People in the market for a premium compact sports sedan are spoiled for choice these days. No matter which model has the absolute latest tech, overall, every single European nameplate in this segment is a highly competitive product.
Right now, the new generation (2019) BMW 3-Series has the advantage of having arrived last to the party, which means that you need not look elsewhere if all you’re after is the absolute latest in on-board tech.
However, the reality is that none of these six European sports sedans is light years ahead of the rest in any department. It wouldn’t be much of a tight contest if they were – so believe us when we say, you can easily make an argument for just about any of them, as long as you genuinely like that specific model.
Which design philosophy do you buy into?
We obviously can’t just come out and say that the all-new G20 3-Series is the best looking car in its class. This is a matter of personal taste and every single one of these automakers adheres to its own design philosophy.
Now, the 3-Series is at its peak from an aesthetic standpoint. We’re dealing with BMW’s latest design, which is all about making the product look more modern and imposing – hence the tall shoulder line, contoured profile, aggressive-looking front and rear fascias and increased wheelbase size.
Something like the Audi A4 on the other hand is a lot less…new. The model you can buy right now was restyled earlier this year, yet the changes remain extremely subtle, to the point were most wont notice. You could say that overall, it’s a surprisingly conservative product, although its interior remains exquisitely-well built, with plenty of safety and convenience tech. So, while you probably won’t be able to geek out over it as you would the new 3-Series, the dashboard design on the A4 is plenty modern.
Like the Audi, the Mercedes C-Class also underwent a facelift earlier this year, receiving tweaked bumpers, revised lighting units, an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, new steering-wheel, new optional 10.25-inch infotainment display and new driver assistance systems. It’s not quite on the same level as the BMW, but there’s a certain elegance to the C-Class that no other car in its segment can claim. Also, its exterior design isn’t as “sensually purified” as that of the latest CLS or even the new A-Class, yet you’ll still find less design creases than you would on most of its rivals.
The world is bigger than just Germany
Speaking of which, this is 2018 and you no longer have to look at something German in order to end up with a great automobile. The likes of Volvo, Jaguar and even Alfa Romeo have been doing a terrific job in this segment during these past few years and models like the new S60, XE and the Giulia are more than capable of putting up a good fight against the 3er, A4 and C-Class.
Some would argue that the Giulia, for example, is the most beautiful car in its segment. Whether they’re right, is not up to us to say, but its design certainly has all the right curves one would appreciate on a sporty Italian car. While the Alfa is an awesome sports sedan from a performance stand point, its interior, though good enough, isn’t best-in-class, neither quality nor tech-wise.
But you know whose might be? The all-new Volvo S60’s. This is Sweden’s best sports sedan ever and according to the company, it’s also “one of the most exciting Volvo cars ever made.”
In fact, its active safety technology should hold its own against the BMW’s, while overall cabin quality has been described as excellent, like with the rest of Volvo’s current range. Of course, the S60’s interior design is more of elegant than sporty/driver-focused, and the same can be said about its exterior.
Then there’s the Jaguar XE, Britain’s answer to Germany’s dominance in this segment. The XE has been with us for over three years now and while it hasn’t dethroned anyone of importance in regards to sales numbers, it’s still a very good car. Aside from the fact that it drives really well (though not better than the Giulia and the jury is still out on the new 3-Series), the XE also looks like a proper Jaguar from most angles. We say most, because its rear end design has been known to disappoint some consumers.
As for its cabin, it certainly well-built and offers a somewhat sporty ambiance, but overall quality and tech still falls underneath what BMW have managed to do for their latest 3-Series.
Now’s the time you let us know which of these cars is your favorite and why. And if you happen to rank them one through six, we would not mind that one bit!