MotorTrend’s 3 Best Luxury Compact Fastbacks Make Most Sedans Look Boring

Good things come in small packages, like the three vehicles on MotorTrend’s list of the best luxury compact fastbacks. More than just luxury compacts, these cars combine speed and handling with a fastback body to add a healthy dose of practicality to the mix. 

The fastback body is essentially a sedan with a rear hatch instead of a standard trunk. Or you could view it as a sleek wagon. Either way, the rear hatch provides a much larger opening and maximizes cargo space while not sacrificing looks. In the case of the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, and Polestar 2, the fastback adds to the sporty looks of each car, giving them the appeal of a four-door coupe. They certainly aren’t boring.       

1. The 2023 Audi A5 is the best luxury compact fastback

The rear quarter panel of an Audi A5, the A5 is among MotorTrend's picks for the best luxury compact fastbacks
Audi A5 | Audi

First up is the best luxury compact fastback, the 2023 Audi A5. The Audi A5 is, essentially, an A4 with a sleeker body. Available as a two-door coupe, convertible, or four-door fastback, it offers excellent build quality and superb performance in a beautifully styled package. The interior is elegant and contemporary, packing a lot of technology and features.  

The one area that may be a letdown for some, however, is the A5’s performance. Audi’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder moves the car to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and returns fuel economy up to 34 mpg, but it doesn’t feel as quick as the numbers suggest. It also lacks the excitement you’d expect based on its looks, reports MotorTrend. Stepping up to the S5 will add the 3.0 V6 turbo, which increases performance considerably, as well as the base price, which for the A5 is $44,000. 

2. The 2023 BMW 4 Series ranked in the second spot on the list

It takes a while for most people to warm up to the face of the 2023 BMW 4 Series, and some never will. But if you can get past the styling, you’ll realize the 4 Series is fun to drive, offering the classic BMW experience with sharp reflexes, a smooth inline-six engine, and impressive performance.  

Starting at $45,900, the 4 Series, like the Audi A5, is available as a coupe, convertible, and fastback. The whole car feels premium, even if the interior looks a bit austere at first. Unlike the A5, it doesn’t disappoint in the performance department. Performance and fuel economy are on par with the A5, but it feels quicker and is more rewarding.  

3. The 2023 Polestar 2 is an electric car with an intriguing look

Electric cars have come a long way recently. The idea of an electric car on this list, let alone one that is competitive with gas-powered vehicles, and where you can take for granted the car is electric, would have been unheard of five years ago. 

But here we are. And we’re better for it. 

In the case of the Polestar 2, you could easily cross-shop it with the Audi A5 and BMW 4 Series. The $45,900 starting MSRP is almost identical to the other cars. Performance is as quick or quicker, with 0 to 60 mph times of 4.1 seconds. While fuel economy is hard to compare, the Polestar 2’s range is estimated at 259 miles, which is perfectly reasonable and should quell most people’s range anxiety.  

Inside, the interior is contemporary Scandanavian minimalism. It appears bland at first until you notice all the little details like gold seatbelts, a Polestar logo on the glass roof, and an environmentally friendly interior. The infotainment system runs on Andriod software and is intuitive and easy to use, even if it lacks some nice-to-have features like better energy management options.   

Which is the best luxury compact fastback? 

You can’t go wrong with any of these luxury compact fastbacks. All of them are highly rated by MotorTrend and offer performance and practicality in a sleek body that makes the average sedan look boring. 

For the most engaging driving experience, the BMW 4 Series is the best choice. It provides the best balance of performance with an uncompromising ride in a practical body with a face only a mother could grow to love. 

The Polestar 2 surprises with its competence. It’s pleasingly styled, quick, and an excellent option for someone seeking a well-made, stylish, premium fastback. It offers everything its gas-powered rivals have, with an electric drivetrain, at a reasonable price. 

The Audi is the looker of the group, with an excellent ride and handling that’s let down by its lackluster performance. That aside, it’s still the fastback that feels the most premium with its stylish blend of luxury and features.  

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