Entry-Level Luxury

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:42 pm

Acura TL

Highlights: Revised exterior and interior styling. Type-S performance models return to the lineup with a 3.5-liter, 286-hp V6, sportier suspension tuning and new exterior and interior styling touches.

Base price: $34,295

What’s next: All-new TL in ’09, possibly with a hybrid powertrain and AWD option.

AutoWeek‘s opinion: Almost makes you forget about the BMW 3 Series. Almost.

Infiniti G35 Sedan

Highlights: The second-generation G35 highlights the lineup with refined exterior and interior styling with Japanese design cues found in the aluminum “Washi” textured trim. Powering the G is a reworked, higher-revving version of the 3.5-liter V6, making 306 hp, coupled to either rear- or all-wheel drive. Adaptive front lighting, intelligent cruise control, rearview camera and navigation are options. On Sport trims, four-wheel active steering is available.

Base price: $32,800 (est.)

What’s next: Freshening scheduled for 2010.

AutoWeek‘s opinion: The new G sedan has become a more capable alternative to the BMW 3 Series.

Lexus ES 350

Highlights: New for 2007, available since April. Interior space expands with more hip, shoulder and legroom. More power from a 3.5-liter, 272-hp V6. Keyless entry, button-start ignition, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, stability control and traction control all come standard. Backup camera available with optional navigation, along with optional adaptive front lighting.

Base price: $33,865

What’s next: Nothing foreseen at the moment.

AutoWeek‘s opinion: The baby Lexus grows up and packs lots of luxury in the near-luxury segment.

Lincoln MKZ

Highlights: MKZ replaces Zephyr badge. New 3.5-liter, 263-hp V6 provides power, and AWD is available. Redone grille, front fascia and 17-inch, eight-spoke wheels are new.

Base price: $29,890

What’s next: Hybrid variant may arrive next year.

AutoWeek‘s opinion: An entry-level Lincoln with a welcome increase in thrust from the new V6.

Also to consider

Audi A3 and A4; BMW 3-Series; Buick Lucerne; Cadillac CTS; Chrysler 300; Lexus IS; Mercedes-Benz C-Class; Mercury Milan; Nissan Maxima; Saab 9-5; Toyota Avalon; Volvo S40

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