2014 Audi A7
With four doors and a coupe-like roofline, this is Audi’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. Like the more conservatively styled A6 sedan upon which it’s based, the A7 receives a diesel engine for 2014. It’s the same V-6 that promises the same 0-60 mph time and the same 29 mpg combined. At the other end of the A7 spectrum is the new-for-2014 RS 7. It has a 560-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, a 0-60-mph time of just 3.7 seconds, and an EPA combined 19 mpg. The mainstream A7 3.0T and performance S7 are carryovers whose fuel economy falls between the RS 7 and A7 TDI. These are exceptional touring cars with slightly cramped rear-seat headroom and steep pricing among their few downsides. Base price range is $65,395-$105,795.
2014 Audi A8
Audi’s big bet on diesel extends to its flagship sedan. Powered by the same turbodiesel V-6 as the A6 and A7 TDIs, the 2014 A8 TDI can do 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds while rating 28 mpg combined. Gasoline-powered A8s return in V-6 3.0T, V-8 4.0T, performance S8, and ultra-luxury W12 trim levels. The 3.0T and 4.0T offer the choice of standard- and extended-wheelbase body styles. The TDI and W12 are long-wheelbase lone, while the S8 comes only on the shorter platform. These imposing Audis offer just about every gee-whiz automotive gadget you can think of, all wrapped in stately exterior styling and gorgeous interiors. Though its more fuel-efficient, the A8 TDI is slower and quite a bit more expensive than the 3.0T. Combined fuel economy for gasoline A8s ranges from 16-21 mpg. Base-price range is $75,995-$136,795.
2014 BMW 5 Series
BMW’s bellwether midsize car enters 2014 with updated styling, a new diesel engine, and more standard equipment. The 5 Series lineup sounds eerily similar to that of the rival Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It encompasses gasoline four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines along with turbodiesel and ultra-high-performance variants. There’s a gas/electric ActiveHybrid 5, which you can learn about in the CarPreview.com 2014 Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide. BMW also sells a four-door hatchback edition of this car called the 5 Series Gran Turismo, which is a bit of a misnomer since it borrows much of its design from the larger 7 Series. Any 5 Series is enjoyable to drive, but their interior materials can be a bit bland compared to the best in this class. BMW also has a habit of charging a pretty penny for items that tend to come standard on other luxury cars. EPA combined city/highway fuel economy ranges from 19-30 mpg, depending on model, with most falling in at 23-27. Base price range is $50,425-$92,900.