The Autobytel 2013 Luxury Car of the Year category captures two rising trends in the premium segment. The first is Cadillac's triumphant return into the fray with a pair of very different contenders for our Luxury Car of the Year crown, and the second is the four-door 'coupe' styling motif that has become almost de rigueur for German brands seeking to penetrate every possible premium market niche.
Read on to learn about the four finalists for Autobytel's 2013 Luxury Car of the Year.
How important a model to Cadillac's fortunes is our 2013 Luxury Car of the Year winner, the 2013 Cadillac ATS? Simply put, this is the sedan that has been pressed into duty to knock the class-leading BMW 3 Series off of its luxury throne and make all current German entry-level premium buyers consider buying a domestic vehicle the next time around. Luckily, the Cadillac ATS has been given all of the tools that it requires in order to make a play for the hearts and minds of luxury fans: three ultra-modern engines (including a turbocharged four-cylinder and a stout V-6), an available manual transmission, a willing chassis, and style for days. The ATS is Cadillac's first-ever legitimate entry-level offering.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS couldn't be farther from the ATS in terms of its mission statement, which is to pick up the slack for the departed full-size STS and DTS sedans. Combining two demographics into one isn't an easy task, but the Cadillac XTS manages to provide a relatively engaging driving experience plus a heaping helping of on-road comfort. Throw in all-wheel drive, V-6 power, and the Cadillac CUE vehicle interface, and it's easy to see why the XTS turned so many heads over the course of the past year.
Full-size sedans that feature the swept rooflines of two-door coupes are now common across the luxury segment, but the 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe represents the Bavarian automaker's first foray into this rarefied air. Stretching out the two-door 6 Series coupe's lines creates an elegant counterpoint to the equally-large 7 Series and its more rounded look, and two turbocharged engine choices can be had with the vehicle: a 315 horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 and a 4.4-liter, 445 horsepower V-8. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are also in the cards for the big 6 Series Gran Coupe.
The 2013 Audi S7 represents the high performance edition of last year's Autobytel Luxury Car of the Year winner, the Audi A7. The Audi S7 maintains the four-door coupe / hatchback profile of its sibling, but it introduces a twin-turbo, 420 horsepower 4.0-liter V-8, a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, and a tuned suspension system that gives the substantial sedan a handling boost. 60-mph arrives in a scant 4.5 seconds when launching the Audi S7 from a standing start thanks to standard quattro all-wheel drive, and as always Audi has gifted one of its leading lights with a top-notch interior.
The editorial team of Autobytel has chosen the previous vehicles as the best of what we have seen in the category for 2013, and while there are many others in this class that probably deserve some kudos as well, we'd love to hear which you would choose for yourself. Let us know on the Autobytel Twitter or the Autobytel Facebook page.
2013 Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
2013 Ford Fusion
2013 Cadillac ATS
2013 Jeep Wrangler
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2013 Porsche Boxster S
2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
2013 RAM 1500
2013 Mazda MAZDA5