6 Best Fuel Efficient Luxury Cars For Drivers Who Crave Performance

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Credit: Pixnio

Great news, environmentally conscious drivers! The best fuel efficient luxury cars no longer require you to exchange performance for economy at the pump.

Unfortunately, anemic engines and drab styling of the ‘80s has left some drivers cautious of high gas mileage. A response to the gas shortages of the previous decades led to a string of under-powered vehicles. This disappointing trend even included the luxury vehicles at the time. But technological and structural advances mean there’s no longer any need to compromise. Enter the best fuel efficient luxury cars!

As you’ll see in the showrooms of any luxury brand, there are incredible fuel efficient options. There are hybrid and electric models producing horsepower and a driving thrill enough for any purist. This is truly a new age for fuel economy and we’ve selected a few of the best fuel efficient luxury cars that are making the best of use of it.

Why the push for fuel economy?

With gas prices creeping up, it is pretty easy to see why customers continue to welcome fuel efficient cars. The main incentive for auto manufacturers, on the other hand, are increasing governmental standards. Health and environmental concerns have pushed these standards higher. Yet, the results are incredible. 

You might know drivers who regularly denounce the increased fuel economy standards. That might be understandable given the obvious deficiencies of earlier efforts. But the combination of craftsmanship and technology available in today's models creates a new chapter. It might be true that you can't have it all. If you're looking for fuel efficient luxury cars, though, you can have a lot more than you might think. 

Necessity is the mother of invention.

As governments around the world became stricter in regulating automotive fuel economy, auto manufacturers had little choice. They had to come up with solutions that complied to the law and appealed to customers. To be sure, electric cars and other alternative fuels had been researched for decades. But it was the reality of higher standards that sped up the process among many brands.

Pretty soon, the best fuel efficient luxury cars were blurring the lines between environmental and sporty. This isn’t your grandfather’s performance, though. Exhaust notes are different, if they exist at all. There are computers everywhere and boosts from sources other than the engine’s cylinders.

Even still, don’t denounce the loss of that familiar feeling just yet. In many ways, these cars offer style, performance and a luxurious ride unimaginable in generations past. So determine what you’re looking for in a car, and it’s just that easy to shop among the best fuel efficient luxury cars for you.

Something for Every Driver

If you’re in the market for fuel economy without a trade off in performance, you’ve never had more options. But there are many more considerations. Turbo technology can really increase performance, but the lag isn’t for everybody. You can go fully electric if you don’t mind losing the sound of your engine. Then there are more traditional options, but the fuel savings probably won’t be as impressive. 

Though cars require less compromise than ever before, there is still a sliding scale between performance and economy. If you want real mechanical horsepower, you won't get the biggest fuel efficiency numbers. And granted, you won't be stuck in a Prius anymore if you want to drive an electric car fast. But those increasing ranges and speeds still have their own trade offs. So find out what some of the top contenders have to offer -- and happy test driving!

1. Jaguar XF 20 d

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Credit: Jaguar USA

Here’s a luxury car with very little compromise required by the driver. Admittedly, the average 36 miles per gallon isn’t the best in the class. Far from it, in fact, with competitors like Tesla in the bunch.

However, it provides a great driving experience thanks to an expertly tuned 2.0 I-4 intercooled turbo engine. This thing makes 180 horses, but it’ll make you think there’s even more coming from under the hood.

With impressive features like an 8-speed automatic transmission, the ride is so smooth. Then there are the customizable luxury options, including 18 inch aluminum wheels and more. Jaguar's reputation and class are sure to please those looking for a luxury option with a bit better gas mileage than other sedans on the road.

2. BMW 328 d

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Credit: BMW USA

On paper, this car looks very similar to the Jaguar above. Both have similar horsepower, transmission, and turbo engine size. Still, this is a BMW. Don’t get us wrong, Jaguar has a long history of creating exquisite autos. This, however, is a list for drivers who crave performance. Let's face it -- there really isn’t a brand more aligned with driver experience than this one.

Across the lineup, you’ll find models with improving fuel economy. Aside from electric options, the 328d leads the bunch. Plus, it’s packed with safety features as well as luxury options. The bottom line is you’ll always know you’re in a 3 series, regardless of your fuel economy. And for a lot of drivers, that's enough to warrant fewer miles per gallon than some competitors.

3. Lexus GS

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Credit: Lexus

If you’re looking for a little more horsepower (of course you are), then check out this Lexus. It’s a stunning sedan, in line with the luxury heritage it has already established. But it also gives you an impressive fuel economy. Look for up to 34 miles per gallon with 338 horsepower coming from a 3.5 liter hybrid V6. You know if you’re the Lexus type.

This GS builds on the model’s heritage with a plush, comfortable and well appointed ride. As in previous models, that ride belies a ferocious motor hibernating under the hood. At the driver’s command, it will let loose without draining the gas tank. A drive in this car will leave you skeptical of the computer's stated fuel economy. 

4. Lincoln MKZ

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Credit: Lincoln

Domestic luxury makes a splash in this list in the form of the Lincoln MKZ. This car is packed with tech and traditional luxury features. You’ll get sufficient power from the 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder hybrid engine. It makes 188 horsepower and delivers fuel economy that tops 40 miles per gallon.

Lincoln, along with parent company Ford, continues to refine its lineup of engines for fuel economy. The Ecoboost technology has stretched the limits of power without draining gas tanks or wallets. Among what remains of the traditional luxury car market, this is one of the least expensive to own. And among fuel efficient luxury cars, this model stands out as a clear value.

5. Mercedes Benz C 300

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Credit: MB USA

This is the sedan for luxury car drivers who make no compromises. Access 241 horses in the C 300’s 2.0 liter, I-4 intercooled turbo engine. Plus, you'll get everything you’ve come to expect from a Mercedes. The drawback is that you can only expect to get about 27 miles per gallon. But that’s a respectable number and it’s more than sufficient for many drivers.

If you’re in that camp and you want to remain behind the wheel of a Benz, check it out. Count on safety features including tons of airbags and sensors. Then get in and appreciate the German engineering and expertly appointed interior. A 7 speed automatic transmission guides you effortlessly through the paces. Once you press the gas, you might find 40 miles per gallon isn’t as important as you once thought.

6. Tesla Model 3

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Credit: Tesla

Here’s where we start getting to serious fuel economy. If you’re willing to go fully electric, Tesla shows you how it’s done. And there’s a reason the Model 3 is selling out. It’s a moderately priced entry with a truly impressive range. With charging vehicles for electric vehicles becoming more common, it might make sense to make the switch. The new technology has been refined in previous Tesla models.

The Model 3 takes many of those advancements and creates this new car. These are not early electric cars with low output engines and styling that left a lot to be desired. Rather, the Model 3 is beautiful, sufficiently fast, and reasonably priced. These are three qualities we weren't sure a decade ago would ever be attributed to one electric car.

Performance doesn't have to cost fuel economy anymore.

Fuel efficient luxury cars used to be held to a different standard. Especially among electric options, buyers knew they were investing in an unproven technology. There were benefits, to be sure. Bragging rights, lower fuel costs, and other benefits played into their favor. But by and large, drivers opted for more traditional engines until recent years.

Hybrids, turbos and full electric engines have blurred the line between fuel economy and performance. All the major luxury car makers have a lineup punctuated with fuel efficient models. Who knows -- except for longer periods between fill ups, you might never notice the difference. 

We hope you enjoyed our introduction to some of the best fuel efficient luxury cars on the market. If you did, please share this article with the car nuts in your life.

Do you have a favorite luxury car brand? Let us know in the comments section below.

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