The Best Compact Luxury Cars in 2024

Compact luxury cars don’t shine like they used to, but several big names still deserve consideration. What are the best buys in the segment for Canadian drivers? The team at The Car Guide has analyzed all the various models available and identified the top three for 2024.

Truth be told, the ranking is the same as last year’s. That means the best cars still hail from Germany.

1. Audi A4/A5

Photo: Audi

The current generation of the Audi A4 has been around for eight years now, and during each of those eight years, it earned a Best Buy award from The Car Guide. That’s the very definition of a dynasty.

For 2024, the A4 proves just as attractive thanks to sophisticated styling, great engine selection (including a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 261 horsepower and a turbocharged V6 delivering 349 horsepower), as well as commendable handling and build quality. The A4 allroad variant is a wagon ready for just about anything. Beware of pricey options that can hurt your wallet, though.

If you prefer a coupe, cabriolet or liftback sedan, there’s always the Audi A5. Unlike the A4, this one also offers a high-performance RS model with a 444-horsepower V6.

Crossovers and SUVs may be all the rage, but for people that still appreciate the appeal and merits of a car, the A4/A5 lineup remains the finest there is. What’s more, reliability is not as bad as you think.

2. BMW 3 Series/4 Series

Photo: BMW

Another benchmark in the compact luxury segment, the 3 Series is essentially unchanged for 2024 after getting a thorough update last year. There are four powertrain options to choose from, starting with a 255-horsepower four-cylinder and culminating with a mighty six-cylinder that can generate up to 543 horsepower in the hardcore M3 CS. And don’t forget the plug-in hybrid.

As for the 4 Series, available in coupe and convertible body styles (except for the Gran Coupe Legacy Edition limited at 300 units in Canada), it joined the 3 Series as yet another BMW to feature a large curved display and next-generation infotainment system with sharper graphics and faster operation.

The Bavarian automaker offers a wide array of options and packages to customize these cars—as long as you’re willing to stretch your budget quite a bit. Both the 3 Series and 4 Series are agile handlers with refined powertrains, but you can find more comfort or luxury elsewhere in the segment.

3. Genesis G70

Photo: Genesis

Now in its sixth year, Genesis’ entry-level sedan has found a niche. All G70 models get a turbocharged engine, eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. For 2024, the base engine is now a 2.5-litre unit that delivers 300 horsepower (the highest output of any standard engine in the segment, in a tie with the Infiniti Q50). A 3.3-litre V6 generating up to 368 horsepower is the alternative.

Styling, connectivity and safety enhancements are also part of the mix for 2024. The elegant G70 does have sporty aspirations but still prioritizes comfort. The front seats are a great place to enjoy the road in, for sure. Too bad there’s no high-performance model. That being said, Genesis’ stellar customer experience and service is another excellent reason to consider the G70.

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