Passat TDI versus 458 Italia

Am I the only one that’s noticed this?

Both the supercar Ferrari 458 Italia and the proletarian Volkswagen Passat have the vanes (or as Ferrari calls them, “aeroelastic winglets”…la-dee-FRICKIN DAH) in the lower front!  Obviously the 2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year needs the additional downforce this little touch provides just as much as the Ferrari does.  Right?
Actually, to beat the 458 in a cross-country or endurance test, I doubt if it would.  The Ferrari has a 22.7-gallon tank and gets an EPA-measured 12mpg city, 18mpg highway.  The Passat TDI has an 18.5-gallon tank and gets 31/43mpg.  So the Passat goes 795.5 miles between stops, whereas the Ferrari can only manage 408.6.  Assuming max range cruise speed and no traffic or potty breaks, the 458 would have to stop 8 times for gas on the way from the Montauk Point Lighthouse to the Santa Monica Pier.  The Passat only needs 4 stops.  The Passat’s passengers would be atop the Ferris wheel while the Ferrari’s crew would be back somewhere looking for an exit ramp.
Honestly, if I had to own a car with aeroelastic winglets (or their look-alikes), I’d rather have the Passat.  The Ferrari would be great to drive once or twice, but living with it day-to-day would be tiresome–no rear seats, no cargo space, silly steering wheel, expensive service, and, oh, right, I’d always have to worry about it spontaneously bursting into flame.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *