Luxury cars are only for the rich and famous, right?
Maybe once upon a time. But, like the rest of the automotive industry, the upper end of the market is changing rapidly. Even as they pump out bespoke supercars with seven-figure price tags for the global elite, the world’s top automakers haven’t forgotten about the little people. In fact, middle class car buyers with expensive tastes have never had it better.
“Storied automakers and luxury brands know that there’s money to be made in the middle rungs of the car market,” says Harry Kasparian, CMO, HGreg.com. “That’s great news for car buyers whose aspirations outstrip their budgets.”
Here’s a look at six luxury car models that cost way less than you’d expect — and, thanks to perennially low interest rates, are even less burdensome to buy than their price tags suggest.
- Acura ILX
Acura has come a long way from the bad old days of the rickety Legend. Today’s Acuras are every bit as sleek, stylish and performance-oriented as their more expensive German counterparts. Case in point is ILX, which starts at under $28,000 and comes handsomely equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, keyless ignition, leather upholstery, and an impressive digital entertainment system. Plus, it gets up to 35 MPG on the highway.
- Lexus CT200h
This stunning hybrid hatchback manages to blend discretion and pique in a single, vibrant package. For less than $33,000, you get sick alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and a city/highway MPG rating north of 40. Plus, its compact frame is super maneuverable on city streets, in parking garages, at either end of your long driveway — you name it.
- Lincoln MKZ
With a minimum horsepower rating of 200, highway MPG all the way up to 31, a hybrid version, and an MSRP well under $36,000, Lincoln MKZ is a stylish piece of work. Even if you know nothing about cars, you’ve probably seen the now-infamous (in auto marketing circles, at least) “McConaughey spots” on TV. Dude makes a great car salesman, doesn’t he?
- Volvo S60
The Swedes are all about safety, but they’ve been playing the luxury long game lately too. The flagship S60 sedan is a masterclass in refinement, thanks to a silk-soft, 250 HP engine and a stunning infotainment system that’s sure to win over even the most dedicated gearheads. Plus, it’s safe. And it starts under $34,000.
- BMW X1
This compact crossover SUV is actually cheaper than BMW’s entry-level sedan, the venerable 3 Series. If you’re familiar with the X3, you’ll find a lot to love here, albeit in a slightly smaller, more maneuverable package. This is one of the most efficient crossovers on the market, and it starts under $32,000.
- Cadillac ATS
Cadillac’s reinvention continues apace. ATS lacks many of the frills of high-end Caddies of yore, but its in-cabin entertainment system is top of the line, and its precision handling is reminiscent of its German brethren. All this (and more) is yours for less than $34,000.
What affordable luxury car is tops on your wish list?