10) Mercedes-Benz CLA-class
This compact luxury car has been available on the market since 2013. It was one of the few Merc models in recent years to have sold 100,000 units in its first year of production. 2017 retail prices in the US start from $32,400.
The car is distinguished by its aggressive and sporty profile, and its bold diamond-block front grille. Under the hood is a highly efficient 2.0 litre, inline four-cylinder, direct injection engine with rapid multispark ignition technology. It produces a peak output of 208 hp and automatically starts and stops to save fuel. Peak torque is 258 lb-ft and 0 to 60 mph is achieved in 6.9 seconds in the CLA250 Coupe.
Drivers can select the driving mode depending on mood. Safety features include standard radar-based active brake assist with autonomous braking to help avoid collisions with traffic in front. Blind spot and lane keep assists are available to help make highway driving easier and safer.
9) Mercedes-AMG CLA45 4MATIC
The 2017 AMG CLA45 retails in the US starting from $49,950. This luxury sports car is a refined beast which runs on a handcrafted AMG 2.0 litre, inline four-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline engine producing 375 hp of peak power @ 6,000 rpm. The 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT transmission links with the AMG performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and accelerates the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Despite this awesome performance the car gets 23 mpg in city driving conditions.
Ride comfort and superlative handling are ensured by a 4-wheel independent AMG Sport Suspension with AMG calibration and components. The car has built-in traction control and stability features such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP). Shift paddles on the wheel allow manually flicking through the automatic gears.
A multimode drive program selector on the console transforms the AMG CLA45’s character with the twist of a rotary knob. The five modes include ‘eco’, ‘comfort’, ‘sport’, ‘sport+’ and ‘individual’, the latter being customizable.
8) Buick Verano
Buick’s entry level luxury car takes the Spanish word for summer as its name. It has a front engine, FWD, and plenty of safety features. US retail prices start at $21,065. Other than the base model there are two additional variants namely the Verano ‘Sport Touring’ and the Verano ‘Leather’.
All models have the same robust 2.4 litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine with the standard six speed automatic transmission. Sport pedals are available as optional on the top variants, as are the power moonroof and rear cross traffic alert systems.
The car boasts a suite of available collision-avoidance technologies. Also available is the remote vehicle starter or rear vision camera, a Bose premium 9-speaker audio system, a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and leather appointed seats. Fuel economy, as claimed by the manufacturers, is 21 mpg in the city. The engine being flex-fuel capable, can run on either gasoline or ethanol.
7) Buick Cascada
Cascada means waterfall in Spanish. Buick’s mid size convertible sells in the US at a starting price of $33,065. Available in three models the car is designed to be balanced and refined.
The powerpack is a 1.6 litre turbo 4-cylinder, direct injection gasoline engine with variable valve timing. This combines with a 6-speed, electronically controlled automatic transmission, which Buick claims is perfectly matched with the engine for seamless shifts.
Chrome accents and 20-inch aluminum wheels add to the car’s good looks. The car’s many creature comforts start with the leather-appointed sport bucket front seats. Safety features include lane depart warning, forward collision alert, park assist, and many more, depending on the Cascada variant.
The car’s soft top can open in 17 seconds. A convenient seven inch diagonal touchscreen display with navigation is a useful accessory to have. Also available is the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot feature.
6) Acura ILX
Acura’s new compact luxury sedan now comes with a 2.4 litre gasoline engine, which produces a peak output of 201 hp. It is front wheel driven and has a curb weight of 1,403 kg. Features and comforts include the car’s remote operated power moonroof with tilt and auto reverse, LED headlights and tail lights, and sport front seats with an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat.
The standard ILX has two-level heating and an automatic dual zone climate control with humidity control, while the top end ILX A-Spec has GPS-linked, solar sensing climate control. Other features of the car consist of ambient interior lighting, central color console for info display, and a sizable boot.
The car’s audio system has something called ‘speed-sensitive volume compensation (SVC)’ for ensuring the best experience. Smartphone integration, SMS reading functionality, voice recognition system, real time traffic routing, and an on-demand multi-use display are available on some ILX variants.
5) BMW M2
With four decades of high performance in its DNA, the 2017 M2 is all about technology and lap times. Its 3.0 litre, BMW M TwinPower Turbo, inline 6-cylinder engine with variable valve and lift control produces 365 hp and revs all the way to 7000 rpm. Its TwinScroll turbo delivers 343 lb-ft of torque with virtually no lag.
The standard manual transmission incorporates carbon fiber friction lining and a precise rev-matching system to enhance shift precision. An automatic 7 speed M Double-clutch transmission is available as optional. The M2 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Moreover, a balanced chassis, excellent steering response, and optimum power to weight ratio make it a true driver’s car. Even the cockpit is minimal so the focus is always on the road ahead.
Another available extra is the ‘executive package’ which adds convenience and technology options such as a heated steering wheel, park distance control, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera.
4) BMW 2-series
The new 2-series coupes and cabrios are compact luxury cars which fall into BMW’s updated, even and odd number naming convention. Odd numbers are for sedans while evens are for coupes. The 2-series has evolved from BMW’s rich sports car heritage.
The series encompasses a range of models including coupes and convertibles. These cars are meant to be agile and precise. Case in point is the M240i coupe, which sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, thanks to a 335 hp engine and rear wheel drive. 2-series cars are available with automatic or manual transmissions and with optional four wheel drive.
BMW has allowed for plenty of options and extras for buyers to customize each car with things like a sunroof and choice of trim. The convertible variant’s push button soft top folds down in 22 seconds and works at speeds up to 30 mph. Near-perfect weight distribution adds to the handling quality. Series retail prices in the US start from $33,150.
3) Audi S3
The third generation Audi S3 features a turbocharged 292 hp TFSI engine and Quattro all wheel drive. The car’s torque vectoring capability is a must-have feature in a compact luxury car meant for great performance.
For 2017 Audi has also decided to add a number of driver assistance technologies. Audi virtual cockpit is a 12.3 inch driver-focused, fully digital information cluster, which combines radio, navigation, phone and other media without overwhelming the driver with information.
A multifunction sport steering wheel, premium leather surfaces, a panoramic sunroof and dual zone automatic climate control are just some of the interior features that owners have come to love.
As always, Audi’s range of optional extras is wide. Sport suspension, sport seats, full LED headlights and tail lights, keyless entry and ignition, smartphone interface, adaptive cruise control and premium sound systems are all available as parts of the various trim packages for the S3. The car was awarded a 5-star safety rating by the NHTSA.
2) Audi A3
The A3 compact car has been produced continuously since 1996. Originally meant as a family car, the A3 is now in its third generation with a number of available variants. Retail prices in the US market start from $31,200.
The four door sedan now features distinctive lines and a bold front grille with a view to give the car an aggressive, sports look. Xenon headlights add a touch of nighttime brilliance. A multifunction steering wheel, versatile infotainment system and a panoramic sunroof are desirable interior features. MMI touch is an available touch sensitive scroll wheel functionality, which allows drivers to control an array of vehicle systems.
Under the hood is the standard 2.0 litre, 220 hp, TFSI turbo engine with available Quattro all wheel drive. A more fuel-efficient option is the combination of a 186 hp TFSI engine with front wheel drive. Available side assist, rear cross traffic assist and lane keep assist are other helpful features.
1) Audi RS3
Audi first unveiled its RS range in 1999 with the RS2. The range embodies Audi’s heritage of motorsport success and imbues it into the high performing road cars. The 2017 RS3 saloon is the newest addition to Audi’s A3 family. It has sculpted body styling with aggressive lines and a bold stance.
Under the RS3’s shapely hood is the 400 PS version of Audi’s 2.5 litre, five cylinder TFSI engine. The potent power is transmitted to the road through a seven speed dual clutch S tronic transmission and quattro four-wheel drive. This combination makes the RS3 capable of going from 0 to 62 mph in less than 4.1 seconds.
RS sports suspension and RS braking systems come as standard. A multifunctional steering and an extremely functional, ergonomic central console allow the driver to focus on what is important, the road in front. With all the features of a luxury sports car enhanced by Audi in keeping with the RS lineage, the RS3 is sure to be a great ride.