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Like an empty toothpaste tube BMW is throwing away one of its most respected vehicles. The sporty and sophisticated 3 Series Coupe is not long for this world. But do not despair my fellow automotive enthusiasts, they’re replacing it with something very compelling… the all-new 2014 4 Series.
Crossovers and family sedans make up a huge part of the automotive market. These sensible, everyday vehicles are safe, spacious and efficient; in short they’re perfect for families, be them planned or… not. But for all their merits these cars are about as much fun as counting grains of sugar in a five-pound bag.
A Battle of Five Luxury Sports Sedans
The compact luxury sedan market is an interesting place. When designing a new entry, manufacturers are constantly trying to find the perfect balance between sport and luxury. Although most cars end up skewed one way than the other, these vehicles typically offer a plethora of trims and options that allow potential customers to tailor their rides with as much sport or luxury as they want.
Given a choice, we’d select maximum sport. We’d rather evaluate a car’s ability to clip an apex than by how coddled our mothers-in-law feel in the passenger seat. What better way to do this than collect a group of the latest and greatest offerings and see which one is the best? Now, we aren’t talking about the ultimate in sport luxury sedans like a C63, M3 or IS-F as they can get quite pricey. Instead, we have grabbed a more affordable group of contenders playing around the $50,000 mark.
First we sent an invite out to Cadillac. The all-new ATS seriously impressed us since coming out last year; it was a car of the year finalist after all. Next, we brought along the BMW 3 Series. If we are going to be testing luxury sport sedans, how could we not bring the vehicle that has defined the class for decades? While on the topic of German sedans, we also had to include a Mercedes-Benz and an Audi. Finally, to complete our quintuplet of test vehicles, there’s an oddball, the Volvo S60. Now, before you cry foul that the S60 is not a sports sedan, take a look at what we grabbed; the 325 hp S60 T6 R-Design.
A FEW CONTENDERS ARE AWOL
There are a few notable vehicles missing from this comparison test. Lexus didn’t have an all new IS ready for us, nor did Infiniti the all-new Q50 or Lincoln the MKZ. Finally, the Acura TL was left out because, although a great car, it is too large for this class of vehicle (a foot longer than most of the competitors here).
With the cars collected, pencils sharpened and score sheets firmly attached to clipboards, it was time to put these cars through their paces and see which is best.
Which M3 Should Head to the Crusher?
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
Contrary to Dunkin’ Donuts’ slogan, America actually runs gasoline, not deep-fried pastries. The dessert peddler may fuel people with freshly brewed coffee and lots of sugar, but when it comes to getting from point “A” to point “B” petrol is just about the only game in town. Giving drivers some much needed diversity in their fuel diets BMW is launching several new diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S.
Welcome to the first installment of “Ask AutoGuide!” a brand-new weekly feature where we help you find the right new car or truck. Think of it as internet community service, our way of giving back to the loyal people who share so much with us. Best of all the advice comes from the heart since it’s not court-ordered and we don’t have to check in with a parole officer.
German luxury will soon rub elbows with the upper crust of mainstream vehicle buyers, opening new doors on both sides of the market.