The Cheapest Luxury Cars Actually Worth Buying According to Car and Driver

Luxury cars are a segment known for higher prices. With cushier interior trim materials and premium features, a luxury car is generally considered to be more abundant in the way of creature comforts. In fact, for buyers that want a luxury vehicle but who aren’t trying to spend a six-figure sum, these are the cheapest luxury cars that are still worth buying according to Car and Driver. 

The 2021 Infiniti Q50 starts at $37,625

A red 2021 Infiniti Q50 parked, the Q50 is among KBB's picks for the best affordable luxury cars
2021 Infiniti Q50 | Infiniti

The 2021 Infiniti Q50 is a luxury car made by Nissan’s luxury segment––Infiniti. Car and Driver says that “the Q50 doesn’t boast the sportiest attributes. However, it’s offered with a 300 hp twin-turbo V6 engine as standard equipment. 

There’s also an available 400 hp option. The Infiniti Q50 provides a nice ride. That said, it’s also noted that the interior lacks luxury character and refinement. This model has 13 cubic feet of cargo space. One drawback is that the dual-infotainment screen isn’t the most user friendly by any means. 

The 2021 Genesis G70 starts at $37,025

A red 2021 Genesis G70 driving
2021 Genesis G70 | Genesis

Poised against the BMW 3-Series, the 2021 Genesis G70 is one of the cheapest luxury cars that’s worth buying. According to Car and Driver, the “new sedan’s performance and cheap base price make it a deadly enemy.” The G70 also comes with either a manual or automatic transmission. 

For a few thousand less than $40,000 buyers get 11 cubic feet of cargo space. Plus, there are two engine options. First, the standard 252 hp turbocharged 2.0 liter inline-four. In addition, there’s an available 365 hp twin-turbocharged 3.3 liter V6. Car and Driver notes that the 2021 G70 has a 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.  

The 2021 BMW 2-Series starts at $36,895

Car and Driver also points out the 2021 BMW 2-Series as one of the cheapest luxury cars that’s worth checking out. This one earned praise like “one of the most entertaining to drive,” and offers 10-14 cubic feet of cargo space depending on the specific model. It’s also pointed out that the 2-Series isn’t the cheapest model in BMW’s lineup.  

The 2021 BMW 2-Series base model, the 230i, gets turbocharged power to the rear wheels from a 248 hp 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine. This engine is what Car and Driver calls “eager and willing.” Plus, there’s an available 335 hp turbocharged 3.0 liter inline-six. 

The 2021 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe starts at $36,695

“The BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe is now part of this list thanks to a new front-wheel drive powertrain which comes standard on the sedan. This new option cuts the price of the 2-Series Gran Coupe by $2000”

Car and Driver

Buyers of both the all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive models will end up with a 2021 BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe equipped with a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder. This engine gets up to 228 hp. 

This is one on the list of the cheapest luxury cars that are worth buying, offering superior cargo space of 15 cubic feet. Interestingly, the 2021 2-Series Gran Coupe is an entirely different car than the 2-Series convertible or coupe. It’s a sedan that actually shares a platform with the Mini.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-class starts at $34,700

2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan parked in a garage
2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class | Mercedes-Benz

With a 188 hp turbocharged 2.0 liter inline-four and nine cubic feet of cargo space, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class is the most petite Benz in the current lineup. In addition to that, the A-Class is also the least expensive Mercedes-Benz model. 

Car and Driver appreciates the A-Class because it “truly feels like a Mercedes,” unlike the manufacturer’s previous go at a budget friendly sedan with the CLA-Class. Unlike the CLA-Class, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class offers a refined cabin in addition to an updated infotainment system. 

The 2021 Cadillac CT4 starts at $34,390

A silver 2021 Cadillac CT4 driving, one of the best affordable luxury cars under $35,000
2021 Cadillac CT4 | Cadillac

This is Cadillac’s entry-level sedan. Car and Driver reports that the 2021 Cadillac CT4 features “sharp exterior styling.” The CT4 has 11 cubic feet of cargo space and two engine options. 

Standard power comes from a 237 hp 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-four. An upgrade gives buyers a 307 hp turbocharged 2.7 liter version. However, Car and Driver also points out that the interior materials are lacking in terms of luxury appointments when compared to most others in the segment. 

The 2021 Acura ILX starts at $27,125

A white 2021 Acura ILX parked in front of a building
2021 Acura ILX | Acura

This is the cheapest luxury car on Car and Driver’s list of budget luxury vehicles that deserve attention. The 2021 Acura ILX hasn’t really changed for 2021. That said, the exterior design has commendable aesthetic appeal. 

The 2021 Acura ILX has 12 cubic feet of cargo space and a 201 hp 2.4 liter inline-four. Car and Driver describes its performance as “lackluster.” However, the price still makes the smallest Acura model a luxury sedan well worth some consideration. 

The cheapest luxury cars that Car and Driver recommends

Not every luxury sedan has to have a massive sticker price. All of these models are great examples of accessible luxury for a price that many households can actually afford. In fact, all of these models are worth looking into for buyers that want a luxury car but don’t want to spend more than about $40,000.

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