As this is being written, gas prices have surpassed five dollars a gallon in California for the first time ever. In an environment like that, even among luxury car shoppers, one specification starts to stand out ahead of all the others: the fuel economy rating.
The good news is you don’t have to sacrifice luxurious transportation to achieve remarkable gas mileage numbers. Our list of best MPG 2012 luxury cars contains a nice mix of vehicles luxurious automobiles.
As you might expect, hybrids dominate the list. However, thanks to the combination of turbocharging and direct fuel injection, small displacement/large output engines manage to put in a pretty significant presence on our list of the best MPG luxury cars for 2012 too.
One of the best handling hybrids you can buy, the Lexus CT 200h is imbued with a youthful energy previously unknown to Lexus automobiles. The chunky hatchback high MPG luxury car is handsome, fun to drive (though somewhat underpowered), and absolutely bristling with techno-goodies.
Standard equipment includes Bluetooth telephony with audio streaming feeding a six-speaker sound system along with a CD player, satellite radio and auxiliary audio/USB input jacks. Other standard features include heated side mirrors, keyless entry and start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The CT200h is a Lexus though, so naturally, that is only the beginning.
Navigation, Lexus Enform telematics, the Lexus Remote Touch interface, rain sensing wipers, LED headlights, and smart cruise control are all available as well.
A 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a pair of electric motor/generators energize the 2012 Lexus CT 200h. Combined output is 134 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) developed specifically for hybrid powertrains.
Technically a 2013 model, the new Lexus ES 300h was introduced fairly early in 2012, so we’re including it here on our list of high MPG luxury cars for 2012. One of the best-selling Lexus models, applying hybrid technology to the mid-size front-drive sedan will, in all likelihood, serve only to make it even more desirable.
Standard features include Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming into an eight-speaker sound system also fed by a six-disc CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and an iPod/USB audio input interface.
The Lexus also features keyless start and entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, alloy wheels, automatic headlights, fog lights, LED running lights, a sunroof, heated mirrors, cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications,
The powertrain of the 2013 Lexus ES 300h is comprised of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, which together produce 200 horsepower. Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are standard equipment.
The interior of the Lincoln MKZ is a veritable living room on wheels. Further, the Lincoln handles nicely, looks good and has a strong list of enviable attributes. Lincoln’s steadfast adherence to the traditional qualities of craftsmanship is readily evident in the way it employs genuine wood and leather trim in all of its vehicles—including its entry-level MKZ sedan.
Loaded with features, the MKZ’s standard feature set includes alloy wheels, fog lights, rear parking sensors, keyless entry with an outside keypad, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
The interior also features heated and ventilated power adjustable front seats with driver memory, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, and full power accessories. Ford's Microsoft-developed Sync telematics interface and a nine-speaker audio system fed with a six- disc CD changer, auxiliary/USB audio input jacks, and a satellite radio receiver.
The front-drive Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, one of the ten best MPG luxury cars, is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine teamed with an electric motor that together make 191 hp. A continuously variable automatic transmission is standard equipment.
The first hybrid-only luxury car to market with no conventionally powered counterpart, the Lexus HS 250h— while a remarkably forward-thinking idea—languishes largely unloved in the marketplace. If we had to guess why, given it’s so close in price to Toyota’s Prius, (which achieves better fuel economy) many shoppers in this category probably choose to forego the Lexus badge.
When it comes to comfort and convenience features, the HS delivers. The base model features alloy wheels, full power accessories, power front seats for the driver and the passenger, foglights, a sunroof, and heated outside mirrors. It also features keyless entry and start, leather, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a dual-zone automatic climate control system. The standard audio package is made up of a10-speaker sound system with a six-disc CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and Bluetooth connectivity for telephone and audio streaming.
A 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motor/generators powers the 2012 Lexus HS 250h. The powertrain’s combined output of 187 horsepower gets to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Surprisingly, the only diesel model on the list of high MPG luxury cars is the Audi A3.
A brilliantly sorted little automobile, the Audi A3 2.0 TDI proves a luxurious fun to drive car can have strong fuel economy. Fold in the exceptional fit and finish Audi’s products are known for along with the tidy size of the A3 and you’ve got a car that delivers the best of many worlds simultaneously.
The standard Audi A3 feature set includes: Standard equipment on the basic A3 model includes dual-zone automatic climate control, alloy wheels, leather, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, fog lights, cruise control, and a 10-speaker sound system fed with a CD player, satellite radio, and an auxiliary audio input jack.
For model year 2012, the Audi A3 2.0 TDI features a 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel producing 236 ft.-lbs. of torque. The front-drive Audi uses a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (known in Audi-speak as S tronic) as standard equipment with the diesel engine.
New for 2013, though introduced early in 2012, the Lexus GS 450h is descended from the first Lexus model to emphasize performance over luxury. In fact the previous hybrid iteration of the Lexus GS used the electric components of its drivetrain to endow the car with the power of a V8, even though it ran a V6 engine. As a result fuel economy wasn’t that car’s long suit in the overall pantheon of fuel-efficient cars. For the new model, while the performance aspect of the car is still strong, fuel efficiency is given equal priority.
It’s a Lexus, so comfort and convenience are high up on the attribute list. Standard features include a smart suspension system, adjustable throttle, steering and transmission response, smart LED headlights, LED running lights, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, smart wipers, a sunroof, and keyless ignition/entry.
The GS 450h also has a climate control system configured to focus air only to occupied seats. The heated and ventilated power front seats feature leather and driver memory functions.
Bluetooth phone connectivity, audio streaming, and text-to-speech messaging are included in the base price.
The entertainment package’s headline is a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system driven by a six-disc CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio input jack and an iPod/USB audio interface for portable audio devices.
The 3.5-liter V6 is teamed with pair of electric motors to send 338 horsepower to the rear wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
While we have yet to acclimate to the flowing lines of Infiniti’s M sedan, we readily praise its driving characteristics. Nicely balanced, with great power and terrific agility, the Infiniti M is one of our favorite cars to drive.
Standard features are power-folding heated mirrors, alloy wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, and automatic wipers. Comfort gear includes a sunroof, leather, keyless entry and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated power front seats with driver memory.
On the tech side are a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system driven by a CD player, an auxiliary audio/visual input jack, an iPod interface and a satellite radio receiver. The M35h also uses Infiniti’s Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians solution to announce the car's presence when it is running in its electric mode.
The rear-wheel drive M35h gets a combined 360 horsepower from its hybrid powertrain consisting of a 3.5-liter V6, an electric motor and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Completely redesigned for 2012, the BMW 328i remains the benchmark by which all other sport sedans are judged. In addition to all its other attributes, it can now claim to be one of the highest MPG luxury cars too.
Standard features include alloy wheels, adjustable suspension, steering, throttle, and automatic transmission settings; automatic headlights, fog lights, automatic wipers, cruise control, and an automatic dual-zone climate control system. The BMW also features Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and BMW’s iDrive. The audio system uses a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio input jack for portable devices and an iPod/USB audio input.
A 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 255 ft.-lbs. of torque powers the 328i. An auto start/stop function turns off the engine when the car stops to conserve fuel. The turbo four feeds the rear-drive sedan through a six-speed manual transmission in standard configuration. For the best fuel economy, go with the optional eight-speed automatic instead.
Blending the sporting aspects of BMW with the luxury quotient of Mercedes-Benz, Audi’s A6 2.0T carves out its own niche. Further, it incorporates all of today’s most advanced electronics. There’s also the legendary fit, finish and craftsmanship of its interior treatment. Put it all together with strong fuel economy numbers and you’ll have one of the most enviable entries on our list of 2012’s high MPG luxury cars.
The standard feature set includes adjustable modes for steering, throttle and transmission responsiveness. The A6 also comes with automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a sunroof, keyless start and entry, a triple-zone automatic climate control system, eight-way power adjustable front seats for the driver and the passenger, leather, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth for music and the telephone, and a 10-speaker sound system driven a CD player, satellite radio and an iPod control system.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, good for 211 horsepower and 258 ft.-lbs. of torque. The output is routed to the front-wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Surprised to find the BMW 528i on a list of high MPG luxury cars? With its direct injected turbo four, the BMW 528i is one of the best MPG cars—period. And, it does so while still delivering the smoothness, sophistication, and outstanding driving characteristics we’ve come to expect of a BMW.
The 2012 BMW 528i standard equipment list contains alloy wheels, adjustable suspension, steering, throttle, and automatic transmission response, smart bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, cruise control and auto-dimming mirrors.
Other comfort and convenience features include dual-zone automatic climate control, powered front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth audio streaming and telephony, BMW’s iDrive and a 10-speaker sound system fed by a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio input jack for portable audio devices, and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The 528i’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 240 horsepower and 255 ft.-lbs. of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. (All-wheel drive is optional.) The BMW employs an automatic stop/start function to shuts down the engine when the car stops to conserve fuel.