2019 Audi A4
2019 Audi A4

List of the most underrated luxury cars you should buy

Shopping for a prestige car is like wandering through the cosmetics section of a department store, where individual scents struggle to cut through and the senses become clouded. Such is the choice at the top end of the car market - many worthy cars are simply lost in the crowd and deserve to be more popular than they are. Start with advertised deals and, we reckon, you might sniff out a bargain on just about all of these.

 

AUDI A4

Audi’s volume selling sedan more than holds it own against higher-selling Mercss and BMWs.
Audi’s volume selling sedan more than holds it own against higher-selling Mercss and BMWs.

Sales of luxury sedans have declined across the board as buyers move towards high-riding wagons but the A4 has been hit particularly hard as key rivals Mercedes and BMW push sharp deals on their C-Class and 3 Series sedans. A model that once had triple the sales of the next best-selling Audi, the A4 has dropped to fifth on the brand's sales sheet. A shame, as it is an impressive car, loaded with clever driver aids, hi-tech touches and sporty driving dynamics. Buyers on a budget can go for efficient front-wheel drive versions, though enthusiasts will want to leapfrog those in favour of the 2.0-litre turbo that sends 185kW of power to all four wheels - enough to hit 100km/h in less than six seconds.

 

INFINITI Q50

Infiniti’s performance sedan is too cheap to ignore.
Infiniti’s performance sedan is too cheap to ignore.

Here's another mid-size sedan that has failed to make an impact despite impressive credentials. The Q50 Red Sport in particular is well worth a look. Its twin-turbo V6 is a ripper, with 298kW/475Nm. That sort of power in a Euro sedan would command six-figure sums but the Red Sport is advertised for about $82,000 drive-away on the Japanese brand's website. Even better, a quick look at the online classifieds reveals very low kilometre 2018-plate demonstrators for just $70,000 drive-away.

 

VOLVO S90

Moving up a size, this is the obvious contender for "hidden gem" status in larger luxury sedans. But the S90, the Swedish marque's rival for the BMW 5 Series, proved so unpopular (at least compared to its SUVs) that the brand quietly dropped the model from its local range in January. Negotiate hard if you can find one.

 

LEXUS GS

The Lexus GS F has an increasingly rare naturally-aspirated V8.
The Lexus GS F has an increasingly rare naturally-aspirated V8.

Another alternative in luxo sedan territory. Due for an update in the near future, the executive four-door brings impressive dynamics (particularly in GS F V8 trim), peerless fit and finish and a certain appeal as examples are reasonably rare on the road. Ferrari sold three cars for every Lexus GS delivered last year, suggesting Australia really hasn't clicked with this car. Buy one this month and you'll get an F-Sport pack worth up to $10,000 thrown in.

 

BMW M140i

The M140i has incredible bang for your buck.
The M140i has incredible bang for your buck.

Sport comes standard in this little cracker. Unlike every other hatchback on sale, BMW's baby car drives the rear wheels with a whopping six-cylinder engine, endowing thrilling driving dynamics. Soon to be replaced by a front-drive successor based on the Mini Cooper, the 1 Series is in runout led by a new M140i Finale. Priced from $62,990 plus on-roads, the special edition brings a range of cosmetic upgrades and luxury touches for $3000 more than a regular M hatch.

 

BMW i8

BMW’s i8 looks like it has been sent from the future.
BMW’s i8 looks like it has been sent from the future.

The plug-in hybrid supercar stablemate is one of the rarest sports cars on the road, with a little more than a dozen sold in 2018 - compared to 241 for Ferrari, 112 for Lamborghini and 511 for Porsche's evergreen 911. Asking price is $318,900 for the coupe, $348,900 for the roadster.

 

HONDA NSX

Honda’s NSX will help you standour in the supercar crowd.
Honda’s NSX will help you standour in the supercar crowd.

There is no rarer supercar. Only six examples of the $420,000 coupe have reached our shores in the past four years, making it far more exclusive than European exotics. The NSX's twin-turbo V6 has been criticised for being less emotional, compared to the thrilling cry of Audi's V10-powered (and $120,000 cheaper) R8 but, in hybrid set-up, it brings sophisticated power and genuine supercar pace to a relatively humble badge.

 

JAGUAR F-PACE

The F-Pace gets lost in the mass of German SUVs.
The F-Pace gets lost in the mass of German SUVs.

SUVs have redefined the luxury car market but not all of them have enjoyed commercial success. The F-Pace languishes in 12th place in its class on the sales charts despite being one of the most attractive and dynamically precise examples on the road. Not as popular as its Land Rover and Range Rover counterparts - as well as the compact E-Pace and electric
I-Pace stablemates - the F-Pace is currently on sale from $67,990 drive-away to help woo customers away from German alternatives.