Due to the varying performance and costs of sports cars today, a gas mileage guide can sometimes be helpful for determining operating costs of a potential new car. While high performance sports and muscle cars do tend to get slightly better mileage than the sports cars of the past, sports car efficiency very rarely matches that of a basic commuter vehicle. Despite this fact, it can still be enlightening to look at the varying range of mileage figures that extend across the current high performance vehicle range.
Generally speaking, sports car gas mileage is least favorably reflected in vehicles with a larger number of cylinders. Commonly available sports cars with a larger number of cylinders include many domestic offerings such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Charger, as well as a few Japanese offerings such as the Nissan GTR and Lexus IS-F. 2010 EPA mileage figures for these models range from approximately 14mpg City, and 20mpg Highway for the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, to 14mpg City and 22mpg Highway for the 6.1L 8 cylinder Dodge Charger. The V-8 Lexus IS-F shows similar results, with City and Highway mileage checking in at 16 and 23mpg respectively, while the V-6, twin turbocharged Nissan GTR nearly matches these figures with mileage ratings of 16 and 21mpg for city and highway. To round out figures for the high performance sports car crowd, BMW’s M3 returns some of the lowest EPA fuel economy figures, with city and highway mileage coming in at 14 and 20mpg, tying for last with the Lexus IS-F.
V-6 powered sports cars from the Nissan marquee give slightly better fuel economy figures than their more expensive V-8 powered rivals, with both the 350Z and 370Z consuming 18 and 25mpg for city and highway usage. The 2010 Subaru Impreza returns similar figures with its 2.5L four-cylinder model, with city mileage and highway mileage of 18 and 25mpg. These two vehicles return similar mileage figures due to their similar power figures, despite a displacement difference of about 1.2 L and 2 cylinders. For some of the best fuel consumption figures, the Honda Civic SI gives reasonable power output of just over 200 horsepower, while only consuming 21 and 29mpg for city and highway mileage.
The problem with sports cars is that in actual use, their fuel economy rarely matches projected outcomes. While this is partially due to the differences between real world driving and the unrealistic testing methods used by the EPA, the biggest reason for these differences lies in how a sports car is generally driven. To make the most of a sports car, the driver will generally be far more liberal with the accelerator, and this in turn can reduce fuel economy to a low as single digits. When purchasing a sports car, fuel economy may not be the best specification to base your purchase on. Sports cars are made to be driven and enjoyed, and when used as such, fuel economy can suffer drastically, with returns often in the single digits or low teens, making EPA mileage figures largely useless.