BMW 3 Series
The new BMW 3 Series grows even larger than before and now measures 4.71 metres long. Half of the increase is attributable to the wheelbase so that the saloon can now offer more space inside.
Internationally, the updated engine range consists of two petrol-fueled and two diesel-fueled four-cylinder engines, in addition to a diesel-fueled six-cylinder.
In the months after launch, a petrol-fueled six-cylinder joins the range, and a plug-in hybrid arrives later, too.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Launched in 2016, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is still a relatively new player in the premium saloon segment. With powerful engines offering up to 505 bhp and chic looks, the Italian model is on par with BMW.
The Giulia is a bit shorter at roughly 4.64 metres, but that should hardly bother anyone. Like the 3 Series, all-wheel drive is available for buyers in climates where the extra traction is a selling point.
While in the same segment as the 3 Series, the Audi A4 does things differently by being front-wheel drive in its base form, although many buyers opt for the Four Rings' famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Until the RS4 arrives, the S4 sits at the top of the range with a 354-bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6. A 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine is available in 148-bhp guise. The V6 3.0-litre TDI engines are smoother and sound nicer, though, and don’t cost much more. A surprise of the range is the entry-level 1.4-litre TFSI petrol.
Launched in 2013, the Infiniti Q50 is an aging member of the premium saloon segment, but a refresh for the 2018 model year keeps it competing in the market. The improvements include better visibility LED headlights and an available ProPilot semi-autonomous system.
Like the 3 Series, the standard Q50 is rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel-drive variants are available.
For petrol engines, the base 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has 208 bhp. A 3.0-liter V6 is available with 400 bhp. For diesel a 2.2-litre four-cylinder has 168 bhp. And of course the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid with 359 bhp.
The Jaguar hasn't had a proper competitor against the 3 Series since the much-maligned X-Type. Thankfully, the XE is a much better vehicle than its largely Ford-derived ancestor.
Like the 3 Series, the XE is rear-drive in base form but available with all-wheel drive. The Jaguar is available with a 161-bhp, 178-bhp or 237-bhp 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder, and in petrol flavour a 197-bhp, 247-bhp and 300-bhp 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
The current-generation Lexus IS dates from the 2014 model year. While that doesn't seem like that long ago, in the fast-moving premium saloon segment it might as well be forever. This makes the model seem old-fashioned by current standards by lacking now-commonplace features like a digital instrument cluster or multiple electronic displays on the centre stack.
The refreshed Mercedes-Benz C-Class debuted with more tech in February. It measures 4.69 metres long, which is slightly shorter than the BMW. Both models offer standard rear-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Buyers can choose between four, six, and eight-cylinder powerplants. The range-topping Mercedes-AMG C63 has 503 bhp, and there's still a long time until a new M3 competes against it.
The new Volvo S60 will start leaving the brand's new factory in South Carolina, USA in the fourth quarter of 2018, which will put it on the market shortly before the G20 3 Series.
Like the Audi A4, the S60 is front-wheel drive in base form but available with all-wheel drive.
Volvo's well-known 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is the base powerplant with 250-bhp on front-drive. There are also versions with 316-hp and a range-topping plug-in hybrid with 400 bhp or 415 bhp on the Polestar Engineered version.
In the United Kingdom, it's hard to consider someone cross-shopping the Volkswagen Passat and BMW 3 Series. However, the Passat is a segment sales leader. It beats the new 3 Series in trunk volume with 589 litres for the VW versus 480 litres for the BMW.
The Passat already offers the plug-in hybrid GTE variant, whereas European buyers need to wait several months to get a 3 Series with a plug.
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