“With four distinct trim levels, the Chrysler 200 can match the wherewithal of many pocketbooks while employing the latest in safety and technology to deliver an affordable upscale driving experience…”
by Rob Rothwell
You can pay a fortune for a premium brand but you needn’t break the bank to buy wheels with style.
Chrysler 200 (starting MSRP $19,945)
Chrysler stunned the marketplace with the introduction of its completely new 200 Sedan, resetting benchmarks for style, panache, and performance within a fiercely competitive segment. And with a starting MSRP of just $19,945, the 200 undercuts many of its competitors, yet its real strength is found in its range of trim levels and power options. The base engine is a 2.4L four-cylinder affair that feeds 184 horsepower to the front wheels through a segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission. Going upscale in the 200 brings with it Chrysler’s powerful 295 horsepower Pentastar 3.6L V6 engine paired with the nine-speed autobox and all-wheel-drive traction. Standard features include eight airbags, Keyless Enter ‘n Go, and Chrysler’s Uconnect 3.0 multimedia centre. Options include Blind Spot Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, and Active Park Assist. With four distinct trim levels, the Chrysler 200 can match the wherewithal of many pocketbooks while employing the latest in safety and technology to deliver an affordable upscale driving experience.
2.4L I-4 10.2L/6.4L100km city/highway
3.6L V6 12.4L/7.5L100km city/highway
Acura TLX (base MSRP $34,900)
The four-door Acura TLX Sedan replaces the former TSX and TL sport sedans, merging their respective strengths into a single product positioned as the brand’s mid-level contender. With a base sticker of $34,900, the TLX delivers plenty of sport-inspired luxury built around a 206 horsepower 2.4L four-cylinder power plant fused to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Propulsion is directed frontward unless the V6 Technology Package and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system with torque vectoring are opted for. In which case, all four wheels share in 290 horsepower produced by the 3.5L SOHC i-VTEC mill. A sophisticated nine-speed automatic transmission further contributes to the engaging performance of the V6-powered TLX. In addition to a more rigid body structure, the TLX provides increased safety and collision avoidance with the use of technology such as Jewel Eye LED headlights, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and Blind Spot Information with Cross Traffic Warning. Comfort and convenience essentials include the availability of premium 10-speaker audio along with voice-activated navigation.
2.4L I-4 9.6L/6.6L/100km city/highway
3.5L V6 11.2L/6.9L/100km city/highway
Audi A3 (base MSRP $31,100)
Looking remarkably like the highly successful Audi A4 Sedan despite casting a shadow 245mm shorter, the new A3 Sedan is sure to capture the attention of entry-level Audi buyers that scorn the A3’s hatchback design despite the vehicle’s praiseworthy driving dynamics and general practicality. Pricing for the new A3 Sedan starts at $31,100 with the 170 horsepower 1.8L TFSI I-4 power plant turning the front wheels through the auspices of Audi’s six-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Upping the ante to $35,900 secures a 220 horsepower 2.0L TFSI I-4 connected to all four corners via Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive technology. Diesel power is also available in the A3 Sedan, though paired only with front-wheel-drive. Option combinations include Audi’s Styling Package, Navigation Package, and their sport-oriented S line Package. Audi has always been a technology leader, and the A3 Sedan shares in that reputation with a vast array of onboard safety and protection systems.
Fuel Economy: TBD
Mercedes-Benz C 300 Sedan – C400 Sedan (base MSRP C 300 $43,000 – C400 $51,400)
Despite slotting beneath the venerable E-Class in the Mercedes-Benz hierarchy of sedans, the new C-Class Sedan takes on a notably formal appearance and a more upscale demeanor for 2015. It’s also lighter and more powerful thanks to the extensive use of aluminum and a pair of revised engines. The C 300 receives a turbocharged 2.0L I-4 power plant capable of 241 horsepower. Need more oomph? A 3.0L twin-turbo V6 places 329 horsepower under the hood of the C 400. Both engines feed all four wheels through Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel-drive technology. The sole use of 4MATIC is a Canadian-market exclusive. Along with new sheet metal and a lavishly-appointed cabin, the C-Class is equipped with the latest generation of COMMAND by Mercedes-Benz. This highly sophisticated infotainment/navigation system is lifted directly from the S-Class flagship. Audiophiles will appreciate the availability of Burmester surround-sound audio components, which are hand-made in Germany.
C 300 10.9L/7.5L/100km city/highway
C 400 11.1L/8.4L/100km city/highway
BMW 228i – M235i (base MSRP 228i $36,000 – M235i $48,750)
Reminiscent of the legendary 1968 BMW 2002 Coupe, today’s 228i and M235i Coupes combine the outstanding driving dynamics of the stubby BMW 1-Series Coupe, which they replace, with a sleeker, more aggressive interpretation of the iconic brand’s ethos. The 228i is the tamer of the pair, but with 241 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, its 2.0L twin-turbocharged I-4 engine delivers highly spirited performance nonetheless. If outright exhilaration is the target, the M235i is the ticket. Its twin-turbocharged 3.0L I-6 mill produces 322 horsepower and 332 lb.-ft. of endless torque. For true driver-oriented motoring, both vehicles can be fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox in place of the new 8-speed automatic transmission. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive traction is also available, but can only be paired with the automatic transmission. With the availability of a manual gearbox backed by a choice of turbocharged power plants, the new BMW 2-Series may just be the “ultimate driving machine.”
228i 9.1L/5.6L/100km city/highway
M235i 11.2L/7.1L/100km city/highway