The high cost of modern automobile development has car companies working hard to get as much use out of each new platform as possible. This means not only sharing a vehicle's drivetrain and chassis with other models but also providing buyers with a choice between a variety of body styles in an effort to capture a bigger slice of the market.
Coupes, sedans, wagons and even hatchbacks participate in this restyling exercise, and the premium segment is no exception. Let's take a look at eight luxury cars that offer several different body styles in an effort to snare the hearts and souls of well-heeled shoppers.
The 2011 Cadillac CTS demonstrates just how far GM's luxury division has come in only a few short years. The Cadillac CTS can be had in coupe, sedan and wagon forms, with the CTS Sport Wagon representing the very first factory-produced family edition of any Cadillac automobile. The sedan remains a favorite amongst entry-level premium buyers, while the coupe's angular styling and the wagon's 53.4 cubic feet of total cargo space draw their fair share of showroom attention as well.
Regardless of which body style is selected the 2011 Cadillac CTS comes with either a 3.0-liter or a 3.6-liter V-6. The former generates 270 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque, while the latter is good for 304 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive can be ordered as an option. Fuel mileage for the two engines is identical, checking in at 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.
02. 2011 BMW 3 Series
The 2011 BMW 3 Series is the Swiss Army knife of the luxury world, sold in a bewildering number of body styles including a coupe, a sedan, a convertible and a wagon. In each of its guises the BMW 3 Series offers some of the most engaging handling on the premium market, and the vehicle's high end features include a retractable hardtop for the convertible, optional all-wheel drive and a long list of comfort options.
The 2011 BMW 3 Series is offered with either a naturally-aspirated or turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. The base motor is good for 230 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo unit grinds out a healthy 300 horses and 300 lb-ft of twist. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and fuel economy for the more powerful engine ekes past the small six-cylinder with a rating of 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.
Although Audi split up its compact luxury car offerings into two distinct model lineups, the 2011 Audi A4 can still be had in both sedan and Avant (wagon) editions. The Audi A4 Avant offers up to 51 cubic feet of total cargo space, while both vehicles can be ordered with features such as Audi's MMI vehicle interface, a navigation system, an adjustable suspension and adaptive cruise control.
The 2011 Audi A4 is restricted to a single engine choice: a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder motor that is turbocharged to produce 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose to row their own gears via a traditional six-speed manual transmission, but the Audi A4 can also be equipped with a continuously-variable automatic transmission or an eight-speed automatic unit. Quattro all-wheel drive is available as an option with the A4.
The 2011 Acura TSX sedan and Sport Wagon are aimed at premium car fans who enjoy a heaping dose of high tech features to go with their leather seats and relatively spry handling. The Acura TSX Sport Wagon's 61 cubic feet of total cargo space also make it a viable - and more efficient - replacement for a compact crossover.
The 2011 Acura TSX sedan can be had with the choice of either a 210 horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that offers up to 172 lb-ft of torque and fuel economy figures of 22-mpg city and 26-mpg highway, or a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 280 ponies and 254 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 (which returns fuel economy of 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway), is matched with a five-speed automatic transmission while the four-cylinder can take advantage of either the autobox or a six-speed manual. The Sport Wagon is sold exclusively with the four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class entices luxury shoppers with four available body styles: a sedan, a wagon, a coupe and a convertible. The recent expansion of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup has injected some new life into the German luxury brand's mid-size offerings, with all four of the available E-Class flavors enjoying positive reviews and offering less conservative styling than is typical of the automaker.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class starts out with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine under the hood, and in fact this the only available motor in the E-Class wagon. The unit provides 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and offers fuel economy of 18-mpg city and 26-mpg highway. A V-8 option is available for all other body styles, and it produces 382 horses and 391 lb-ft of torque from its 5.5-liters of displacement while featuring a fuel mileage rating of 15-mpg city and 23-mpg highway. The most efficient edition of the E-Class is the BlueTec turbodiesel sedan, whose 210 horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 is good for 400 lb-ft of torque as well as 24-mpg around town and 33-mpg highway. All versions of the Mercedes-Benz come with a seven-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is optional on the sedan and standard with the wagon.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series may no longer offer a wagon body style to sit alongside the sedan in the showroom, but a reasonable replacement is available in the form of the Gran Turismo hatchback edition of the automobile. The 2011 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, or GT is positioned as a crossover that leverages the smooth, confident driving experience offered by the 5 Series sedan while expanding cargo space to a total of 60 cubic feet,.
The 2011 BMW 5 Series is equipped with a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline six-cylinder as its base engine. Capable of producing 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, the motor is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and delivers fuel economy of 20-mpg city and 30-mpg highway. Stepping up to the BMW's 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V-8 option nets buyers an exceptional 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The twin-turbo BMW retains the eight-speed automatic transmission found with the inline six and returns fuel mileage numbers of 15-mpg city and 22-mpg highway. All-wheel drive is available across the entire 5 Series lineup.
The 2011 Lexus IS represents both the only convertible in the Lexus showroom as well as its entry-level luxury sedan. The compact Lexus IS C features a retractable hardtop, while the IS sedan can be had with the F Sport package which dials up the vehicle's performance and looks to better compete with its Teutonic rivals. Drivers can also select from an extensive list of go-fast add-ons from the F Sport accessories catalog to further enhance the IS' capabilities.
The 2011 Lexus IS is initially offered with a 2.5-liter V-6 under the hood that puts out 204 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission is available with rear-wheel drive editions of the vehicle (i.e. all convertibles) while all-wheel drive requires the selection of the automatic gearbox. Fuel mileage for the small V-6 is rated at 21-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. The IS can also be had with a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces an additional 102 horses and 92 lb-ft of torque, and opting for this drivetrain makes the six-speed auto standard regardless of whether all-wheel drive is ordered or not. Fuel mileage for the 3.5-liter motor is just one and two miles per gallon lower than that of the 2.5-liter unit for each respective measure.
The 2011 Infiniti G is a direct competitor to the BMW 3 Series on the sedan, convertible and coupe fronts. Intended to be sportier than any other compact Japanese luxury car in its class, the Infiniti G also some of the most aggressive styling available in its segment. The G convertible's retractable hardtop makes it a viable all-weather option, while the sedan and coupe's optional all-wheel drive add to their appeal in northern climates.
The 2011 Infiniti G sedan is offered with a 2.5-liter V-6 engine when found in its most affordable trim level. This motor provides 218 horsepower and 187 lb-ft of torque, managed by a seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel mileage for this setup is rated at 20-mpg city and 29-mpg highway. All other versions of the Infiniti G come with a 3.7-liter V-6 that grinds out 328 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy for the larger mill checks in at 19-mpg around town and 27-mpg during highway cruising, and it gains a six-speed manual transmission option alongside the seven-speed auto unit.