As happened in 1973 due to the OPEC embargo and subsequent gas price increase, the unintended consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a surge in gas prices at the pump.
When you want to cruise in style and avoid the round-the-block lines at Costco for ethanol-free 91, there are excellent luxury sedan options that have power when you want to drop the hammer—and can save fuel.
The executive-class Mercedes is in top contention. The E53 boasts 11.7L/100 km in the city and 8.4L/100 km on the highway. Experienced drivers understand manufacturer’s specs are based on near-perfect conditions and that the real world results will vary slightly.
The inline six has been turbocharged and assisted with hybrid electric assist—it makes 429 hp @ 6,100 rpm and 384 lb-ft @ 1,800-5,800 rpm. It can get off the line from 0-to-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. Paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, that’s a lot of power for cruising city streets and highways.
Adaptive suspension that allows for superior handling. All-wheel-drive via the fourth-gen 4Matic+ system is going to be useful in Canada during our fabulous winters. The 4Matic+ also lets you send 100 percent of power to the rear wheels and it is lighter than torque-vectoring systems used by other manufacturers (ie: Audi, Acura)—which helps with fuel efficiency, when looking at gas prices.
US website Fuelly shows the 2020 E53 notching 9.48L/100 km combined (among a sample size of two cars logging 8,000 miles). That’s respectable enough to believe anyone without a lead foot could equal or surpass that efficiency.
Starting at $95,900 (MSRP), the E53 is a solid choice.
Audi A7 Sportback
The A7 Sportback is a step-down from the E53 in terms of 0-to-100 km/h (5.3s) and horsepower (335 hp). However, it does boast 11.1 L/100 km in the city and 7.8 L/100 km on the highway. Combined, that works out to 9.6 L/100 km.
The A7 utilizes a mild hybrid system alongside a turbocharged V6 engine. It makes a more than respectable 335 HP @ 5200-6400 rpm and torque is 369 lb-ft @ 1370-4500 rpm. The 7-speed S tronic used is based on the double clutch, allowing for faster shifts.
Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system is excellent for all kinds of situations. Moreover, it is a hatchback in luxury sedan clothing. The low ground clearance improves handling,
The A7 starts at $82,000 Canadian, making it an attractive luxury option with more than enough power and comfort.
BMW 750i xDrive Sedan
Tipping the scale with a curb weight of 2141 kilos, the BMW 750i sedan isn’t as fuel efficient as the E53 or A7. BMW Canada’s website lists 12L/100 km combined, but the US version gets 13.83L/100 km in the city and 9.8L/100 km on the highway.
With a fantastic 4.4L twin-turbo V8, this flagship sedan is there for someone who has no interest in PHEV or electric offerings. Certainly, something like a 2022 Lexus LS500 is going to get better fuel efficiency at 10.7L/100 km combined, but isn’t it worth a slight penalty to get a 523 horsepower “Ultimate Driving Machine”?
The lure of BMW comes from the free-spirited autobahns where you can bury the needle without looking over your shoulder. 0-to-100 km/h is achieved in 4.0 seconds and the xDrive system is adept at providing traction in changing conditions.
With a MSRP of $124,054.73 Canadian, you have to pay to play in the BMW 750i. Additional options like the Dynamic Handling Package ($4,500) and Premium Package ($9,750) are available to ameliorate the driving experience.
Gas prices up dramatically
Ultimately, the way pump prices play out is related to geopolitical events, most of which are far outside the control of luxury automotive buyers. For those seeking the exciting thrill of gasoline-powered engines housed within finely-crafted cars, the Mercedes-AMG E53, Audi A7 and BMW 750i are excellent choices for the here and now.
There will be a day when other options may need to be considered—turbocharged inline four-cylinder engines or fully-electric vehicles. Government-mandated fuel-consumption targets will force automakers to compromise and improvise. Something visceral is going to be missing from that equation, however, and that’s why Mercedes, BMW and Audi will continue to have success with their current lineup.