Does anyone really think a 21-mpg BMW 328i is a fuel-efficient vehicle? Apparently Jim Henry of BusinessWeek does.

Henry has written an article that tries to make the point that drivers with fat wallets don't need to "sacrifice driving performance for fuel efficiency." That's a fine case to try and make, but when Henry starts his article by finding that "A list of the most fuel-efficient luxury-brand models includes some impeccably prestigious, comfortable, and well-performing cars," methinks he's been going about his task all wrong.

Seems to me that the right way to write an article on the topic of fuel efficiency and driving performance is to look at high-mpg cars, and then find the ones that might be considered luxurious. Sure, you might end up with the same cars (Henry includes the hybrid Lexus RX 400h, the diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec (pictured), and the Porsche Cayman and another dozen or so more as meeting his green-but-golden criteria), but at least your focus was on the fuel savings, not on ways to shoehorn a green label onto luxury cars. Granted, we like to write about some of these same cars here on AutoblogGreen because they showcase the efforts (such as they are) by automakers to increase efficiency, but to flat-out call them fuel-efficient? Hmm.

In any case, when you're talking about these luxury buyers, good mileage isn't a concern. Henry writes that a source confirmed for him that "luxury buyers in particular, continue to be much more concerned with factors such as the manufacturer's reputation or whether a vehicle is well made and fun to drive. Fuel economy is far down the list."

[Source: BusinessWeek]

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