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Top 10 Luxury Cars Under $30,000

Speed and refinement, technology and style, these affordable luxury cars really do have it all.

Nearly New Luxury

Even at a time when used car prices are at historically high levels, there remains a good gap between new and used luxury cars. The typical depreciation hit on luxury cars is still substantial enough that shoppers can find impressive deals if they know where to look. Our list of the top 10 luxury cars under $30,000 runs the gamut of sporty, sophisticated, and opulent rides. If you’ve haven’t considered moving up market, look at our list below for the best options in affordable luxury cars.

2018 Lincoln Continental

2018 Lincoln Continental - media.lincoln.com
2018 Lincoln Continental - media.lincoln.com

While Lincoln discontinued the long-running Continental, you’ll find the final generation an excellent value loaded with modern tech and providing a proper luxury experience on a budget. Comfort is king in the Continental which provides comfortable seating, including available 30-way adjustable power seats, and a roomy cabin with loads of legroom. The Continental smooths out road imperfections with ease and offers options for three V6s from the standard 3.7L to your choice of twin-turbo V6s, a 2.7L or 3.0L, with the latter putting up 400 horsepower. The Lincoln Continental offers a wide selection of modern safety tech like blind spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking. If you’re looking for a full-size luxury car, the Continental is a worthy option.

2016 Lexus ES 300

2016 Lexus ES 300 - pressroom.lexus.com
2016 Lexus ES 300 - pressroom.lexus.com

Among used luxury cars, a Lexus’ greatest draw is its reliability. The Lexus ES certainly delivers the “luxury” part of the equation, with a great interior and a smooth ride, but not having to worry about constant repairs is a big bonus. The mid-sized Lexus ES comes in only one trim for the 2016 model year, so it’s important to pay attention to the options list when shopping used examples. There you’ll find items like a premium Mark Levinson stereo, heated and ventilated front seats, and a suite of active safety features. The front-wheel drive ES trades sportiness for a smooth, unperturbed ride. When reliability is high on your priority list, make sure to consider the Lexus ES.

2017 Audi A6

2017 Audi A6 - netcarshow.com
2017 Audi A6 - netcarshow.com

For something sportier, there’s the Audi A6. The A6 offers great handling and four engine options ranging from the base turbocharged four-cylinder to a beefy V8 with 450 horsepower. And since this is an Audi, there is the option for Quattro all-wheel drive. Audi compliments the A6’s spirited driving with loads of luxury options that include heated rear seats and standard leather upholstery. The Audi A6 is an impressive balance of luxurious amenities and engaging driving, making it a great option for luxury buyers on a budget.

2019 Acura TLX

2019 Acura TLX - acuranews.com
2019 Acura TLX - acuranews.com

The Acura TLX’s strengths include great fuel economy, copious options, and not looking like the prior generation of Acura. The base TLX comes generously equipped with a moonroof, dual-zone climate control, and lots of advanced safety tech that includes lane keep assist, forward collision warnings, and adaptive cruise control. Our advice when shopping the TLX, take its lower initial price into account and look for examples with choice options packages like the A-Spec package that adds a heads-up display and wireless charging or the Technology package that gets you blind spot monitoring and navigation.

2018 BMW 3 Series

2018 BMW 3-Series - press.bmwgroup.com
2018 BMW 3-Series - press.bmwgroup.com

The BMW 3 Series has long been a great all-round luxury car and the 2018 model is no exception. The 3 Series offers all the driving thrills you expect in a BMW in a well-executed luxury package. Plus, the 3 Series comes in multiple configurations that range from the base sedan to a diesel wagon to a zippy hatchback version and of course the twin-turbo M3 with its 425 horsepower. Active safety features are plentiful and include forward collision mitigation and active LED headlights, among many others. The 3 Series’ interior is full of high-quality materials and offers lots of room for passenger front and back. The BMW 3 Series is a classic balance of fun driving and cosseting luxury.

2017 Cadillac CTS

2017 Cadillac CTS - media.cadillac.com
2017 Cadillac CTS - media.cadillac.com

Another great all-rounder is the Cadillac CTS. Agile cornering is paired with powerful engine options (we’d avoid the underwhelming base four-cylinder) that include a 335 horsepower V6 or a twin-turbo V6 with 420 horsepower. The CTS also comes with a wide selection of the latest tech features like parallel parking assist and a Rear Camera Mirror system. The interior of the CTS is nicely appointed and roomy up front, though the back seat is cramped. Impressive safety ratings round out the package nicely, The CTS’s phenomenal handling and powerful engines make it a good enthusiast’s choice.

2019 Volvo S90

2019 Volvo S90 - media.volvocars.com
2019 Volvo S90 - media.volvocars.com

The Volvo S90 stakes its place on our list thanks to its stellar safety scores (always a Volvo strong suit) and its wonderful interior. The S90’s cabin is roomy front and back and features outstanding materials and solid build quality. Comfort is never in question in the Volvo S90. While not particularly sporty, the S90 is efficient with either its base four-cylinder or the upgraded version of the same engine, which is both turbo and supercharged. For an elegant looking car with a regal interior and pampering ride, it’s the Volvo S90 all the way.

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - netcarshow.com
2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - netcarshow.com

Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class features many of the best attributes of the flashier E- and S-Class models at a more affordable price point. Even in a segment known for pampering interiors, the C-Class stands out for its superb seats, impressive materials, and impeccable fit and finish. Of course, the C-Class also offers some peppy engine options as well. The base turbo-four provides a good kick and good gas mileage as well. Further up the ladder is the C450 AMG which gets a twin-turbo V6 making 362 horsepower. Coupling these engines with the C-Class’s agile handing makes for a stirring urban runabout. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class distinguishes itself as one of the most refined offerings on this list, whether that’s interior quality, modern tech features, or driving performance.

2015 Lexus GS 350

2015 Lexus GS 350 - pressroom.lexus.com
2015 Lexus GS 350 - pressroom.lexus.com

Like the Lexus ES, the mid-sized GS is a well-rounded luxury car with the bonus of segment leading reliability. The GS’s interior offers ample room in front and rear as well as high-quality materials and impressive fit and finish. The GS also boasts stellar safety scores and a wide range of active safety features. The GS 350 offers just one engine, but it’s a good one. The naturally-aspirated 3.5L V6 provides decent acceleration while keeping fuel economy reasonable at 19 city and 29 highway MPG.

2018 Genesis G80

2018 Genesis G80 - netcarshow.com
2018 Genesis G80 - netcarshow.com

Hyundai’s luxury branch might not have the name recognition of other luxury brands, but that’s bound to change given the quality of cars like the Genesis G80. A superbly quiet interior is complimented by a glass-smooth ride and a stellar material quality that’s on par with the best European manufacturers have to offer. Advanced safety tech comes standard one the G80 and includes features like blind spot monitoring and lane keep assist. The base engine is a lively 3.8L V6 making 311 horsepower that pairs well with the G80s placid on-road manners. The Genesis G80 offers high quality luxury on a budget.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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