2009 Fall Auto Guide
auto
Top 10 gas guzzlers: Exotics rule

One might expect full-size pickup trucks and SUVs to dominate a top-10 list of the least fuel-efficient vehicles, but that's not the case.

Of the vehicles on this list of the worst gas guzzlers on the road today -- compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency -- only two are SUVs, and only the Mercedes-Benz G55 can be considered full size. The rest of the guzzlers are super high-end exotics.

Bentley contributes the most models here. Hidden among the Arnage Series and Continental Series are 12 model derivations that include sedans, coupes, convertibles and limited editions. We have arranged these and the two Maybach models into groups to make the list more inclusive.

The yardstick used in compiling the 10 worst guzzlers is the Environmental Protection Agency's estimated city and highway miles per gallon. You can check out all vehicles and their EPA ratings at www.fueleconomy.gov.

1. Lamborghini Murcielago LP640: The Gas Guzzler Tax (see note below) alone on this car is $6,400 and brings the total sticker to $362,400. Some would say that's a small price to pay for a car that will catapult you to 60 miles per hour from a stop in just over three seconds. It uses a 6.5-liter, V-12 engine to pump out 632 horsepower -- enough to propel the Murcielago to a top speed of 211 miles per hour.
Mileage: 8 mpg city/13 mpg highway

2. Bentley Arnage Series: Helping to inflate the base price of the entry-level Arnage to $232,085 is its $4,500 Gas Guzzler Tax. It uses a 6.75-liter, twin-turbo V-8 for its power, developing 500 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission feeds power to the rear wheels of this four-door car.
Mileage: 10 mpg city/14 mpg highway

3. Ferrari 612 Scaglietti: Capable of transporting four adults, the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti will set you back a measly $319,588. It is also a member of the $4,500 Gas-Guzzler-Tax club. Able to launch to 60 miles per hour in just over four seconds, it uses a 5.7-liter, V-12 to spit out 532 horsepower. The Scaglietti's top speed approaches 200 miles per hour.
Mileage: 9 mpg city/16 mpg highway

4. Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Although not fuel friendly in any of its guises, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 makes this list thanks to the fuel needs of its 420-horsepower, 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 combined with the weight of its all-wheel-drive platform. Able to dash to 60 miles per hour in just five seconds, it can cover a lot of distance -- on road or off -- in a hurry. It's also the relative bargain on this list at $43,745.
Mileage: 11 mpg city/14 mpg highway

5. Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG: With all of the aerodynamics of a peach crate, the G55 still manages a zero to 60 mph run in just over five seconds. It takes its power from a 500-horsepower supercharged, 5.5-liter, V-8. Originally engineered as a military vehicle, it is fully off-road capable, yet is stuffed with amenities. Its base price is $120,325.
Mileage: 11 mpg city/15 mpg highway

6. Maybach 57/62: Essentially a stretched version of the Maybach 57, the Maybach 62 shares its mechanicals, including its 543-horsepower, 5.5-liter, V-12 engine. Reaching 60 miles per hour from a stop takes less than six seconds. The 62 version is 17 inches longer than the 57 version and all that extra space winds up as rear-seat legroom. Base price for the Maybach 57 is $365,250.
Mileage: 10 mpg city/16 mpg highway

7. Bentley Continental Series (GT/GTC/Flying Spur): Basically, the GT is the coupe; the GTC is the convertible; and the Flying Spur is the sedan -- all configurations of the Continental. There are also "S" versions of each of these. The least expensive is the GT at $185,495, including the Gas Guzzler Tax. Under the hood lurks Volkswagen's 6.0-liter, V-12 that produces 552 horsepower and zips from zero to 60 in less than five seconds.
Mileage: 10 mpg city/17 mpg highway

8. Aston Martin DB9: The DB9's $184,500 base price includes its 443-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-12 that will slingshot this two-door hardtop from zero to 60 in less than five seconds. There is also a convertible version. Either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission ushers power to the rear wheels.
Mileage: 10 mpg city/17 mpg highway

9. Aston Martin DBS: A DB9 on steroids, the DBS weighs less and possesses a more lethal punch than its tamer sibling. Also powered by a 6-liter, V-12, here it makes 510 horsepower and is capable of making the zero to 60 sprint in just over four seconds. The car of choice for James Bond wannabes, the DBS, at $266,350, also packs a bigger base-price wallop than the DB9.
Mileage: 10 mpg city/17 mpg highway

10. BMW M5: The M5 is legendary among automobile enthusiasts. Its 5-liter, V-10 engine delivers 500 horsepower to the rear wheels via an automated seven-speed transmission. It can reach 60 miles per hour from a stop in less than five seconds. The starting price is $89,325.
Mileage: 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway

Note: Congress established the Gas Guzzler Tax in 1978 to discourage production and purchase of fuel-inefficient vehicles. The tax is assessed on new passenger cars that do not meet required fuel economy levels. The IRS administers the program and collects the taxes from car manufacturers or importers. The amount of tax is posted on the window stickers of new cars -- the lower the fuel economy, the higher the tax.

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