#Small #sports #cars #2015
Small sports cars 2015
15 Luxurious Small Cars and Crossovers
You don’t have to be big to be upscale.
In the past, luxury was at least partially defined by size. That’s changing. There’s been a revolution in small cars and crossovers, and today the market is packed with pint-sized machines that fit the luxury of larger cars into a more modest and efficient footprint.
Base Price: $30,000 (estimated)
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 208 hp
It may be hard to imagine, but beneath the swoopy, sensuous lines of this all-new compact hatchback are the bones of a Mercedes-Benz. That includes the chassis of this car as well as its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and dual-clutch transmission. That’s no bad thing really. The Q30 should be quite lively on the backroads, since Infiniti have done their own tuning to the suspension system.
Inside, there’s a mix of Mercedes-Benz knobs and buttons and Infiniti’s own materials and designs. Expect the full roster of safety tech to be optional on the Q30 when it arrives this spring. This Infiniti is small: With a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, it’s about the size of an average compact hatch. Those tidy dimensions should make this a great driving little luxury hatch.
Base Price: $32,190
Engine: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 134 system horsepower
The Lexus CT hybrid was a pioneer in compact luxury cars. When it arrived in 2011 it had virtually no competition, and today this little hatchback is the only one that comes exclusively as a hybrid. The CT starts at just over $30,000 and delivers a solid 43 mpg city and 40 mpg on the highway. It uses the Toyota Prius’s powertrain, and the 134 horsepower of the hybrid system doesn’t provide robust acceleration. Still, choose the new F Sport model and the tuned springs and dampers, which should make the Lexus more fun to drive.
The CT’s mission is one of responsible luxury, so the cabin is filled with ecological plastics and seating surfaces made from materials that emit fewer emissions during the manufacturing process. Even the speakers use sustainable bamboo. The CT can be optioned with a long list of tech including the Lexus navigation system with its mouse-like Remote Touch controller, as well as safety systems like dynamic radar cruise control and Lexus’s pre-collision system, which warns you and readies the other safety systems if it determines an accident could occur.
Base Price: $42,500
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 292 hp
Audi’s A3 is one of our favorite compact luxury sedans, and it’s a great deal starting at just over $30,000. But it’s the high-performance S3 version that we really enjoy. This one packs a tuned 292 hp turbocharged four-cylinder channeled through a six-speed dual clutch transmission to the company’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. There’s 72 more hp than the standard A3. Quick? Oh yes. You’ll be able to hit 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds.
Audi’s Drive Select system let’s you modify certain vehicle parameters like engine, transmission, and steering response. This is an expensive performance car so quite a lot of equipment comes standard. However, the Prestige package brings navigation, parking assist systemsm and blind spot warning. The top performing S3s will wear the Performance Package with 19-inch wheels and dampers adjustable through the Drive Select system. Just be prepared for some bumps. This is a sporting machine with a firm ride.
Base Price: $49,500
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 375 hp
Just like Audi’s S3 is the high-performance version of the A3, the CLA 45 AMG is the top-performing model in the CLA range. Even though this is the smallest and least expensive AMG model, it certainly isn’t slow. The turbocharged four cylinder now makes 375 hp for 2016 (up from 355) and generates 350 lb-ft of torque. It’s a little monster and it runs through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This compact luxury hot rod is a blast to drive hard.
Plant the right pedal and this machine’s all-wheel drive system will thrust you through the quarter-mile in just under 13 seconds. And it makes lovely brazen noises when the engine is on full boil. It’s fun through the twists, too. But if hauling passengers in the rear seat is a priority, they shouldn’t be tall ones. There’s not a lot of headroom back there.
Base Price: $42,400
Engine: Electric motor, 170 hp
Coolest Option: $1080 BMW Charging Station
The futuristic i3 isn’t quite like any other upscale small car here. This tiny EV has been engineered to be efficient first and a progressively modern take on luxury second. The aluminum chassis and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic body helps keep the weight down and allow the electric powertrain to power the BMW up to 80 miles on an electric charge (at 124 MPGe), or 150 miles when the optional small range-extender motorcycle engine is added.
Yet this EV isn’t slow. Our friends at Car and Driver have clocked it to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. But it is an eco machine, so the luxurious trappings on the inside feel a lot like a room at an expensive yet socially responsible boutique hotel. The i3 is a BMW, so it can be optioned with plenty of safety and comfort tech like active cruise control and the parking assistance package.
Base Price: $33,700
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 200 hp
Tiny luxury crossovers like the Q3 are fueling the boom in small upscale cars; it appears on the same shopping lists that also include the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. The Q3 is about ten inches shorter than Audi’s most popular crossover, the Q5. Like its big brother, the Q3 is handsome both inside and out.
The turbocharged four-cylinder is hitched to a six-speed automatic; Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system is optional. The Q3 may be cute, but it’s not exactly quick. With 48 cu-ft. of cargo space when that rear seat is folded down, though, at least it’s useful. And it’s a great way to get an Audi for not a lot of dough. Check every option and the Q3 creeps slightly north of $40,000.
Base Price: $32,500
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 208 hp
Coolest Option: $2,600 Night Package (blacked out trim)
The GLA 250 occupies the lowest level in Mercedes-Benz’s crossover and SUV portfolio, but it’s one of the most stylish, with tight proportions and short overhangs. Like its rivals, the GLA isn’t big. Yet there’s just more than 17 cu-ft. of space behind the rear seat, which is on par for a midsize sedan and on the roomy side for its class.
The turbo four-cylinder makes the GLA quite a quick machine. However the dual-clutch transmission provides slow and clunky operation around town. Unlike Audi’s soft Q3, the GLA is a firm-riding crossover with sharp moves when the roads bend. This powertrain and suspension tune might make the GLA a bit too aggressive for drivers seeking a relaxing commute.
Base Price: $27,900
Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 201 hp
Coolest Option: $1300 Acura Watch Plus (safety tech)
Think of the ILX as a well-dressed and well-equipped Honda Civic. The two share the same basic platform. Trouble is, it’s the old Civic platform, which means this Acura is riding one generation behind Honda.
No matter: The Acura has a unique powertrain that’s a joy to live with. And that new 2.4-liter four-cylinder is matched to the smart 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. It makes the ILX not only quiet on the highway (thanks to that 8th gear) but also responsive around town. The ILX strikes a good balance between ride and handling, but its pedestrian compact car roots become clear on a twisty road. Still, for under $30,000 here’s a comfortable, stylish, and likely very reliable small luxury car.
Base Price: $30,600
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 228 hp
Coolest Option: $170 Union Jack Roof Decal
Mini’s revival set the stage for a revival of small, hip cars with upscale appeal. The one that best exemplifies the brand is the high-performance John Cooper Works model. Its turbo four-cylinder has enough scoot to push the Mini to 60 mph in six seconds flat, according to Car and Driver. But like many performance machines, the Mini’s ride is a bit too brittle for some.