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The Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Cars Currently Available

June 22nd, 2011

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Today, you can have a  powerful, luxurious and comfortable luxury car that still gets excellent fuel economy. All of these models feature either hybrid or clean-diesel powertrains and fuel economy numbers of at least 33 highway mpg.

2011 Mercedes E350 BlueTEC

The E350 BlueTEC diesel-powered E-Class is the most luxurious car here, also carrying the highest base price. The BlueTEC diesel system features injection of a proprietary Adblue compound into the exhaust resulting in emissions lower than most gasoline cars. If you can get over the stigma of the diesel you will be rewarded with a car every bit as good as Benz’s standard E350, ready to coddle occupants in true German luxury style.

Base MSRP Price: $50,900
Powertrain:
Clean diesel, 210 horsepower, 400 lb-ft. torque
Fuel Economy:
24 mpg city/34 mpg highway

2011 Lexus CT 200h

Fact: With the 2011 Lexus CT 200h, Lexus currently carries the crown for the the most-fuel efficient luxury vehicle available today. The numbers don’t lie: 43 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, all while producing 59% fewer smog-forming emissions than the 2011 Audi A3 TDI.  Granted, the engine produces a less-than-luxury-like 134 horsepower because it’s the exact same engine/electric hybrid combination found under the hood of the 2011 Toyota Prius.  Why mess with something if it already works?  The reason for the drop off in fuel economy vs. its cousin is the additional weight that the CT carries around town.  That being said, the CT 200h is a bonafide luxury vehicle that rewards its owner with far more comfort and amenities than any Prius can offer.

2011 Lexus HS 250h

If you yearn for more power and a more socially acceptable body style than the CT 200h above, the HS 250h might fit the bill.  The HS 250h features all the amenities you’ve come to expect from Lexus with great fuel economy. If a Prius is too mundane but you still desire Toyota quality look to the HS 250h as a good option. 8.4 seconds from 0 to 60 isn’t bad, and though driver engagement won’t touch the BMW the HS 250h is still a solid performer.

Base MSRP Price: $36,330
Powertrain: Gasoline hybrid system, combined 187 horsepower, 221 lb-ft. torque
Fuel Economy: 35 mpg city/34 mpg highway

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid gets solid fuel economy numbers and does so at a price identical to the standard V6-powered MKZ. This car is based on the Ford Fusion even featuring an identical powertrain, and while the interior features top-quality materials the car’s family sedan roots are apparent once the roads become twisty. Choose the Lincoln if you want the best combination of low base price and cost of ownership. The Lincoln brand was recently tops in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

Base MSRP Price: $34,645
Powertrain: Gasoline hybrid system, combined 156 horsepower, 263 lb-ft. torque
Fuel Economy: 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway

2011 BMW 335d

More than any other super fuel-efficient luxury car, the BMW 335d is built with the driver in mind. The sweet-revving twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel powerplant makes mammoth torque. Try 6.0 seconds from 0 to 60 mph and a 130-mph top speed, great numbers for a car good for upwards of 36 mpg on the highway. BMW’s point was to create a diesel-powered 3-Series that looked and felt like its gasoline counterparts. The car’s 6-speed automatic transmission can be shifted via steering-column mounted paddle shifters.

Base MSRP Price: $44,150
Powertrain: Clean diesel, 265 horsepower, 425 lb-ft. torque
Fuel Economy: 23 mpg city/36 mpg highway

2011 Audi A3 2.0 TDI


The A3 compact luxury car outperforms many economy hybrids in gallon-for-gallon fuel economy. VW/Audi’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel is now legendary in its smoothness, quality and low emissions, having won multiple Ward’s 10 Best Engines awards. Audi has always been a champion of the diesel and has worked hard to change oil-burning motors away from the public perception of noise, nasty emissions and gross smells. The A3 is a compact luxury car and as such won’t offer the same amount of passenger and luggage space, but at subcompact-beating fuel economy this is a small sacrifice to make.

Base MSRP Price: $30,250
Powertrain: Clean diesel, 140 horsepower, 236 lb-ft. torque
Fuel Economy: 30 mpg city/42 mpg highway

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