10 Most Searched Luxury Cars
MSN Autos readers have spoken, and here are your favorite luxury cars.
After a frosty couple of years, the luxury car market is beginning to heat up once again. In fact, it is bouncing back faster than any other automobile category, as consumers slowly claw their way out of one of the darkest economic times in recent history. Even so, financial analysts say those living in the posh lane aren't spending frivolously. Like the vast majority of consumers these days, luxury car buyers are being more cautious, looking to wring maximum value from every dollar spent. Nowhere is that more apparent than in our list of the 10 most-researched luxury vehicles on MSN Autos. It's important to note that this list includes only cars — luxury utility vehicles are in a separate category.
While MSN Autos readers tend to lean toward high-value sedans that sell for as little as $31,000, such as the Audi A4, Cadillac CTS and Hyundai Genesis, they also seem to favor the more traditional luxury brands over the upstarts. Mercedes-Benz and BMW dominate the list, grabbing six of the 10 spots.
Enough of the preliminaries; here are your choices for the top 10 luxury vehicles featured on MSN Autos.
1. BMW 3-Series
Sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon — with so many choices, and such a hard-won reputation for excellence, it's no wonder that the BMW 3-Series sparks more MSN Autos research than any other luxury car. Those Web shoppers will be faced with the perennial 3-Series dilemma: The BMW can cost more than any rival, especially if you ladle on pricey options or choose the 335i with its turbocharged 300-horsepower inline six engine. The 328i and its 240-horsepower six can keep the budget in check, while the diesel-powered 335d is the fuel-sipping champ. And if you're on the fence, the 3-Series' class-topping performance and residual value — along with four years/50,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance — might tip the balance.
2. Cadillac CTS
With apologies to Lincoln, it's not really a contest: The Cadillac CTS is Detroit's best luxury sedan, offering style, performance and interior refinement on par with anything from Europe or Asia. The angular, all-American CTS lines have translated smartly to a sport wagon and now a handsome coupe. All are powered by a smoothie of a V6 engine — a 3.6-liter with 300 horsepower or a more affordable 3.0-liter with 270 horses. The sedan and wagon, especially, play a comfortable trump card in this class: The Caddys are true midsize cars, nearly as roomy inside as a Mercedes E-Class or BMW 5-Series, yet their prices, starting at around $36,000, skew closer to the compact end of the luxury scale.
Redesigned for 2010, the Mercedes E-Class threw off some country-club reserve with edgier sheet metal and a much-needed transfusion of interior luxury — including a column-mounted shifter, walnut trim and Mercedes' latest COMAND multifunction control system. Most remarkable were virtually unheard-of price cuts, as Mercedes lopped $4,400 off the V6 E350's base price, and $5,100 off the V8 E550. The E-Class is big on smoothness and safety, with 11 airbags and the PRE-SAFE system, which can alert drivers and even automatically brake the car to avoid a collision. The stylish icing came via the new E-Class coupe and convertible, whose windswept shapes seem almost too sexy to wear an E-Class badge.
4. BMW 5-Series
With an all-new 2011 model, the 5-Series has toned down the florid styling that so irritated BMW purists. The 5 also reasserts its authority as the hottest-driving sedan in the midsize segment, despite heady competition from the likes of the Jaguar XF, Audi A6 and Infiniti M. Sharing its stellar chassis with the larger 7-Series, the 5 adopts its brilliant 8-speed automatic transmission and a raft of technologies, from active 4-wheel steering and driver-selected performance controls to a knockout, 10.1-inch high-resolution navigation screen. Engines include a 240-horsepower six in the 528i; a 300-horse turbo six in the 535i; and, for overkill's sake, the crushing twin-turbo 400-horsepower six in the 550i.
What's a Hyundai doing here? Actually, the Genesis is doing very well: a spacious, no-excuses luxury sedan that starts at $33,800 with a 280-horsepower V6 engine and at $40,300 with a forceful 385-horsepower V8. Shoppers researching on MSN Autos can't help but notice that the Hyundai lacks for nothing — in features, engines, safety, technology — yet undercuts rivals' prices by roughly $5,000 to $15,000. The Genesis won't carve turns like a BMW, but plenty of luxury buyers aren't looking to race. The Hyundai is more in the Lexus mold — well-built, lavishly featured and supremely comfortable. And there's nothing wrong with that.