The Best $30,000 Luxury Cars

With more luxury brands striving to attract younger buyers, genuinely brilliant upscale models are debuting with price tags starting in the $30,000 range. What’s more, the best $30,000 luxury cars deliver premium features, powerful engines, and distinguished driving characteristics. Further, they hail from some of the most established brands in the luxury space. If you’re shopping in this category, your palette of choices is both broad and deep.

Acura ILX

Revised for the 2016 model year, the new Acura ILX combines the engaging driving experience for which Acura cars have always been known with a powerful engine, a more handsome exterior design, and cutting edge technological features. A 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine feeding the front wheels through an eight-speed automated manual transmission supplies power. Standard features include a sunroof, automatic LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. Options include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, navigation, and automated braking for frontal collision mitigation.

Audi A3

Universally acclaimed as the benchmark in the category, this iteration of the Audi A3 is easily one of the best $30,000 luxury cars. Along with its high quality interior fitments, the Audi boasts an exceptionally smooth engine and quiet operation. Yet, it is also dynamically engaging to drive. Standard features include automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, a video screen interface, automatic wipers, and satellite radio. Options include LED headlights, blind spot monitoring, a 14-speaker audio system, automated parking, and navigation. Engines range in power from 170 to 220 horsepower.

BMW 3 Series

Long considered the best in this category, the BMW 3 Series sedan is essentially a sports car in disguise. Its engines wind freely and deliver what feels like an endless wave of power. Road holding is sublime, and yet the 3 Series delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. Power ranges from 180 horsepower all the way up to 425 (for the fire-breathing M3 variant). A selection of automatic and manual transmissions is offered along with a choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Standard features include keyless entry/ignition, automatic wipers, foglights, Bluetooth, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Cadillac ATS

The new small Cadillac lands America’s favorite luxury maker solidly on this list of the best $30,000 luxury cars. Cadillac’s distinctive styling language nicely graces the marque’s smallest model.  More than just good looking though, the Cadillac ATS delivers a dynamic driving experience, sumptuous interior appointments, and a long list of cutting edge technological features. Power ranges from 202 horsepower to 321. All-wheel drive is offered as an option. The baby Cadillac also offers a choice between automatic and manual transmissions – depending upon engine choice.

Lexus ES 350

Lexus takes the path less often followed in this category, emphasizing comfort over performance potential. While the ES 350 does hold its own on a twisty road, it’s more at home wafting along the highway and whispering around town. Smooth, quiet, and wholly luxurious, the Lexus ES 350 is for the more comfort-oriented driver. Features include xenon headlights, LED running lights, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free (for smartphone applications), and a rearview camera. The engine is a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower and 248 ft-lbs of torque. Output is fed to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Lincoln MKZ/MKZ Hybrid

In addition to high style, an abundance of luxury features and brilliant tech, the Lincoln offers something no other car on this list of the best $30,000 luxury cars can provide. Exclusivity. The Lincoln’s sales numbers pale in comparison to the most popular models here, so if you want to drive something unique, this works in your favor. Even better, Lincoln offers a hybrid version of the MKZ at exactly the same price as the standard model. Standard features include LED headlights and taillights, an adaptive suspension system, keyless entry and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Hyundai Genesis

Since its first days on these shores, Hyundai’s cars have been known for delivering outstanding value. With all it has going for it, if the Genesis were a German car it’d be too expensive to be on this list of the best $30,000 luxury cars. The Hyundai’s engine choices range from 311 to 420 horsepower and feed a rear drive powertrain. All-wheel drive is offered as an option.  Standard features include automatic headlights, automatic climate control, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, heated front seats, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, and navigation. Other features include automatic high beams, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, along with front and rear parking sensor arrays.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

With the existence of the smaller CLA-class Mercedes in the lineup, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now longer, wider and more spacious. It’s also lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient. Boasting an incredibly long list of available features, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes standard with automatic headlights and windshield wipers, auto dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MBZ COMAND telematics interface with a seven-inch monitor, Bluetooth, and WiFi. You can add features like LED headlights, heated front seats, a 13-speaker audio system by Burmester, a scented cabin air filtration system, ventilated front seats, partially autonomous steering, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and a panoramic sunroof. Engines range from 241 to 469 horsepower. There is also an all-wheel drive option. 

Volvo S60

Volvo's sleek mid-size four-door sedan is agile, powerful, comfortable, quiet, and of course one highly safe automobile. Among the best $30,000 luxury cars, the Volvo is unique in that one of its engines is both supercharged and turbocharged. The 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder makes 302 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque. Other S60 engines range from 240 horsepower to 325. Front-drive and eight-speed automatic transmissions are the norm, though all-wheel drive is offered as an option. Standard features include automatic headlights and wipers, LED running lights, headlight washers, heated mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, power folding rear headrests, Bluetooth, and a seven-inch monitor.

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