Performance cars promise fun, modest pain at pump

DAVID RUNK Associated Press Published:

DETROIT (AP) -- Automakers are unveiling a bevy of performance cars in Detroit, sending the message that people still want to have fun when they drive.

The cars include the Corvette Z06, a trio of BMWs, a souped-up Volkswagen Golf and a new high-performance small SUV from Mercedes-Benz.

A recovery in discretionary income is giving consumers reason to spend more on cars. And despite occasional spikes, gas prices have averaged around $3.50 to $3.60 nationwide during the past three years, a level that more drivers have grown accustomed to.

Fuel efficiency and price are major considerations for buyers, but the improving economy is reinvigorating the high-powered market. And a common theme among performance cars at the North American International Auto Show is that power doesn't have to mean pain at the gas pump.