If you're looking for a sports car but can't stomach the fuel bills usually associated with high-horsepower engines, we have news for you: a surprising number of exciting high-performance cars are impressively good on gas. We've rounded up our favorites for car shoppers interested in getting a thrilling drive without spending a fortune on fuel.
Despite a steep base price of nearly $40,000, the TT offers a great choice for car shoppers interested in an exciting driving experience without the traditional accompaniment of massive fuel bills. Its standard 211 horsepower may seem low, but the TT's base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is one of the best in the business thanks to a raucous 258 lb-ft of torque available at just 1,600 rpm. Efficiency-minded car shoppers will also be pleased with the TT thanks to the two-seater's fuel economy ratings of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway - a figure that drops only slightly to 21/29 mpg for buyers who step up to the wild 265-hp TTS.
If you think of the Mustang as a gas-guzzling muscle car, think again. Thanks to a new, technologically advanced standard 3.7-liter V6, the pony car combines a muscular 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque with 30 mpg in highway driving and nearly 20 mpg in the city. Mustang buyers can proudly skip Ford's raucous V8 and stick with the V6, since even the most basic trim levels offer tremendous performance, including 0-to-60-mph times of less than six seconds. The Mustang also boasts attractive pricing, with base coupe models starting at $23,105 and convertibles priced from $28,105 including destination.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Hyundai's sporty Genesis Coupe comes in two enticing flavors, both of which offer muscular engines and stellar fuel economy. Base Genesis 2.0T models, which start at around $25,000 including destination, tout 274 hp and fuel economy figures of more than 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The sporty Genesis V6 starts under $30,000 and - despite producing a whopping 348 hp - is capable of achieving up to 18 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway. While those numbers alone make the rear-wheel-drive Genesis Coupe attractive, we're also taken by the model's long list of standard equipment, which includes Bluetooth, automatic headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel audio controls and remote keyless entry.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
The MX-5 Miata is possibly the best available sports car for buyers interested in mating an exciting driving experience with stellar fuel economy. Acceleration isn't jaw-dropping, but it's certainly brisk: 60 mph comes in less than seven seconds from a standing stop thanks to the standard 167-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. But the MX-5 Miata's major selling point is its go-kart-like handling, which becomes evident from the moment it's first asked to go around a corner. Best of all, the droptop achieves an EPA-rated 28 mpg on the highway and more than 20 mpg in the city, regardless of whether buyers choose the standard manual or the optional automatic transmission.
The recently released Mercedes SLK250 provides a luxurious experience for car shoppers interested in a fuel-efficient new sports car. Despite offering just 201 hp, the SLK250 feels quick and agile thanks to turbocharged power delivery, a sporty suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels. The hardtop convertible also boasts 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, made possible by a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission that effortlessly transfers power to the rear wheels. Also included in the SLK250's base price of $43,375 with shipping is a long list of standard equipment, ranging from rain-sensing wipers and Bluetooth to remote keyless entry and power seats with driver memory.
It has been a long wait, but the highly publicized Scion FR-S is finally on sale, rewarding patient car shoppers with a sporty coupe that doesn?t cost a fortune to fill up. According to the EPA, FR-S models equipped with an optional six-speed automatic transmission achieve up to 25 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, while the standard six-speed manual transmission offers 22/30 mpg. With a starting price of $24,930 including destination, the FR-S is also relatively inexpensive to buy, making the latest addition to Scion's lineup a great choice for car enthusiasts on a budget.
What it means to you: Thanks to major advancements in engine technology, buyers can have a good driving experience and good fuel economy now more than ever before.