Trident Iceni Grand Tourer: A diesel-powered sports car from Britain

Trident Iceni Grand Tourer front three-quarter viewThe words “sporty” and “diesel” usually don’t appear in the same sentence. Diesels are known for powering locomotives, trucks, and buses; all decidedly un-sporty vehicles. Unless said diesel is in one of Audi’s LeMans winning racers, petrolheads aren’t interested. That’s why the diesel-powered Trident Iceni Grand Tourer sports car is such a tough sell.

Named after a Roman-era English tribe and made by Britain’s Trident Performance Vehicles, the Iceni is a traditional two-seat roadster with a turbodiesel engine. Specifically, it’s a 6.6-liter V8 from General Motors that normally powers Chevy Silverado pickup trucks. A sports car with a truck engine? Talk about gumption.

It will be a powerful engine though, Base Iceni Grand Tourers will have 430 horsepower and a colossal 950 pound-feet of torque. Trident will also offer an upgraded model with 650 hp and 1,050 lb-ft. That means the Iceni won’t just be powerful, it’ll be able to push-start a planet.

The Iceni will be fast, too. Trident says it will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and come pretty close to 200 mph. That’s only 0.3 seconds slower than a Pagani Huayra.

Any true sports car needs to be fast, but the Iceni Gran Tourer distinguishes itself from the Italian, German, Japanese, and American competition by being frugal as well. Trident says the Iceni will return 58 mpg on the European cycle and could potentially travel 2,000 miles on a single tank. That is the power of diesel.

Like electric motors, diesel engines make most of their power at low speeds. At 70 mph, the Iceni’s engine is only turning at 980 rpm, which is lower than the idle speeds of some gasoline-powered cars. Since the engine isn’t working as hard, it’s using less fuel.Trident Iceni Grand Tourer side view

This amazing economy is why small, diesel-powered cars are the standard in Europe, and why American hyper milers love their Volkswagen Jetta TDIs. However, diesel does have a few downsides.

Making prodigious low-end torque means most diesels don’t make much horsepower; they can accelerate quickly but their top speeds are limited. That’s why nearly every diesel comes with a turbocharger: carmakers need to give the engines more range. If the Iceni can really achieve a near-200 mph top speed, Trident will have solved that problem.

Another problem is reliability. It is very difficult to find a transmission that can cope with over 900 lb-ft of torque without disintegrating. We’ll see how well Trident did on that front when the first Iceni Gran Tourers hit the road.

Don’t expect to see too many sports cars spewing clouds of diesel exhaust any time soon, though. The Iceni Gran Tourer is built to order, and carries a price tag of roughly $119,000. A Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster costs nearly $100,000 more, and is 0.2 second quicker to 60 mph, but it does not get 58 mpg.

Trident’s diesel locomotive is scheduled for a public debut at at the Salon Privé in London on September 5. With the Iceni Gran Tourer, Trident has gone after two nearly impossible goals: making a green high-performance car and making diesel cool.

Cars

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.
Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.