Midsize Luxury Sedan Buyer's Guide
Roomier than small luxury SUVs but not as pricey, thirsty or cumbersome as the big ones, midsize luxury SUVs might be the most well-balanced luxury vehicles of all. Most offer three-row seating for seven, several offer driving dynamics reminiscent of some sport sedans, and four start in the low $40,000 range or lower. All of them, of course, offer the elevated seating position, cargo flexibility and bigger-is-better profile that continue to drive the increasing popularity of SUVs across the industry.
The Next Step in Luxury Makes a Terrific Final Destination.
The average transaction price for an entry-level luxury car is about $40,000 nowadays. The average price for a flagship luxury sedan is closer to $100,000. That's a big gap, and these midsize luxury sedans are here to fill it with an average selling price of around $55,000.
Today's mid-lux lineup is more diverse than ever. Turbocharged 4-cylinder engines are increasingly common, while some models have dropped the V8 altogether. Other trends include all-wheel drive and even hybrid powertrains. Still, the segment remains defined by V6 power and rear-wheel drive.
And while the cars have leaned sportier in recent years, midsize luxury sedans still split the difference between famed drivers' cars like the smaller BMW 3 Series and big cruisers like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
What's New and What's Next
There were plenty of changes for 2016. The 2016 Audi A6 features updated styling tweaks and more power. Lexus's high-performance GS F made its debut, and the 2016 Acura RLX was updated. Other fresh faces in the segment are the new-for-2016 Jaguar XF and the all-new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Not so long ago, virtually every entry in the midsize luxury sedan segment offered available V8 power. But as a result of rising gas prices and improved engine technologies, turbocharged 4-cylinder engines -- unheard of in the segment until recently -- are now about as common as big V8s.
Today's diesel engines are so smooth and quiet that they're an excellent fit for luxury cars. As of right now though, the only midsize luxury sedan available with a turbodiesel is the BMW 5 Series. However, we expect a diesel option will be offered in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class by mid-2017.
If you prefer efficiency of the gas-electric variety, you can get hybrid power in the Acura RLX, BMW 5 Series, Infiniti Q70, and Lexus GS.
In addition to the wide variety of powertrains outlined, each of these models is available with the added traction of all-wheel drive.
The Lexus GS 350 boasts the highest predicted resale value of this group, and was on the podium for one of KBB's most recent 5-Year Cost to Own awards.