Rising fuel costs and stricter environmental standards are affecting car selection for everyone, including luxury-car buyers. In 2012, premium auto manufacturers have responded by introducing vehicles that combine eco-friendly features and a more compact size with the typical performance and quality characteristics of luxury brands.
It's a growing trend; high-end cars are going small.
The eco-friendly car was once the domain of budget-conscious or niche buyers. But today, discerning shoppers can find environmentally friendly autos in such cars as the fuel-sipping Lexus hybrid hatchback or high-performance BMW small coupe.
These smaller luxury cars often have lower price points when compared to their standard versions. Many have starting prices of about $30,000. This means some shoppers will have an opportunity to enter the luxury market at an affordable price point.
Here are some 2012 premium compact models that fit that mold of combining eco-friendly features with high-end luxury and performance packaging.