (than my diesel at least) and warm up quicker (big issue in the winter!)

    However, as people have said, I used to fill up my car twice or three times a week when I ran a petrol, the diesel requires one tank, something I never fail to notice!
    #15
  17. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Perhaps you should add the word 'Audi' to the above, because DPF/town problems seem to be restricted to them.
    We have three DPF equipped BMW's in our fleet now (D3, 123D, 118D).
    No problems at all.
    #16
  18. mcc49
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    mcc49 Stalled

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Personally if I had 38k'ish to spend, I would wait and see what the new S4 turns out to be like. Same platform as the A5/S5 but with a new 3.0l supercharged FSI engine, personally cant wait to see what it can do.
    #17
  19. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I have another question for the more technically minded amongst you...

    For example, my 2.0TFSI is really quite economical on the motorway until there's an incline. As soon as you start having to push the throttle, the economy goes through the floor.
    If it was a bigger/more powerful petrol engine, would there be less need to change down gears to pick up speed? And in fact less strain on the engine when accelerating in higher gears....Therefore is it overall more economical in 'real world' terms on the open road?
    #18
  20. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Yeah, there are occasions where a more powerful engine will be more economical than a smaller one.
    My D3 is giving better MPG than my A3 because I have to press the throttle less to achieve my required speed.
    What used to be foot-to-the-floor in my A3 is now half-throttle in the D3.
    But there obviously comes a point where the 'line' is crossed, otherwise we would all just buy the biggest engine we could.
    A bigger engine has physically larger bores to fill with fuel and (usually) more weight to move, so there will come a time when it uses more fuel, regardless of how gently you drive it.
    #19
  21. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Its an age old debate and one which was raging on another forum up until recently.

    Anyway, although you cant ignore how good the recent generation of diesel cars are, Im personally not a fan of the `characteristics` of a diesel engine as an out and out performance tool.
    It just doesnt rev high enough or make the right noises for me.

    I dont do a lot of miles (8-10K per yr) many miles so I can live with the lack of economy trade off versus the driving pleasure I get from my current pertol car.

    This is the main question you should ask yourself before buying a diesel.
    Do you `like` the characteristics of a diesel engine? or are you buying it purely for economy? Is it a comprimise and if it is, is the money you saving enough to justify you driving your second choice car?

    If you like the relative low revving punch you get from a diesel then its a no brainer, petrol wouldnt make a lot of sense.

    If my circumstances were to change and I was doing a lot more miles, I would have to look at a `performance` diesel.
    Im sure I would be happy with the economy and probably not disappointed with the headline figures, but for now at least I remain an un-ashamed petrol head.

    cheers
    paul
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  22. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I think the depreciation would literally scare me into an early grave!!
    #21
  23. motorbikez
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    motorbikez Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I would near enough agree with you bowfer my figures diesel is approx 12% dearer and you will get 25% more mpg also road tax is cheaper for
    comparable cars.
    #22
  24. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Again this is if you put bog standard petrol in your car. If you're using 97+ RON (which i'd imagine most people in this forum are) there's hardly any difference.
    #23
  25. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Would be useful for an independant organisation to do some real world evaluation so we can all make a more informed decision on the economics of diesel v petrol cars.
    There are a lot of views on the subject, but without hard data and some relatively accurate forecasting on diesel prices and car residuals its far from straight forward IMO.
    Even some guidance on annual mileage v car size/type / driving style v type of driving etc etc...and how that effects the whole economy issue.
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  26. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I think what we're concluding is that a slightly more powerful petrol engine, if driven very carefully is overall a better option for a low mileage user.
    #25
  27. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Fuel range is of huge importance to me too, given that I like to get from A to B as quickly as possible.
    Nothing hacks me off more than having to stop for fuel on a long journey.
    Makes a huge difference to your journey time and stress levels.
    I can do Aberdeen-Manchester in 4.5 hours, without even having to think about fuel.
    That's a major 'pro', IMO.
    #26
  28. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    The key words here are 'if driven very carefully'.
    What's the point?
    Where's the fun?
    There's blokes on the Alpina forum 'boast' about getting 33mpg from their petrol Alpinas, whilst admitting they have to drive like nuns.
    Meanwhile, I'm putting the foot down and having a blast!
    I was hanging onto the tail of a Subaru on Saturday.
    Guranteed he used twice the fuel for not much more performance, this side of a racetrack.
    That just makes him a mug, IMO.
    #27
  29. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    To be honest i don't think it'd matter what i drove it'd be more economical than my current A3!
    #28
  30. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    The extra range of a diesel is quite appealing, I drove to inters yesterday, filled up when I left home, had to fill up when I got home 6 hours later.

    Then claire mentioned her car was empty as well so had to go out again to fill her's up... 3 times in one day. Ok so thats not every day I have to do that but I fill mine up just about every other day (3 times a week) and it's a pain.

    J.
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  31. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Alright then, SORRY i know it's an Audi forum but for comparison purposes... BMW 335i vs. 335d. For a relatively low mileage driver, engine sound apart, is there a clear winner economically and driving pleasure wise? Would the diesel even be worth looking at unless you did big miles?
    #30
  32. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Personally I would have the 335i in manual.

    J.
    #31
  33. Matt
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    Matt Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    If you are doing that low a mileage (not sure what you do exactly) then economy wont bother you so doesn't seem much point in getting the diesel?
    #32
  34. stoakseya4
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    stoakseya4 Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    If you do c10k miles per year and the difference in diesel and 'normal' petrol is only c10p/litre, this equates to less than £1/day more with a petrol car (40mpg vs 30mpg).

    The wider the gap in fuel price, or higher the miles, or indeed the more pricey/better petrol RON, the differences change.

    I have a 1.9tdi and 1.8T (190). Both remapped. The tdi will nearly always return c600 miles per tank (driven by the wife). My 1.8T driven (by me) enthusiatically will usually get almost 400 miles on a tank.

    Yes there's a 200 mile range difference, but when driving only c10k miles per year you wont actually notice a massive difference (over a year) to your wallet. It's a psychological one isn't it? The frequency of trips to a petrol station. You think that as you visit less frequently in a diesel, you're obviously saving alot of money. You're not (unless you drive alot of miles and/or buy the better petrol).

    The cars drive quite differently. Personally I like to rev the engine, go round bends at 6k revs, not having to change gear immediately becuase it only revs to 4k.

    Not sure I've actually said anything in this response!

    If you like driving hard and do c10k miles per year, buy a petrol.
    If you do more than 10k miles per year and don't drive particularly hard, buy a diesel.

    Can't wait for the replies to this one !!

    :)
    #33
  35. S3 Rav
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    S3 Rav Well-Known Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    bowfer just wondering how many miles you get to a fully tank and how much does it cost you to fill up?
    #34
  36. PaulAr
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    PaulAr S3 (8P)

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Few would doubt the abilities of a BMW diesel, especialy in ALPINA guise, a fine car Im sure.

    But what is it that makes the SUBARU owner a mug?
    #35
  37. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    I don't think anyone is a mug for having different priorities on how they spend their money.
    A modded Nissan GT-R or Evo FQ 360 is quicker than most Ferraris/Porsches but that doesn't make the Ferrari owner a mug for paying more for the same performance.
    I know what Bowfer's getting at but 'mug' seems a bit strong lol
    #36
  38. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Average fill up is around £65.00 and I get an average of 500 miles.
    More, if it's motorway cruising.
    #37
  39. Evolve
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    Evolve Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]

    335D is an awesome machine when mapped, not only do you get better fuel consumption, but the power is awesome. A mapped 335D would be on par with a E46 M3 CSL over 3/4 mile! Not bad for an oil burner...

    The 335I is equally quick when mapped, however cannot return the MPG of the diesel, it does however offer a much larger scope for tuning. With relatively straight forward mods a 335I can be developed to give over 400hp!

    It depends what type of car you want, the 335I petrol will allow you to get relatively big power and sound and feel "sportier", whereas the Diesel will not be as tuneable, yet still something not to be take lightly performance wise, and will give better MPG.

    When we chose our A3 we went for the A3 2.0 TDI (140) over the petrol counterpart, with our map it is now giving an extra 10% mpg from standard figures and produces 370lbft Torque! Diesel's are not what they used to be and as the engines are developed further and further they really are looking better and better. The R8 when released is the "proof in the pudding" so to speak, a supercar which is a diesel! It really is getting harder to justify buying a Petrol over a Diesel.
    #38
  40. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Mug maybe is a bit strong, but Subaru owners aren't, generally, my favourite people in the whole world...

    RRRRRRRR
    Fttttssssssssssssssssssh chirp
    RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
    Fttttssssh chirp...

    Repeat until umpteenth trip to the petrol station in one week.
    ;)
    #39
  41. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    [Jun 23, 2008]
    Taking all points into account so far i can feel a 335d M-Sport coupe coming. It's just ticking all boxes at the moment, performance and economy wise. Not only that but i fancy Alpine white. Yes that would probably be very flash and make me look like, how can we say.... w@nker? But it looks amazing and less of a rep mobile.
    #40

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