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Test Drive: Superb Sedans

You might think traditional automotive body styles are a thing of the past. Not so fast. Turns out there are several sedans on the market that qualify as fabulous four-doors.

Test Drive: Lexus LS 500

(Photo: Lexus)

There are cars you start looking at when you get that big promotion at work. Then there are automobiles you buy immediately upon hearing you hit the lottery jackpot. The Lexus LS 500 falls into the latter category.

This full-size luxury sedan’s passenger cabin is notable because of its hushed ambiance. Life was good with my test car, thanks to furnishings covered in soft, quilted leather and genuine wood trim. Front seats adjust 28 ways and offer heating, cooling and massage, so if you can’t get comfortable here, maybe it’s time for a visit to the chiropractor.

There are plenty of other goodies to be had here as well, including an Executive Package that features power-reclining rear seats with shiatsu massage and a pop-up ottoman for Barcalounger-like comfort.

For a car with this level of complexity, everything works surprisingly intuitively. Add solid handling and a supple ride and you have a luxury sedan that says the driver’s ship has come in.

Test Drive: BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe

Sometimes you have to wonder what an automaker was thinking when they named a particular model. The BMW 228i xDrive Gran Coupe is a good example.

Not only is it a crazy mouthful of a name, but it is inarguably a fine small sport sedan (i.e.: ignore the fact that “coupe” ordinarily means just two doors).

The version of this subcompact 2-Series I drove was equal parts sporty and luxurious. The first half of that equation is handled by a twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder capable of sending 228 horsepower to all four wheels. The car’s athletic nature means a less than cushy ride, though there’s no real harshness. Handling is also extremely good, making the 228i a pleasure to drive on a winding stretch of road.

On the luxury front, my test car came loaded with desirable options. Whether all those were worth the hefty price tag – the total came to $9,700 worth of extras – in an era where that same content can be had in much less expensive sedans is a personal decision.

Looking for a new ride? Check out more car reviews at AAA.com/TestDrive.

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