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Sports Cars with Good Fuel Economy

Sports Cars with Good Fuel EconomySports Cars with Good Fuel Economy

Sports cars are known for their poor gas mileage. That’s because their powerful engines need a lot of gas and performance driving moves, like accelerating and braking hard, are among the least efficient ways to drive.

But that’s starting to change. While sports cars still tend to have worse fuel economy than other cars, they can still turn in some respectable fuel economy numbers. New technologies like direct injection and gas/electric hybrid powertrains are helping sports cars keep their performance strong but their fuel consumption low.  

Fuel-Sipping Sports Cars

The Lexus CT200h is a sporty hybrid car, combining an in-line four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. It also lets drivers select from four different driving modes: Normal, Eco, EV and Sport. EV mode keeps the CT200h running on electric power alone as long as there’s enough juice left in the battery. Eco mode alters the CT200h’s responses to get the best fuel economy possible, while Sport improves throttle response for an enthusiast-oriented driving experience. The nice thing about these modes is that you can put it in Eco mode for your drive to work and save Sport mode for tearing up the back roads on a Sunday drive. The Lexus CT200h gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 43/40 mpg city/highway.

If you want a true sports car, you’ll have to stick with a traditional internal combustion engine. You can still get decent gas mileage numbers, though your fuel economy won't be as good as a hybrid's. Because weight has a negative impact on gas mileage (it makes it harder for the engine to move the car), sports car designers try to keep the cars light. That’s good news for fuel economy. Small sports cars like the Porsche Boxster, for example, get up to 20/29 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. The less-expensive Mazda MX-5 Miata gets 21/28 mpg city/highway.

Muscle cars are known for offering big power on a budget, but now have started offering improved fuel economy. The Ford Mustang is the most fuel-efficient muscle car, getting up to 31 mpg on the highway in V6 models. Opting for muscle cars with larger engines, like the Dodge Challenger SRT8, will decrease your gas mileage, but if you want classic muscle car looks without a penalty at the pump, V6-powered models are the way to go.

When you move up to more expensive sports cars, you’ll compromise even more on fuel economy. Luxury sports cars tend to outweigh and outperform their more affordable counterparts. The 556-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V wagon gets as little as 12/18 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission. If you drive frugally and opt for a smaller, lighter luxury sports car, you can save a little at the pump. The Audi TT Coupe gets an EPA-estimated 23/31 mpg city/highway.

Driving a Sports Car Efficiently

If you plan on primarily using your sports car to race down back roads and the track, fuel economy probably isn’t one of your major concerns. But if you plan on using your sports car as a daily driver, fuel economy will likely be more important. No matter which type of sports car you buy, the most important factor in getting good gas mileage comes down to your driving style. That’s why the EPA says that your mileage may vary. The conditions in which you drive your sports car and the way you drive it have a major impact on gas mileage.

To improve gas mileage, avoid accelerating hard and stopping hard. When it’s time to move, accelerate slowly, letting your momentum build up to help pull you along. If you see brake lights up ahead (and it’s safe to do so), coast up to them before stopping rather accelerating toward them and slamming on the brakes at the last second. Stops rob your car of momentum and your car has to work extra hard to get going again. Instead of accelerating and braking through stop-and-go traffic, try coasting and rolling as much as possible. Then, when you really want to open your sports car up and see what it can do, you’ll have plenty of gas in your tank to fuel your fun.