8 cars that really liked a drink

31st January 2023
James Brodie

Rejoice! January is over, which means that for some of us, at least, the penance of Dry January is over with too.

Perhaps you might be waiting for some more clement weather to arrive before heading out for that first drop of the year, but regardless, it got us thinking about which cars might also benefit from a bit of time on the wagon. As such, here’s a few cars known for their insatiable thirsts, one way or another. Cheers.


Lamborghini LM002

Lamborghini’s first attempt at an SUV, the LM002, was in many ways a glimpse of the future. Today virtually every supercar maker - Lamborghini included - has an SUV of some description in its line-up. But this isn’t the car that set the template for them. 

The ‘Rambo Lambo’ stands out for its significantly chunky, militaristic design in comparison with the sleek, road-car inspired designs of today’s most exotic 4x4s. And it was very much a bit of a tank. Despite wearing bodywork made from a mixture of aluminium and fibre glass, the LM002 managed to tip the scales at 2.7 tonnes. Combined with permanent four-wheel-drive and a 5.2-litre V12 borrowed from the Countach, and it’s no surprise that the LM002’s reputation for being thirsty remains one of its defining characteristics. 


Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII MR FQ-400

By the early 2000s, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s prowess on the World Rally Championship stage was flagging. The glory days of the late 1990s had faded into the distance, before the brand pulled the plug on its factory effort at the conclusion of the 2005 season.

And on the road, the Evo, in its eighth-iteration, was having a difficult time too. Its evolutionary arc meant that by 2004, it was beginning to feel like a bit of a dinosaur compared with some of its contemporaries, even if it was still a rapid point to point weapon. Mitsubishi’s solution? Push the boat out with a 411PS (302kW) version with a not so insignificant price tag of £47,000. The limited run FQ-400 version of the Evo VIII was a rocketship, but the significant modifications needed to extract what was Ferrari F430 power from its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine meant it was hopeless on fuel. In fact, with a 55 litre tank, you’d be very lucky to chalk up more than 250 miles between the pumps.


Pagani Zonda F

Was the Zonda F the ultimate iteration of Pagani’s name-making, mould-breaking supercar? Technically it’s not the fastest or most hardcore, but it does balance being an enhanced version of the original Zonda with some road-going priorities.

Among the many revisions to the F, along with its redesign incorporating a large wing, new headlights, revised chassis and carbon-ceramic brakes was an updated version of the Zonda’s main attraction: its AMG soured 7.3-litre, naturally aspirated V12 engine. While it enabled 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed in excess of 214mph thanks to its 602PS (443kW) power output, it could barely return more than 15mpg on a good day.


Mazda RX-8

Mazda has just revived rotary power in the new range-extender version of the MX-30 SUV. But the last time a pistonless engine was in the brand’s line-up was with the RX–8 - the final car (for now, we forever hope) to ever wear the brand’s RX badge.

Rotary powered cars have never been associated with strong fuel efficiency - something Mazda sought to address with the RX-8’s 13B-MPS Renesis engine. The 1.3-litre unit was redesigned from the previous 13B iteration to deliver stronger MPGs and lower emissions. But it’s the oil consumption that makes this a motor notorious for enjoying a drink. Many owners have reported up to a litre of the stuff being burnt through just every 1,000 miles.


Porsche 935

The Porsche 935’s domination of the FIA’s incredible Group 5 rules in the late 1970s - the incredible looking Special Production Cars era - was astonishing. The 935, boosted to as much as 857PS (630kW) from its twin-turbocharged flat-six, won the 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours, while it also chalked up major endurance wins at Sebring, Daytona and the Nurburgring.

But, along with being one of Porsche’s greatest ever racing cars, it’s also remembered for some of its distinctive liveries. The Porsche factory team’s long-standing association with Martini was in full swing (though the ‘79 Le Mans winner was the Kramer car), while the 935 in distinctive Jagermeister livery was one of a few orange Porsche racers to etch itself into legend.


Red Bull RB10

Red Bull’s preparations for the 2014 Formula 1 season couldn’t have been worse. The defending champions came into the first season of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid era on the back of a disastrous winter testing campaign. The Adrian Newey designed RB10 was badly hampered by its faltering Renault engine, the French marque’s 2014 power unit falling well short of expectations for power and reliability.

So it was a surprise when the car’s first outing of the season, at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, was a competitive one. On his Red Bull debut, homegrown hero Daniel Ricciardo stuck the stricken Red Bull on the front row of the grid in a wet qualifying session before converting it into an unlikely 2nd place on Sunday. However, he was disqualified after the race for a breach of the fuel flow regulations, the Renault powertrain exceeding the maximum rate. Fuel flow rate irregularities would go on to be a common misdemeanor in the hybrid era. 


Bugatti Bolide

Bugatti’s hardcore Bolide is poised to become the hypercar marque’s ultimate track toy when it arrives in 2024. It’s a radical combination of the incredible power generated by the brand’s iconic quad-turbocharged 8.0-litre W16 powertrain, with the sort of aero trickery and lightweight attention to detail you’d expect of something poised to enter into the new Le Mans Hypercar class.

And the Bolide, like previous Bugattis, has been the automotive element in a partnership between the automaker and Champagne Carbon. The ƎB.03 Edition bottle is said to be “Inspired by the Bolide’s unprecedented driving experience.” Quite how to verify this remains unclear.

Credit: Alexander Migl

Credit: Alexander Migl

ZIL 40147

This is the final Soviet state limousine, the gargantuan ZIL 41047, which remained a fairly common fixture in Russian state ceremonies until the 2010s. Designed in 1985, these armoured limousines remain fairly elusive, with not a great deal of information about them - its predecessor, the 4104, was built under strict supervision of the KGB.

While western armoured cars were fortified versions of existing models, the ZIL was essentially an armoured capsule with a car built around it. Measuring up at 6.3-metres long, and equipped with a 7.7-litre V8 engine putting out 315PS (232kW), it tipped the scales at nearly three and a half tonnes, making it exceptionally thirsty. Official returns of around 9.4mpg is the figure suggested around the web.

  • Lamborghini

  • Mitsubishi

  • Mazda

  • porsche

  • red bull

  • Pagani

  • Bugatti

  • triumph-tr7-1977-interior-tartan-seats-main-goodwood-30082019.jpeg


    Axon’s Automotive Anorak: Seven classic cars that prove tartan seats are cool

  • ford-escort-rs-cosworth-list.jpg


    The ten coolest cop cars in the world

  • best_sounding_cars_the_crew_motorfest_goodwood_22092023_list.jpg


    The 10 best-sounding cars on The Crew: Motorfest