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Luxury cars becoming more fuel efficient

July 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Automakers are under increased pressure to make cars that use less gas. Even luxury cars are becoming more fuel efficient. For decades, Cadillacs were associated with V8 engines and their trademark smooth power. But that's all changing.

Cadillac now says that for the most part, its cars will come with only V6 engines in order to meet future fuel economy and emissions standards.

Drivers won't be suffering though. This is a new generation of V6 with high-tech tricks inside: fuel economy with luxury drivability.

The challenge is on for luxury car makers who'd like to still offer powerful cars in a greener future.

Jaguar's newly revised XF and XK supercharged models now make a staggering 510 horsepower -- not often thought of as a recipe for environmental friendliness.

But Jaguar insists that high performance will be attainable in the years ahead.

"The focus of our engineers is how we get rid of weight, how do we get the power to be intelligent, manageable to the road using the least fuel that we can get away with," said Iain Balfour, Jaguar spokesman.

There's been a performance war of late among luxury car builders with horsepower figures that weren't dreamed of a few years ago.

Yes, it is possible to have a powerful car that doesn't get horrible gas mileage. Jaguar is proud to point out that the supercharged XFR is the car in its class that isn't subject to a federal gas-guzzler penalty and yet it makes 500 horsepower.

So for now, these powerful cars are playing nice within government regulations, achieving 15 mpg in the city and 21 on the highway.

As for Cadillac, it's trying to stay competitive with powerful cars too, even in what's been a really tough year for parent company GM.

If you have the money, there's a pumped-up version of the CTS Sedan called the V-Series. Its supercharged V8 makes over 550 horsepower.

The majority of CTS buyers will prefer the more frugal nature of the V6, which seems more poised to deal with stricter standards in the coming years.

The future may be up in the air for high-powered luxury cars, but most brands seem up to the challenge.

"The future is different, but not bleak," said Balfour.


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