Top 10 Luxury Cars Under $35,000

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

Paradoxically, automotive luxury brands are reaching downmarket to lure new customers and that means you win.

In fact, it’s pretty easy to find 10 cars under the $35,000 mark. Sure, a few of these cars seem to be lacking those luxury-defining features, but what can you expect for the price? Our list of the best luxury cars under $35,000 is in order of most expensive to most affordable, and all prices include destination.

Previously known as the G37 Sedan, the 2015 Q40 premium sport sedan is offered with an advanced 328-horsepower VQ37HR 3.7-liter V6 engine matched with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The Q40 is a re-named version of the old Infiniti G37. With a base price of $34,885 the Q40 costs $3,200 less than the new Q50. Powered by the same 3.7-liter V6 engine as the newer car, the Q40 makes 328 hp, which is sent to the rear-wheels via a seven speed automatic transmission.

With standard features like power seats, leather upholstery, a push-button ignition and a rear-view camera, the Infiniti Q40 is one of the better-appointed cars on this list.

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

The Mercedes GLA-Class is a new model for the German brand introduced for the 2015 model year. It drives on the same platform as the CLA-Class and features much of the same running gear. That means it has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, paired to a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that makes 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That power gets sent to all four wheels through a front-biased all-wheel drive system.

See Also: Five-Point Inspection: 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4MATIC

It comes standard with bit 18-inch wheels and chrome roof rails and inside there’s a big 5.8-inch infotainment screen. Costing just a few hundred dollars under $35,000, this Mercedes sports a solid engine and exterior design, but little else.

Cadillac’s sport sedan really caught the world’s attention. With slick styling and great driving dynamics the ATS also has a low sticker price. Well, that’s a half-truth. If you opt for the lowly 2.5-liter equipped model, you get a limited list of standard features.

See Also: 2013 Cadillac ATS 2.5L Review

Still, $33,990 gets you into a rear-wheel drive car with sporty suspension and a dual-zone automatic climate control system. If you want more, the low price allows you to check off an option box or two before cresting the $35,000 mark.

The 320i is the most affordable 3 Series in BMW’s lineup, but still sports the basics that make BMW’s so much fun to drive. It features a sporty rear-wheel drive drivetrain layout and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s the least powerful 3 Series, making just 180 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque out of its 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine.

See Also: 2014 BMW 320i Review

Still, it’s not totally stripped down. It features automatic climate control and rain-sensing windshield wipers. And if you’re too embarrassed to show up at the local BMW club-meet because of your bargain-basement priced Bimmer, you can just remove the badges and fit right in.

The new Audi Q3 is a small crossover that competes head-to-head with the Mercedes GLA. Basically it’s the closest thing to an A3 hatchback on stilts. With a 200-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the Q3 manages a 0-60 mph sprint of 7.8 seconds.

When it comes to features, the Q3 comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable heated leather front seats and keyless ignition. There are even more standard convenience and styling features, but overall the Q3’s combination of performance, size, space and value make it one of the best picks on this list.

BMW’s most affordable car is also one of its most entertaining. Sporting a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, this rear-wheel drive coupe is the best driver’s car in this list.

SEE ALSO: Five Point Inspection Video 2015 BMW 228i

But there’s a catch. This cheap coupe is really lacking standard features. Rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights and automatic climate control are the freebies and almost everything else is an optional (costly) extra.

Is there really a Lexus hybrid under $33,000? You betcha, and it’s a real fuel miser. Rated to get 42 MPG combined, the CT200h is easily the most fuel friendly car on this list thanks to its 134-hp gas-electric powertrain and 3,130-lb. curb weight.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Lexus CT200h vs Acura ILX Hybrid

Although it comes with faux-leather seating, dual-zone climate control and a standard moon roof, the CT200h also offers a number of optional extras. The bottom line though, is if you’re looking for an affordable luxury car with low running costs, the CT200h is what you want.

2015 Acura TLX Exterior V6 SH-AWD.

At just under $32,000 the Acura TLX sports a great entry price for a mid-sized luxury sedan. As one of the bigger vehicles on this list, the TLX will be popular for those looking for practicality along with luxury. The base model TLX uses a direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 206 hp. That engine is mated to a slick new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that also has a torque converter for smoother starts off the line.

See Also: 2015 Acura TLX Review

Standard equipment in the TLX includes a dual-zone automatic climate control system, push-button ignition, leatherette trimmed sport-seats, power and heated front seats, moon roof and a rear-view camera. While Acura isn’t seen as a luxury automaker on the same tier as BMW and Mercedes, there’s no doubt that the Acura TLX offers a ton of content and style at a low price.

Let’s be honest here, who actually would have guessed that the most affordable BMW is not a car, but the X1 crossover? Well, maybe calling it a crossover is a bit generous; the X1 is more like a raised wagon. But it still comes with top-notch BMW hardware like a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 240 hp. That engine is paired to an eight-speed automatic. The base model that comes in at $31,850 powers the rear wheels only.

SEE ALSO: 2013 BMW X1 Review

But BMW saves all the goodies for themselves. The X1 sDrive28i comes with few true luxuries, even sporting the rough SensaTec seat fabric. At least you get automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers and spiffy looking chrome exhaust tips.

Two vehicles share the title of cheapest luxury car: the Mercedes CLA 250 and Audi A3. Compact luxury rivals, we’ve had the pleasure of comparing the two in all-wheel drive guises. The base models, found for just under $31,000 are front-wheel drive only, but still come with sporty dual-clutch transmissions.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 vs Audi A3

The most affordable Audi A3 comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that makes 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. That’s mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. It comes standard with leather seating, power panoramic roof, power driver’s seat, Audi’s pre sense basic safety system and a rain/light sensor that activates the headlights and windshield wipers when needed.

In comparison, the CLA 250 sports a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that makes 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Paired to that engine is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, pre-collision assist, 7-inch infotainment screen, and a choice of MB-Tex leatherette or no cost ash black leather upholstery.

While both of these cars are realtively affordable, our testing in the past has found the A3 to feel more luxurious and premium compared to the Mercedes CLA-Class, although the CLA certainly looks like a much pricier car. If you’re looking for an easy way into either brand, these cars will deliver the ownership experience you’re looking for without you spending more than $31,000.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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4 of 16 comments
  • Nattymbs320 Nattymbs320 on Dec 11, 2014

    Well i guess GUY like you suddenly gone dumb...Now i'm waiting for your response to the question you asked...I copy and paste it right below ,now i hope you can ..UNDERSTAND ENGLISH...cause that what its done in....ACURA TLX 2.4 with tech package FULLY LOADED....$46,353.... By the way its not close to 40k!!...its in fact MUCH closer to 50K than 40k...

  • Nattymbs320 Nattymbs320 on Dec 12, 2014

    You say it was.. NOT ..POSSIBLE...FOR THE TLX 2.4 to exceed ..40k....that was what you said,i went to Acura website and build the car TLX 2.4 with the tech pkg and copy and paste it for you to see ...Fully loaded....$46,353....I DIDN'T SAY.... i would buy one for that price but i guess you understand is possible for it to cost over 40k....As proven it can cost as high as $46,353....Comprehend????... .

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    • Calvin L Miller Jr Calvin L Miller Jr on Dec 12, 2014

      One more thing. You are being irrational and that makes it impossible to agree. Thus the comment about being an adult. I've go into debates with plenty of goobers and black dynamites but at least you can tell when they are just trolling. If in 99 cars in a 250 mile search[including Austin, San Antonio, and Houston] I cant find a car like you have it optioned clearly it shows not even inventory managers at dealership's would bring a car with that much crap on it.