10 Most Popular Luxury Cars

Christian Wardlaw | Sep 24, 2016

2016 Mercedes-Benz C350E photo

More expensive and exclusive than mainstream models, luxury cars are about wants rather than needs, and about image rather than utility. If you're planning an upgrade to a premium car, this buyer's guide provides details about the 10 most popular* luxury cars in America, including pricing; quality, reliability, and appeal ratings; fuel economy; safety ratings; and cargo volume.

*Popularity based on calendar-year sales through July 2016

10) Audi A3 (19,622 sales)

2016 Audi A3 Sedan photo

Serving as the entry-level car in Audi’s lineup, the A3 is available in convertible, hatchback, and sedan body styles. Depending on the body style, three turbocharged engine offerings are available, combined with front-wheel or all-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Hatchbacks are exclusively paired with Audi’s plug-in hybrid powertrain technology, which supplies up to 16 miles of pure-electric driving range and 204 combined horsepower.

Base Price—$31,825
Initial Quality—3 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—4 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—23/33
Fuel Economy Rating for Plug-in Hybrid—83 MPGe
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars*
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”*
Cargo Volume (A3 Sedan)—12.3 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (A3 Cabriolet)—9.9 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (A3 Sportback)—13.6 cu. ft.**

*Rating applies only to sedan; Convertible and hatchback have not been tested
**Audi does not provide a measurement with the rear seat folded down

9) Lexus IS (20,560 sales)

2016 Lexus IS 200t F Sport photo

Aggressively styled, the Lexus IS is designed to be an entry-luxury sport sedan. It is offered with a turbocharged 4-cylinder or a V-6 engine combined with rear-wheel drive, or with a detuned version of the V-6 engine and all-wheel drive. The F Sport option package helps the IS to live up to its sporting potential.

Base Price—$38,300
Initial Quality—Not rated
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—Not rated
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—19/33
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Testing incomplete
Cargo Volume—10.8 cu. ft.

8) Mercedes-Benz E-Class (20,995 sales)

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class photo

With its E-Class range of mid-level luxury automobiles, Mercedes-Benz supplies a coupe, convertible, sedan, and station wagon equipped with a range of turbocharged 4-cylinder, V-6, and V-8 engines. All-wheel drive is available, and both the sedan and wagon can benefit from available AMG performance tuning. The most affordable and efficient model has a diesel engine.

Base Price—$53,575
Initial Quality—Not rated
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—Not rated
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—15/42
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—4 Stars*
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”*
Cargo Volume (E-Class Sedan)—12.9 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (E-Class Coupe)—13.3 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (E-Class Convertible)—11.5 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (E-Class Wagon)—29.0-57.4 cu. ft.

*Rating applies only to sedan and wagon; Coupe and convertible were either not tested (NHTSA) or testing is incomplete (IIHS)

7) BMW 4 Series (21,462 sales)

2016 BMW M4 GTS photo

When buying a BMW 4 Series, you will choose between a coupe, convertible, and a 5-door hatchback called the Gran Coupe. A turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is standard, with a turbocharged 6-cylinder an optional upgrade. All-wheel drive is available, while BMW’s M performance tuning is available only for the M4 Coupe and M4 Convertible.

Base Price—$42,945*
Initial Quality—3 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—5 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—17/35
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—Not rated
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not rated
Cargo Volume (4 Series Coupe)—15.7 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (4 Series Convertible)—13.1 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (4 Series Gran Coupe)—17.0-45.9 cu. ft.

*Pricing is for the 2017 models

6) Acura TLX (22,037 sales)

2016 Acura TLX photo

In 2015, the Acura TLX sedan debuted as a replacement for both the TL and TSX models. Sized and specified more like the old TSX, but available with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system like the old TL, the TLX provides a choice between a 4-cylinder and a V-6 engine, and front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

Base Price—$32,635
Initial Quality—3 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—3 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—21/35 mpg
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume—14.3 cu. ft.

5) Infiniti Q50 (23,059 sales)

2016 Infiniti Q50 photo

Updated for 2016, the Infiniti Q50 is larger than a traditional entry-luxury sedan but smaller than a typical mid-luxury model. It comes with a choice between a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a V-6 engine, and a gas-electric hybrid model is also available. No matter the powertrain, Infiniti will swap out the rear-wheel drive for all-wheel drive. Depending on what’s under the hood, the Q50 comes in standard, Premium, Sport, and Red Sport 400 trim levels.

Base Price—$34,855
Initial Quality—Not rated
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—Not rated
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—19/34
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—Testing incomplete
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Testing incomplete
Cargo Volume (Q50)—13.2 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (Q50 Hybrid)—9.4 cu. ft.

4) BMW 5 Series (23,578 sales)

2016 BMW 535i xDrive photo

BMW’s midsize luxury sport sedan and its odd 5-door hatchback derivative are known as the 5 Series Sedan and the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Turbocharged engines with 4, 6, or 8 cylinders are available, and buyers can swap rear-wheel drive for all-wheel drive. The 5 Series Sedan is also available with a turbodiesel engine, gas-electric hybrid drivetrain, and in performance-massaged M5 format.

Base Price—$51,195
Initial Quality—3 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—3 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—4 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—14/38
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume (5 Series Sedan)—18.4 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (5 Series Hybrid)—13.2 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (5 Series Gran Turismo)—17.7-60 cu. ft.

3) Lexus ES (33,390 sales)

2016 Lexus ES 350 photo

Because it starts at less than $40,000, the Lexus ES is often assumed to be smaller than larger in size. After all, luxury car convention has customers paying more for bigger vehicles. In reality, the ES shares a platform with the full-size Toyota Avalon, giving it a large interior. A V-6 engine is standard, and Lexus offers a gas-electric hybrid powertrain as an option.

Base Price—$39,075
Initial Quality—Not rated
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—Not rated
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—21/39
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars
IIHS Crash Test Rating—“Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume (ES)—15.2 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (ES Hybrid)—12.1 cu. ft.

2) BMW 3 Series (39,775 sales)

2016 BMW 3 Series photo

BMW’s iconic 3 Series is offered in sedan, station wagon, and Gran Turismo body styles, the latter a tall-riding 5-door hatchback. Turbocharged 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines are available, paired with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. A turbodiesel engine is offered, as well as an M3 performance variant and a plug-in hybrid version with a claimed 14 miles of pure-electric driving range.

Base Price—$34,445
Initial Quality—4 PCRs
Predicted Reliability—2 PCRs
Overall Vehicle Appeal—4 PCRs
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—17/42
Fuel Economy Rating for Plug-in Hybrid—72 MPGe
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars*
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Not a “Top Safety Pick”
Cargo Volume (3 Series Sedan)—17 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (3 Series Plug-in Hybrid)—13.0 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (3 Series Gran Turismo)—18.4-56.5 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (3 Series Wagon)—17.5-53.0 cu. ft.

*Rating does not apply to 330e Plug-in Hybrid model, which has not been tested

1) Mercedes-Benz C-Class (43,579 sales)

2016 Mercedes-Benz C350E photo

For many people, Mercedes-Benz ownership signals success and serves as a reward for a job well done. No wonder then that the C-Class, one of the most affordable Mercedes models, is the best-selling luxury car in America. A range of turbocharged 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, and 8-cylinder engines are available; the latter are reserved for the AMG performance-tuned versions of the car. All-wheel drive is an option, and a plug-in hybrid variant supplies 20 miles of pure-electric driving range.

Base Price—$39,875
Initial Quality—Not rated
Predicted Reliability—Not rated
Overall Vehicle Appeal—Not rated
Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)—18/34
Fuel Economy Rating for Plug-in Hybrid—Not yet rated
NHTSA Crash Test Rating—5 Stars*
IIHS Crash Test Rating—Testing incomplete
Cargo Volume (E-Class)—12.6 cu. ft.
Cargo Volume (E-Class Plug-in Hybrid)—11.8 cu. ft.

*Rating does not apply to C350e Plug-in Hybrid model, which has not been tested
 

 

Explore new car previews
2020 BMW 7 Series Preview
2020 BMW 7 Series Preview
With BMW’s new X7 arriving to cap the company’s SUV lineup, the automaker is freshening its corresponding 7 Series flagship sedan for the 2020 model year.
Read the full review
2019 Ram Heavy Duty Preview
2019 Ram Heavy Duty Preview
Instantly familiar, especially when viewed from the rear, the new Ram HD is a heavily upgraded old Ram HD, with new frames, axles, drivetrain components, styling and interior changes, and more.
Read the full review
2020 Toyota Supra Preview
2020 Toyota Supra Preview
Developed in partnership with BMW, the 2020 Toyota Supra is set to debuts in the summer of 2019. It is a cousin to the recently introduced third-generation BMW Z4.
Read the full review
Read all articles


New Car Preview
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Preview
Most Dependable
2018 Vehicle Dependability Study: Most Dependable Luxury Cars
Most Popular
10 Most Popular Hatchbacks and Wagons
New Model Update
New for 2019: Dodge
New Car Preview
2020 Hyundai Palisade Preview
More related
articles
Compare 0 of 3