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We see you. We see you working your way up the corporate ladder, angling for that corner office. Go get it. But as car people we also know that you want the perfect car that says you’re an executive on the make, someone who’s ready to take charge with class and panache, but who also knows value, luxury, and technology.

You’re in luck: a luxury car under $45,000 brings a lot, and you can get a car that you can roll up to an important meeting that will show you have taste, style, and that will impress the higher-ups if you have to take them to a two-martini lunch or an important coffee date. We think these five will fit the bill. Even better, you can lease one of these cars and not be tied down to it, for when you get that promotion and want to move up to a bigger executive sedan.

The standard: BMW 3 Series

2023 BMW 3 Series front end driving
2023 BMW 3 Series | BMW

You can’t go wrong with a BMW 3 Series. For decades other brands have tried to catch the BMW 3 Series for its mix of luxury and sportiness. They’re cars that say you value some fun in your driving experience as much as you do heated seats, up-to-date tech, and a bit of iconoclastic styling.  

The BMW 330i, the original four door sedan, starts at $43,800. But if you really want to make an impression, check out the 330e. The 330e at $44,900 adds a plug-in hybrid version that adds an electric booster to the 2.0-liter engine and adds some environmentally friendly cred with 75 MPGe according to the EPA.

Mercedes C 300 brings class to this class

A side view of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The Mercedes C 300 Sedan comes packed with tech and Mercedes’ classic design. These cars are simply classy, and though it’s Mercedes’ smallest sedan, it’s not short on room in front or in back. Inside, the 2023 car has a giant screen in the middle with Mercedes’ new double cockpit layout, which makes anyone feel like they’re in command and they make an impression.

The C 300 starts at $4,850 and it has a 48-volt mild hybrid drive, to boot. In the Benz’s case, that doesn’t mean that you can drive in all-electric mode, but it does boost the power of the 2.0-liter turbo engine quite a bit off the line.

Tesla Model 3 the obvious electric choice

A black 2023 Tesla Model 3 with a glass roof has no problems cruising snowy roads.
2023 Model 3 | Tesla

The 2023 Tesla Model 3 isn’t just the best-selling electric car on the market, but the second best-selling car in the U.S. It’s easy to see why. With a base price of $39,990 for the rear-wheel drive version, you get to park a Tesla in your garage. Yes, its styling is starting to get dated, but like other iconic cars, would you update it?

The Model 3 is fairly spartan inside compared to, say, the Mercedes 300, but it has all of the features you’d expect in a car of this price. It should be eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, too. The Model 3 is like the Toyota Camry of entry-level luxury cars in that it’s very good at what it does, but it’s not the standout it was several years ago.

Alfa Romeo Giulia is the sporting alternative

The Alfa cuts a different path, a sporty path, and one that says you’re not afraid to go against the grain. They’re also beautiful inside and out, with high-quality materials, supportive sporty seats, and they’re always a conversation starter. For 2023, the base Giulia has a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic, as well as a potent 280-horsepower motor that will make quick work of any stoplight drag race.

The Giulia starts at $44,280. But it’s likely you’ll have the only one in the parking garage. Even the BMW guys will ask for a ride.

Gensis is the new kid on the block: a true luxury car under $45,000

2023 Genesis G70, our best luxury car of 2023
2023 Genesis G70 | Genesis

There was a time not too long ago when you would have been laughed out of the boardroom for having a fancy Hyundai. But, one ride in a new Genesis G70 and you’ll show that you care about value, but also performance, class, and taking a chance on a brand that is working hard to show it can compete with the established names. That’s a corporate value that many of us want to see, and Genesis is at the forefront. Hyundai is, after all, taking the same approach Honda did with Acura and Toyota with Lexus.

The $39,400 2023 Genesis G70 shows what a brand can do when they really try. It looks good, it goes well with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and it has every option the other cars have, but at a lower price. The bonus to that in our enthusiast’s eyes is that for $4,900 you can get the 3.3-liter V6 that pumps up the power to 365 horsepower, which is far more than any other car on this list.


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