Best Luxury Cars for the Money

Take a look at three luxurious 2014 vehicles that you can own for less than $40,000.

Presentation of the new car
(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The words affordable and luxury rarely go hand in hand, but Kiplinger’s found a handful of 2014 luxury models that won’t break the bank.

BMW 3 series sedan

The king of sports sedans and a Kiplinger’s “Best in Class” winner for 2014, the BMW 3 series maintains its reputation generation after generation for power on demand, a suspension tight enough to keep its composure in hairpin turns, and handling so agile it makes you want to take them. Our favorite is the diesel model because it gives you 37% better overall fuel economy than its conventional-powertrain twin.

Specifications:

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Sticker price: $39,550 (328d RWD)

Invoice price: $36,640

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $35,420

Resale value: 3-year: 47%; 5-year: 30%

MPG: City: 32; Hwy: 45

Cadillac ATS

Cadillac's goal when it introduced the ATS for the 2013 model year was to fight the popular BMW 3 series. Its exterior proportions mimic the 3's, but it has unmistakable Caddy styling, from its planted stance to its taut lines throughout. You'll find more horsepower in the base model, as well as knee airbags and available rear-seat side airbags, which BMW doesn’t offer.

Specifications:

Sticker price: $33,990 (2.5L Standard)

Invoice price: $32,171

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $32,102

Resale value: 3-year: 44%; 5-year: 31%

MPG: City: 22; Hwy: 33

Lexus ES

Lexus’s recently redesigned ES has not only updated looks and increased interior space but also enhanced driving dynamics with a firmer ride and better road feel. You'll now find Siri Eyes Free Mode, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and 10 airbags. The midsize sedan has the highest resale values in its class, and it's available as a hybrid model.

Specifications:

Sticker price: $37,530 (base model)

Invoice price: $35,210

KBB Fair Purchase Price: $35,522

Resale value: 3-year: 56%; 5-year: 41%

MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 31

Jessica L. Anderson
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Anderson has been with Kiplinger since January 2004, when she joined the staff as a reporter. Since then, she's covered the gamut of personal finance issues—from mortgages and credit to spending wisely—and she heads up Kiplinger's annual automotive rankings. She holds a BA in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was the 2012 president of the Washington Automotive Press Association and serves on its board of directors. In 2014, she was selected for the North American Car and Truck Of the Year jury. The awards, presented at the Detroit Auto Show, have come to be regarded as the most prestigious of their kind in the U.S. because they involve no commercial tie-ins. The jury is composed of nationally recognized journalists from across the U.S. and Canada, who are selected on the basis of audience reach, experience, expertise, product knowledge, and reputation in the automotive community.