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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.
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.
BMW will release a new special edition 335i, thanks to the high demand for the quick selling M3 Frozen Black Edition. The 335i Performance Edition will feature a boost in power and some distinguishing features.
BMW has announced an additional 20-hp and an extra 32 lb-ft of torque added to the standard model’s 300-hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. With the power boost, the BMW will be able to achieve a quicker 0-62 mph time of 5.3 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the stock 335i model.
Aesthetic differences will include black kidney grills and a “Performance Edition” badge. The Performance Edition 335i will also borrow interior trim from the M-Sport package 3-series. The 335i Performance Edition will be available in August and will cost an extra $550 price because of the performance upgrades.
Stay tuned for more info!
[Source: Top Speed]
Alpina is an interesting BMW tuner, taking run-of-the-mill BMWs and transforming them directly on the BMW assembly line. In some markets, like here in Southern California, you can walk into your local BMW dealership and see a (grossly inflated) Alpina vehicle on the showroom floor. The company’s resume extends from 3-Series E21 to E90, 5-Series E12 to E60/61, 6-Series E24 to E63/64, 7-Series E32 to E65/66, and even the 8-Series E31. Oh yeah, they like to dabble with the Z1, Z4 and Z8 roadsters too.
Now naturally since Alpina sells full automobiles rather than just tuning packages, their end product better be impressive. They claim the new B3 S sports 400-hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque, a 33.33-percent increase from the factory 300/300 figures. They don’t really elaborate on how these figures are achieved, but if we had to guess it’s pretty simple through an ECU upgrade that tosses in (safely of course) more boost and fuel to the 3.0L inline-six twin-turbo. Oh, and apparently the increased horsepower and torque comes with a side-effect of lowered emissions. We’re pretty sure that’s just negated though since you’ll just be more tempted to romp on the throttle.
On the exterior is a front spoiler and a new rear diffuser, both sporting very traditional Alpina styling. Their Classic alloy wheel gets a new treatment as seen on their previously released B7.
Currently the offering is only available in the U.K. and this isn’t just available for the coupes and convertibles, they’ve got a similar package for the E90 sedan.
Official press release available after the break.
GALLERY: Alpina BMW B3 S