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Super sedan fun on road not at gas pump

July 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hot on the heels of the power-packed BMW M3 and the Lexus IS F, is the new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Like its competitors, its price tag of more than $50,000 buys a fairly small sedan with a fairly large V-8 stuffed under the hood, producing 450 horsepower.

"This is the most powerful, fastest, most thoroughly different AMG car we've built thus far," said Mercedes-Benz spokesman Greg Clark.

The C63 is the latest in a string of AMG models that push the envelope of street car performance, but also return dismal fuel economy numbers. In this case, the C63 gets 12 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies it as a "gas guzzler."

However, Mercedes said it actually does take the environment seriously, and it is working to get more miles per gallon from its cars.

"Every iteration of this car becomes more efficient in its design. And we're hard at work on things like direct injection and other things like 'stop-start' technology," Clark said.

"Stop-start" technology would work like hybrid vehicles to save fuel, shutting the engine off at traffic lights.

While some say these days are the "last hurrah" for cars that are a thrill to drive, there may be hope for those who enjoy a powerful car.

Speed sells, but these days the fuel economy does too. The same kinds of technology that can make an engine more powerful can also make it more fuel efficient.

Tuning an engine, whether for horsepower, fuel savings or both, involves making it more efficient. And engineers are looking at lots of options for the future.

Although getting super sedans to perform is fun, getting them to perform on the road and at the gas pump would be even better.

 

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