Although the defining line between “regular” and “premium” cars isn’t as sharp as it used to be, the latter still tend to offer performance, luxury, and convenience features—along with a more prestigious name—for which some people still seem willing to pay extra.
Speaking of prices, our premium classes tend to span a wider dollar range than those for regular cars, and the premium midsize category is no exception. The least expensive model (the Buick Regal Sportback) starts at around $26,000, while the most expensive model (the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe) starts at more than $81,000—and goes up quite a ways from there.
The majority of premium-midsize cars come only as 4-door sedans, though the Buick Regal TourX, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, and Volvo V60 and V90 are wagons, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class offers not only a wagon, but also a coupe and convertible. The entries are split pretty evenly between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive, and the majority also offers all-wheel drive. Model lines that include a hybrid version are the Acura RLX, BMW 5-Series, Lexus ES, Lincoln MKZ, and Volvo S90.
Two all-new models—the Genesis G70 and Volkswagen Arteon—join the premium midsize car class this year. The G70 is a rear- or all-wheel-drive sport sedan that offers a 252-hp turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder or a 365-hp turbo 3.3-liter V6. The Arteon takes the place of the recently departed CC in Volkswagen’s sedan lineup; it’s a stylish hatchback sedan that comes standard with upscale features and a 268-hp turbo 2.0-liter four.
There is also a raft of redesigned models this year—namely the Audi A6 sedan and A7 “fastback hatchback” sedan, Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class (a low-roofed “four-door coupe”), and the Volvo S60 sedan and its V60 wagon counterpart. High-performance S6, S7, and RS 7 versions of the redesigned Audis should follow in the near future.
The Buick Regal Sportback adds a line-topping Avenir trim level. The BMW 5-Series lineup loses its diesel-engine 540d model, but gains standard Apple CarPlay. The Infiniti Q50 and Q70 both lose their available hybrid version. The Jaguar XF gets a uniquely trimmed 300 Sport model and an updated infotainment system. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class gets new E450 models powered by a 362-hp turbocharged V6; these replace the previous 329-hp E400 models. The Lexus GS’s Enform infotainment system adds smartwatch and Amazon Alexa connectivity. The Lincoln MKZ adds the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features as standard equipment. The rest of the premium midsize-car class sees either no changes or minor revisions such as updated infotainment systems and/or alterations in standard equipment and option packages.
Several premium midsize cars offer high-performance variants with breathtaking capabilities. The BMW M6 Gran Coupe (which is actually a slope-roofed sedan) has a 4.4-liter turbo V8 rated at 560 hp, or 600 with the Competition Package; the M5 sedan comes standard with 600 hp and all-wheel drive. The Cadillac CTS sedan’s top engine choice is a 420-hp twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6, and the super-performance CTS-V gets a 640-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The Lexus GS F is equipped with a 467-hp 5.0-liter V8. The Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS53 has a turbocharged, mild-hybrid 3.0-liter 6-cylinder that puts out 429 hp, and the AMG E63 S has a 603-hp 4.0-liter turbocharged V8.
BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe
BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo
Buick Regal Sportback
Buick Regal TourX