Published August 24, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
You can forget about sensible stereotypes associated with the handful of diesel autos sold in the U.S. when looking at the UK-made Trident Iceni Grand Tourer.
It goes “nearly” 200 mph – or possibly more depending on tuning – and can still deliver 68.9 mpg – that is, you get either peak mpg /or peak mph, obviously – not both at the same time, but the 2-seater costing a bit more than a fully spec’d Tesla Model S electric sedan is meant to be compelling.
Trident will build the Iceni to order in Norfolk, starting at £75,000 (around $119,000). And though it has an engine that could make a 4X4 truck driver green with envy, it actually makes a few concessions toward being potentially green, as it will run also on mineral diesel, biodiesel, palm oil or linseed oil.
The base model uses a mid-front mounted 6.6-liter Duramax engine with turbo boost turned up for 430 bhp, 950-pound-feet torque at under 3,250 rpm. Its maker boasts 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.
Higher performance is possible via an upgraded version of the same engine that the manufacturer rates at 660 bhp and 1,050 pound-feet torque.
Its 68.9 mpg figure is derived by employing “torque multiplication” to its transmission so when in top gear at 70 mph, its freight-train-powerful diesel lazily lopes along at just 980 rpm.
At 980 rpm, much less fuel is being consumed, so it gets mileage as good as or better than a carefully driven Toyota Prius. Even at such low engine speeds, however, around 700 pound-feet of torque is ready at the driver’s disposal. With a rather large fuel tank on board, the theoretical range on one fill-up is over 2,000 miles – just what is needed for a “grand tourer,” right?
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Trident is a traditional British brand originally established decades ago and in the mid 60s as Trident Cars Ltd. it produced such vehicles as the TVR Trident Coupe. In 1999 it was re-established in Fakenham, Norfolk to manufacture a GM petrol-engined V6 sports car, and the company underwent a change again after 2007/2008.
The newer company with the time-honored name will show its exclusive Iceni September 5-7 at the Salon Privé Supercar Show & Concours d'Elégance in the the UK.
As a UK equivalent to Pebble Beach, Salon Privé will have representatives from Trident on hand to take orders for those wanting a modern diesel sports car that makes an iconic but old-school AC Cobra 427 from the 1960s look rather underpowered and definitely more thirsty.
All the way back in 2008, the Daily Mail cited company reps claiming 100 mpg on biodiesel, stainless steel chassis and carbon fiber body although a recent press release is more vague about the to-be-revealed car. We’ve seen discrepancies also in its top speed from just shy of 200 mph to 230 mph.
Although the video mentions the higher top speed, presumably from a pre-production model – or perhaps someone was exaggerating, or maybe it was from a higher performance version – the manufacturer now simply claims “nearly 200 mph” presumably for the base model.
In any case, the Iceni is billed as a have-it-all green car; another approach to cool styling and outrageous performance while capable of fewer emissions and more miles per gallon – if one has the self-restraint to drive it at a docile pace, that is.