By Kelsey Mays on March 31, 2014
Want a luxury car without having to pay for premium gas? We can't blame you. As of March 21, a gallon of premium averaged $3.87 nationwide, according to AAA. That's 35 cents more than a gallon of the cheap stuff. Drive 15,000 miles a year at 25 mpg, and the premium, er, premium adds up to $210.
Luxury brands often charge extra — sometimes absurd amounts — for premium extravagances, and gas is no exception. Most luxury-car owners are accustomed to paying extra for premium fuel, which higher-compression engines often prefer. Still, most engines today can adapt ignition timing to account for less-than-premium gasoline at a slight cost to performance. That's why makers of many luxury cars that take premium gas merely recommend it for full power. Unless yours requires it — something that relatively few stipulate, even in the luxury crowd — you won't damage the engine by filling up with 87-octane.
But what if you want a luxury car that makes all its advertised power without any premium preference? We talked to company representatives, combed through specs and downloaded more owners manuals than we can count. And yes, we found a handful of luxury cars that actually recommend the cheap stuff.
Here they are:
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey