Greener Luxury Cars, and Not Just Hybrids

Mercedes and Lexus hybrids each have impressive qualities, but the BMW 7 Seriesto which Americans' access will be limitededges them out
clockwise from top left: The Lexus GS450h, BMW 7-Series, and the new Mercedes S-Class hybrid

Daimler's diminutive Smart car is a global hit and BMW's Mini has redefined the sporty small car, but the fact is that luxury carmakers remain deeply skeptical that their hard-core customers are really willing to downsize. Instead, automakers are doing their best to drive down fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in the same plush, roomy, make-way-I'm-coming-through vehicles to which luxury buyers are accustomed. "A vow of poverty is not the solution," says Friedrich Eichiner, the BMW management board member responsible for corporate and brand development.

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