Luxury Cars That Don't Guzzle Gas

Just because your car costs more than average doesn't mean your fuel bill needs to.

Forbes

The terms “luxurious” and “economical” needn’t be mutually exclusive. Whether you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint or are just tired of having your pocket picked at the pump, there’s a growing number of top-shelf models on the market that boast top fuel efficiency. And we’re not talking about oddball six-figure hybrids that save a few mpg for the sake of environmental street cred among one’s peers – these are mainstream luxury cars that get at least 30 mpg and give up little in terms of either performance or comfort.

For instance, the BMW 528i is not only one of the most pleasurable-to-drive midsize luxury cars, it’s also among the most fuel-efficient. A manual transmission is standard for enthusiasts with a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission available at no extra cost for the clutch-averse. Cutting-edge amenities like a rearview camera with top-down side-view perspectives for easier parking and an infrared Night Vision system make it one of the best-selling luxury cars on the road. It’s base-priced at around $45,500 and is rated at 22/32 mpg.

For those looking to buy American, the Lincoln MKZ hybrid (Lincoln’s version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid) treats its occupants to a luxurious interior while presenting onlookers with a fierce and edgy facade. The car can run at speeds up to 47 mph solely on battery power. Best of all, the MKZ is the only hybrid that’s priced on a par with its gasoline-powered equivalent at about $35,000. It’s rated at 41/36 mpg.

Whoever came up with the moniker “gas guzzler” may have to rethink how they define SUVs thanks to the Lexus RX 450h’s 32/28 mpg rating. Available in front- and all-wheel-drive versions, the stylish midsize hybrid luxury crossover SUV is quicker and gets better mileage than its gasoline powered equivalent. Starting at around $44,000, it remains both practical and a pleasure to drive, with a spacious and comfortable wood-trimmed five-passenger cabin that includes 10 airbags.

To check EPA fuel economy ratings for all model-year 2011 makes and models click here.

Otherwise, here's a few more examples of luxury cars that won't nickel-and-dime you at the pump:

BMW 335d
The "clean diesel" version of the acclaimed 3 Series sedan is both efficient and sporty, with a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel inline-six-cylinder engine producing 265 horsepower with a whopping 425 pound-feet of torque that ensures quick launches. Driving the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, this engine can take the 335d to 60 mph in just under seven seconds, which is roughly on a par with the 335i gasoline version. Superior suspension and steering systems enable adept cornering abilities that reward a skilled driver at every turn, while an available M Sport package turns the 335d into an even racier package. Priced at around $44,500, it's rated at 23/36 mpg.

Lexus HS 250h
Lexus' midsize five-passenger hybrid-powered luxury sedan is more handsomely styled than its cousin at Toyota, the Prius. Though it can't match that model's fuel economy, it's more refined and delivers more luxury-car-like comfort and performance. A 2.4-liter gas/electric powertrain produces 187 horsepower, with comfort-tuned ride and handling characteristics. In a nod to the car's "green" nature, around 30 percent of its cabin and trunk materials are so-called bioplastics that are responsible for 20 percent less carbon dioxide emissions. It starts at around $36,000 and is rated at 35/34 mpg.

Lexus RX 450h
Available in front- and all-wheel-drive versions, the stylish midsize RX 450h hybrid luxury crossover SUV is quicker and gets better mileage than its gasoline powered equivalent with its 295-horsepower electrified 3.5-liter V-6 powertrain. It remains both practical and a pleasure to drive, with a spacious and comfortable wood-trimmed five-passenger cabin that includes 10 airbags. Starting at around $44,000, high-tech options include a head-up display that projects pertinent data onto the windshield in the driver's line of sight. It's rated at 32/28 mpg.

Lincoln MKZ
Lincoln's version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid features formal chrome-capped styling, and treats its occupants to a more luxurious interior. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor generate a V6-like 191 horsepower, and the car can run at speeds up to 47 mph solely on battery power. A novel dashboard display helps motorists maximize their fuel efficiency. It comes with a long list of standard convenience features that includes heated and cooled front seats. Best of all, the MKZ is the only hybrid that's priced on a par with its gasoline-powered equivalent at about $35,000. It's rated at 41/36 mpg.

Mercedes E350 BlueTEC
This is the most-efficient version of Mercedes' elegant and accommodating midsize E-Class sedan, and it leverages its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine for V-8-grade off-the-line acceleration with 210 horsepower and a generous 400 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and efficiently. Buyers can upgrade the base comfort-oriented suspension to a sport package for improved handling and specific upgrades at no difference in price, which starts at just over $51,000. It's rated at 22/33 mpg.

Click here for the full list of Luxury Cars That Get 30 MPG Or Better

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