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 entries start in the low $30K range, while the most expensive model (the BMW 8-Series Gran Coupe) starts at around $85,000—and goes up quite a ways from there.
The majority of premium-midsize cars come only as 4-door sedans, though the 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 offering a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version include the Audi A7, BMW 5-Series, Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Volvo S60/V60 and S90. Others include mild-hybrid systems.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2022
There are no redesigned or all-new vehicles in the premium midsize car class this year, but there are a few new high-performance trim levels of existing models. After its redesign for ’21, the Acura TLX added a performance-oriented Type S version powered by a 355-hp turbo 3.5-liter V6 as a late-2021 addition to its model lineup. The BMW 5-Series lineup gets a limited-production M5 CS (Competition Sport) model that is powered by a 627-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, and the 8-Series Gran Coupe adds a top-line Alpina B8 model with a 612-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and unique trim touches. The Cadillac CT5 gets a super-performance CT5-V Blackwing model with a 668-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V8 and the choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic.
The Kia Stinger gets refreshed styling, an optional 10.3-inch infotainment display, a 300-hp turbo 2.5-liter 4-cylinder in place of the previous 255-hp turbo 2.0, and a variable exhaust system for its V6 that provides a slight horsepower boost. The Lexus ES gets several revisions, including an updated infotainment system with touchscreen functionality, minor styling updates, and additional standard driver-assist features. The ES 300h hybrid is now available in F Sport trim.
The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class gets minor styling updates and loses its AMG CLS 53 model and the rear-wheel-drive version of the CLS 450. The 2022 model year is the last for the Toyota Avalon; it loses its all-wheel-drive and sporty TRD models. The Volkswagen Arteon gets a 32-horsepower bump for its turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder (for a total of 300 hp), and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in place of the previous 8-speed automatic. The Volvo S60 and S90 sedans get mild-hybrid versions of their regular gasoline engines, and the S90 gets an Android-based infotainment system. The V60 and V90 wagons lose their regular-line models; only the SUV-style Cross Country versions and the V60 T8 Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid remain.
MODELS THAT OFFER SOMETHING UNUSUAL
Several premium midsize cars offer high-performance variants with breathtaking capabilities. The Audi S6 and S7 have a 444-hp, twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6, while the RS 6 Avant and RS 7 have a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that makes 591 hp. The BMW M5 and M8 Gran Coupe have a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at 600 hp, or 617 with the Competition Package.
Vehicles in the Premium Midsize Car class:
Audi A6 Allroad
BMW 8-Series Gran Coupe