- Find out our favourite cars which are quick but low on CO2
- All offer CO2 emissions below 140g/km
- Some petrol engines considered
Even Paul Hollywood likes a bargain but unlike cakes, when it comes to company cars the less filling the better – high economy means low CO2 figures, and that gives you more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Problem is, they’re often the automotive equivalent of a soggy bottom. Dull to drive and slow to accelerate.
But there are some that move quicker than Mary Berry on her way to a tipsy trifle, and we’ve tasted (tested) the best for you. All accelerate from 0-62mph in under seven seconds, emit less than 140g/km and have a P11D below £40,000 – enough to keep Mary, Paul, Mel, Sue and whoever else happy.
Ready, set, bake.
The BMW 320d might be king of most company car parks, but for those in a hurry it’s the more powerful 430d that appeals the most; 0-62mph takes just 5.3 seconds in this car and only an electronic limiter forces it to stop accelerating at 155mph. Choose Luxury trim and you’ll notice the P11D price is only £39,560 as well, which impresses thanks to standard-fit Xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, climate control, DAB radio, cruise control, Bluetooth, electric front seats and upgraded Business Media sat-nav.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox is your only choice of transmission, but it shifts cogs efficiently and – when called upon to do so – quickly too. Emissions of 129g/km of CO2 means the 430d sits in a 21 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year, while the 254bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine returns around 60mpg. Not so much having your cake and eating it, but gorging on a whole branch of Greggs in one go.
Sometimes, just like a petit four (French for small oven), the best things really do come in small packages – and so it is with the Ford Fiesta ST-3, a car not only tiny in stature but tiny in price. For £40,000 you could buy two! But here the number speak for themselves, the fast Fiesta boasting 179bhp from its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds.
Driven sensibly – hard to do in a car that’s such a riot to drive fast – the Ford will return 47mpg and emits just 138g/km of CO2, which means it sits in a 23 percent BIK tax band for the current year. Fully equipped with most of the options buyers were adding to their mid-sped ST-2 models the ST-3 comes with sat-nav, climate control, cruise control, keyless entry and DAB Radio – though rear parking sensors are £200 on top.
In theory, hybrids offer the best of both worlds, just like a savoury muffin; here its economy and speed mixed rather than just a cooked breakfast on the go though. The Mercedes C300 BlueTEC Hybrid SE Executive is the only one to make the list, the established players from Lexus too slow to justify inclusion, thanks to a 0-62mph time of just 6.2 seconds.
Thankfully the C300 sits comfortably under the price threshold with a £35,570 P11D price too, while according to Mercedes the executive saloon emits just 94g/km of CO2 and can return 78mpg – so it slots into a 14 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year. But while that economy figure isn’t particularly believable in the real-world, some of the others are. Certainly the marriage of 2.1-litre four cylinder diesel engine (not the world’s most refined unit) and electric motor means you’ll struggle not to take note of the C300’s 227bhp and 500Nm of torque on the move.
An Éclair’s an Éclair right? From the outside, one looks just like the other – and so it is with this third generation Audi TT Coupe. But while the outside may not excite, what’s underneath the skin is a little more revolutionary. Besides some proper on-board tech (that fully digital dashboard) there’s a choice of diesel or petrol engines, and four or front wheel drive.
Emissions of just 137g/km mean the front wheel drive 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 227bhp found in the 2.0T FSI S Line is the one to choose. The 0-62mph time is dispatched in just 5.8 seconds, economy is pegged at 47mpg and it sits in a 23 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year. DAB radio, Bluetooth, air conditioning and 19-inch wheels are standard, but you’ll need to add the £1,795 Technology package if you want sat-nav; thankfully the £32,225 P11d price means there’s money left in the budget to do so.
Just like baking itself, since its reinvention in 2001 MINI has come right back into fashion – and now there’s no supermini quite as fashionable, or as desirable, as the third generation. The good news is the Cooper S model is as fast as it looks, thanks to its 189bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, accelerating from 0-62mph in a rip-roaring 6.8 seconds. Pop it in Sport mode and there’s the odd intoxicating bang from the exhaust pipes, while the wheels at each corner stance means it’s a hoot in the bends.
The firm does make its living by convincing customers to pay for optional extras though, and it’s no different with the Cooper S; you’ll need to splash out on the Media Pack XL (£1,175) to add sat-nav and the Park Assistant Pack (sensors) add another £590. At least Bluetooth and DAB radio are standard for the £18,470 P11D value, and the 49.6mpg economy plus 133g/km CO2 figures keeps it in a 22 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year.
Swede’s are known for their coffee and cake (Fika in the mother tongue) breaks almost as much as they are for fast front-wheel drive Volvos. The caffeine-fuelled V40 T5 is a case in point, with a four-cylinder 2.0-litre engine bursting at the seams with 241bhp. That allows this ‘sensible’ family hatchback to sprint from 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds (third fastest in this list) when you choose the T5 R Design Lux Nav Geartronic.
Do so and the P11D price is £31,175, though that includes sat-nav, Bluetooth, climate control, cruise control, keyless start and leather seats – which means company buyers will surely be able to survive without adding any costly optional extras. And while the 47mpg quoted economy figure may not be that easily attained, the 137g/km CO2 figure can’t be argued with – keeping it in a 23 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year.
We’re big fans of the Leon here at Parkers, having run a variety of models on our long term fleet. And while the Cupra model is clearly the fastest, for those looking to emit only 132g/km of CO2 meaning a 22 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year, the 1.8 TSI engine SC is the perfect choice. Managing to mix economy and speed perfectly, completing the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.9 seconds while offering up to 49mpg on average.
Add to that the Leon is as well-built as a Golf, but maybe even sharper looking and better to drive, and it’s hard not to be swayed by its Latin appeal.
There’s few nameplates quite as evocative as the Golf GTI’s, it is to cars what Black Forest Gateaux is to cakes, so it’s no surprise to see it in this list. The GTE, with its hybrid technology is cleaner, but not as fast and lacks the cache in the company car park. Choose the Performance Pack three-door with manual gearbox and you’ll still scrape under the CO2 threshold too, with emissions of 139g/km, meaning a 23 percent BIK tax band for the current 2014/15 year, despite the 227bhp output.
Driven as its makers intended the 0-62mph sprint is dispatched in 6.2 seconds too, and the top speed is a lofty 155mph - all for a P11D price of £27,140. Don’t worry about standard equipment either, as the Jacara cloth fitted to the seats as standard looks better than the optional leather anyway, plus DAB radio, Bluetooth and dual zone climate control all feature as standard kit. You’ll need another £750 for sat-nav.