When Burning Rubber Doesn't Mean Burning Through Fuel
Motor Trend tests dozens of vehicles every year, everything from fuel misers to speed demons. Among them are a number of cars that are quick in a straight line and also surprisingly fuel efficient. In celebration of Earth Day, here are the 20 vehicles we’ve tested that are quickest to 60 mph but also achieve at least 30 MPG on the highway.
20. Toyota Camry V-6 – 5.8 seconds, 7.8 L/100km
Even though it’s not the most interesting car to drive it its class, the V-6 powered Toyota Camry is one of the quickest in a straight line and is able to outrun the majority of its competitors. We tested a 2012 model, which was then rated for 30 mpg on the highway; the Camry V-6 is now up to 31 mpg and uses the same engine (a 2015 Camry XSE is shown here).
19. Acura RLX – 5.8 seconds, 7.6 L/100km
Even though it isn’t as eye-catching as some of its competitors, the Acura RLX is a good value in its class, offering good acceleration for a 2-ton, front-drive midsize luxury sedan. Although there are some competitors that are faster, the RLX provides a great balance of straight-line acceleration, fuel economy, and comfort that makes it a great choice for long drives.
18. Audi Q5 TDI – 5.7 seconds, 7.6 L/100km
Fuel efficiency and strong straight-line acceleration don’t have to come at the cost of utility, as proven by the Audi Q5 TDI. Among diesel-powered crossovers, the Q5 TDI provides the best blend of fuel economy, power, and utility, making it a better choice than some hybrid crossovers.
17. Volkswagen Golf GTI – 5.7 seconds (5.8 with DSG), 6.9 L/100km (7.1 L/100km with DSG)
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is the pioneer of the hot hatch segment in the 1980s, proving that fuel efficiency, performance, and practicality can coexist. Even though the Golf GTI has gotten more refined, it remains fun to drive and well-rounded, making it an excellent car for those looking for something practical that can double as a weekend canyon-carver.
16. Ford Mustang EcoBoost – 5.6 seconds, 7.4 L/100km (7.6 L/100km with the 6-speed automatic)
Opting for a Ford Mustang without a V-8 is no longer blasphemous, especially when the ponycar is equipped with the 310-hp, turbocharged, 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline-four. Not as quick as the V-8-powered GT, the Mustang EcoBoost still provides a nice blend of performance and fuel economy, making it a great choice as a daily driver.
15. BMW 535d – 5.5 seconds, 6.2 L/100km (8-speed automatic)
The diesel-powered BMW 535d is a great choice for those who are on the road a lot because it provides excellent acceleration without sacrificing range. The car’s luxurious interior ensures that occupants are comfortable throughout their journey.
14. BMW 640i Gran Coupe – 5.4 seconds, 7.6 L/100km
Despite its large size, the BMW 640i Gran Coupe is quick and gets surprising gas mileage. This makes it an excellent road-trip car. Its 315-hp turbo-six and eight-speed automatic mean it won’t struggle in passing maneuvers, and its 31-mpg EPA rating and 18.5-gallon fuel tank give it plenty of range.
13. Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E – 5.4 seconds, 6.7 L/100km
Volvo‘s excellent 302-hp, super- and turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-four means there’s no need to choose between fuel economy and performance — this engine lets you have both. Even though it’s front-wheel drive, the S60 T6 Drive-E provides strong acceleration and drama-free power delivery with few traces of torque steer.
12. Audi A6 TDI – 5.4 seconds, 6.2 L/100km
Forget everything you know about diesel-powered cars not having good acceleration because the Audi A6 TDI proves that one car can do it all. The A6 TDI’s excellent fuel economy and acceleration also mean highway cruising is a breeze. It goes far on a single tank, and the torque-rich turbodiesel V-6 makes passing a non-issue.
11. BMW 228i Coupe – 5.0 seconds, 6.5 L/100km (6.9 L/100km with the 6-speed manual)
Those looking for a modern version of the 1980s and ’90s-era BMW 3 Series should consider the 228i and its 240-hp turbo-four. Not only is it the cheapest BMW coupe available, but the 228i is also the most fuel efficient and doesn’t sacrifice performance and handling to the gas mileage gods.
10. Infiniti Q50 Hybrid – 4.9 seconds, 6.5 L/100km (6.7 L/100km with all-wheel drive)
Even though hybrid vehicles are synonymous with achieving excellent fuel economy, some are also quick in a straight line, proving that good gas mileage doesn’t have to come at the cost of performance, luxury, and refinement.
9. BMW 435i Coupe – 4.8 seconds, 7.3 L/100km (7.8 L/100km with 6-speed manual)
The 3 Series Coupe’s successor, the 4 Series, is more refined and is available with a 300-hp turbo-six paired to either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Although not as sporting as its predecessor, the 435i is an excellent cruiser due to its improved comfort, 32-mpg EPA highway rating, and effortless acceleration from the torquey turbo-six.
8. Audi S3 – 4.7 seconds, 7.6 L/100km
Looking for a compact all-wheel-drive sports sedan that’s a little bit more upscale? Then look no further than the Audi S3, a wicked little sports sedan dressed in a tuxedo. It’ll devour twisty roads with ease and double as a daily driver that gets similar fuel economy as the less powerful A3 2.0T Quattro.
7. Volkswagen Golf R – 4.5 seconds, 7.8 L/100km
Powered by a 292-hp turbo-four that’s possibly underrated, the Volkswagen Golf R is the ultimate Golf in terms of performance. The hatchback body style with its generous cargo capacity and split-folding second row means that car enthusiasts can also pitch this as a family car.
6. BMW 335i xDrive – 4.4 seconds, 7.8 L/100km
Even though the 3 Series is less sporty and more refined than ever, it continues to offer plenty of straight-line punch without sacrificing fuel economy even in all-wheel-drive models. The 335i xDrive is a great choice for those looking to outrun the crowd but needing all-weather traction.
5. BMW M235i Coupe – 4.4 seconds, 7.4 L/100km
The 2 Series range is a return to form for BMW — a fun-to-drive compact four-seat coupe that can double as a daily driver. Range-topping M235i models are reminiscent of past 3 Series models, offering nimble handling and a smooth-operating 320-hp, turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six.
4. Porsche Boxster S – 4.2 seconds, 7.8 L/100km
If you’re looking for the best small roadster available, look no further than the Porsche Boxster. Although all models are able to hit 30 mpg, the Boxster S comes with more performance but little to no sacrifice in fuel economy over the base model.
3. Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG – 4.2 seconds, 7.6 L/100km
The smallest AMG model is also the most fuel efficient, offering plenty of performance while returning good highway fuel economy. Be careful when you’re hauling more than two passengers, though, because the rear seats on all CLA models aren’t the roomiest.
2. Alfa Romeo 4C – 4.1 seconds, 6.9 L/100km
Powered by a 237-hp turbo-four and weighing a little more than 2,400 pounds in U.S. spec, the Alfa Romeo 4C is a supercar in its own right. The 4C is able to eke out 34 mpg on the highway thanks to its lightweight body.
1. Porsche Cayman S – 3.9 seconds, 7.8 L/100km
When it comes to having your cake and eating it too, nothing comes close to the Porsche Cayman S, especially when it’s equipped with the seven-speed PDK twin-clutch gearbox. Lightning-fast shifts and a high-revving flat-six give the Cayman S exceptional acceleration without sacrificing fuel economy.