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10 Best Luxury Cars Under $50,000

Miles Branman
by Miles Branman
July 11, 2016
4 min. Reading Time
2016 Audi TT

2016 Audi TT

When we considered a list of the 10 best luxury cars under $50,000, we pondered the fact that luxury comes in all forms. For some, a relaxing Hawaiian vacation fits the bill. For others, a shopping binge is most desirable. But a vacation only lasts a short while, and you can’t wear the same outfit every day; that’s why many turn to vehicular frills to experience luxury on both the commute and the weekend expedition.

There was a time when luxury cars were out of reach for the common man, no matter how much they scraped and saved. Now, however, lavish vehicles with the latest convenience features can be had for just a bit more than the average new car. New automotive manufacturers have saturated the market with exceptional models, forcing established automakers to reduce prices and introduce entry-level offerings.

BMW 4 Series

BMW may have coined the “ultimate driving machine” personality, but these days, the German automaker is making a strong push for luxury at all price points. BMW’s 4 Series, the 2-door version of the longstanding 3 Series, delivers handsome styling, a comfortable cabin, and superb build quality in an extravagant package.

The 428i entry-level variant uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder to send 240 horsepower to the rear wheels. In addition to a punchy, efficient engine, BMW’s latest iDrive infotainment unit, Harmon Kardon sound system, and adjustable drive modes are among the latest and greatest convenience features. While packages and options can quickly increase the sticker price, you can get into a new 4 Series for just $41,650.


Mercedes-Benz C-Class

A list of best luxury cars under $50,000 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Though the C-Class doesn’t have quite as illustrious a career as BMW’s 3 Series, the compact luxury sedan and coupe is one of the most delightful experiences possible in 2016.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class provides a variety of different engine and trim level choices, including the 248 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 found in the C300 or the 302 horsepower variant found within the C350. If 2-door luxury is more your fancy, the automaker has just introduced an all-new design for the 2017 model year. While the coupe will require a larger investment, shoppers can enjoy the 4-door C-Class for just $38,950.


Cadillac ATS

While Cadillac has been a staple luxury automaker for a long time, some consider the brand to be outdated. I’m here to tell you that Cadillac is quite the different breed in 2016. Gorgeous designs, thrilling driving dynamics, and quality interiors characterize today’s American luxury. The new face of Cadillac is best expressed through its entry-level ATS model.

Starting at just $37,995, the ATS Coupe uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder to deliver 272 horsepower and 285 lb.-ft of torque. With a refined, handsome shape, a phenomenal chassis, and GM’s magical Magnetic Ride Control, the ATS is your ticket to earnest luxury under $50,000 and is a strong rival to its German counterparts.

 Photo by Cadillac

Photo by Cadillac

Audi A5

Audi has a powerful performance pedigree thanks to its history in rally racing, but these days, the German automaker is famous for its striking designs. Quattro permanent all-wheel drive takes care of the performance end of the luxury equation while an engaging driving experience, excellent build quality, and attractive pricing put its rivals on their heels.

The present generation A5 has been on the market for some time, but it’s still a compelling luxury coupe and convertible. Buyers can choose from either a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder or 3.0-liter turbo 6-cylinder motor, and while power isn’t enormous, the A5 has no trouble generating momentum. Better yet, the Audi A5's $40,500 price tag undercuts BMW’s 4 Series.


Hyundai Genesis

The new school of luxury has been in session for several years, and Hyundai has been a key player in the movement, especially when it comes to the latest generation Genesis sedan. While the Korean automaker has been producing reliable, technology-laden products for years, its latest products are true vehicular indulgences.

Not only does the new Genesis look spectacular from the outside, its cabin is exquisite. Available with between 311 and 420 horsepower, the Genesis also has no problem getting up to speed. Every piece of convenience and technology equipment you’d expect to find on the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class can be found in the Genesis, and all for tens of thousands less. Not only is the Genesis sedan one of the best luxury cars under $50,000, it starts under $40k!

 Photo by Hyundai

Photo by Hyundai

Chrysler 300

Speaking of luxury car surprises, many shoppers will make the mistake of overlooking the Chrysler 300. Sure, it may have been on sale in its current form for many years, but in the case of the 300, that means a more refined product than ever. Touring, putting your foot to the floor, or just soaking up the all-day comfort, Chrysler’s 300 is traditional sedan luxury at its best.

Where the 300 differentiates itself is in the value. Like the Hyundai Genesis, the 300 offers incredible convenience features and a punchy powertrain for less than $40,000. Whether you’re enjoying its sophisticated UConnect infotainment system, or stellar handling characteristics (especially for its size), the 300 is an excellent luxury car alternative.

 Photo by Chrysler

Photo by Chrysler

Audi A6

Like the A5, the Audi A6 sedan answers BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class sedans with stylistic intrigue and phenomenal fit and finish. Available Quattro all-wheel drive and one of the most efficient powertrains in its class attract luxury car shoppers who prefer something a bit more distinctive.

While the base 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder paired to a seven-speed S tronic transmission is a fine setup, the addition of the 8-speed Tiptronic and permanent all-wheel drive transform the A6 into a righteous handling machine. Like the other luxury cars on this list, buyers will need to be restrained when it comes to options, otherwise the A6’s $46,200 base price will inflate well past the $50,000 threshold.

 Photo by Audi

Photo by Audi

Cadillac CTS

Cadillac really swung for the fences with its redesigned CTS. While the high performance “V” had already upset the German establishment, the standard CTS still struggled with a boring exterior and cheap interior. That all changed in 2014. For the first time, GM’s luxury marque could go toe-to-toe with BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus not just in terms of performance, but in convenience, refinement, and design.

Sharp creases, clean lines, and attractive LED running lights draw the eye. Once inside, supple leather seats greet your behind while the remainder of the cabin is treated to textured wood, and metal. Though there’s still some work to be done on the automaker’s CUE infotainment system, it’s vastly improved over years past. Above all, though, the CTS is still the best bargain in town at $45,560.

 Photo by General Motors

Photo by General Motors

Audi TT

The final two vehicles on our list of 10 best luxury cars under $50,000 may be small in stature, but they’re both big on fun and amenities. The first is the Audi TT. Redesigned for 2016, the TT is a compact sportscar with Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel drive and one of the most mesmerizing exterior designs of any modern vehicle.

Power is provided by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder motor, which produces 220 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque. Its razor sharp design, 12.3-inch digital driver display, rapid-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and immense levels of grip can all be had for $42,900.

 Photo by Audi

Photo by Audi

BMW 2 Series

Though the BMW 4 Series is an elite luxury package for less than $50,000, some may be looking for an even better bargain. That’s where the entry-level 2 Series comes into the picture. With the same turbocharged 4-cylinder powertrain as its 4 Series sibling and your choice of either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox, the 2 Series is fun-size luxury.

Prices for the 228i start at $32,850 and include leather seats, BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, and daily driver thrills.

 Photo by BMW

Photo by BMW


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