Luxury cars are usually costly and sizeable things with lots of technology and comfortable interiors that help you travel in complete serenity. But what if you want that sensation but have a small city parking space and don’t want to spend huge sums of cash?
That’s where small luxury cars come in to the picture – this growing market answers the needs of aspirational Europeans without being too big to weave through tight city streets. We’re listing the best small cars with luxury appointments that make you feel special every time you get behind the wheel.
BMW i3 – from £30,980
The BMW i3 (also shown in the top photo) is a small electric car that gives a luxury car feel by just being completely different to any other car. You can buy it as a battery-only car or, for £3,000 more, you can have a range-extending petrol engine under the boot floor – this increases the driving range from 90 miles to around 150.
The interior is futuristic too, with blue piping around the steering wheel, and front and rear doors that hinge in opposite directions. This means that with both doors open there’s no pillar separating the front and rear of the cabin (shown above) – perfect if you struggle to squeeze into other small cars.
Probably the most impressive thing about the i3, however, is the way it drives. The power is instantaneous and puts a huge grin on your face – it covers the 0-62mph sprint in 7.2 seconds, which is as fast as some hot hatchbacks.
Pop the BMW i3 in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class – from £20,715
The latest generation Mercedes A-Class is a family hatchback that feels taut and sporty –and, for many buyers, it’s one of the best-looking small cars on sale.
It takes styling cues from the rest of the Mercedes range, which means a nice elegant cockpit made with high quality materials. It’s good to drive too – it feels agile and the suspension copes well with the lumps and bumps of British roads. Beware, though, that the ride quality borders on uncomfortable if you buy one of the more sporty trim levels with the larger AMG wheels.
Spec up your ideal Mercedes A-Class in our car configurator to see what discounts are on offer.
Audi A3 – from £18,615
The Audi A3 is a car that makes you feel good about yourself the second you sit inside. Its interior has a minimal design and it’s easy to look at the four or five buttons on the centre console and feel like you’re missing out on a lot of gadgets. You needn’t worry – Audi has just made it easy to control the car’s systems using as few buttons as possible.
It’s a good car to drive too – the suspension soaks up imperfections in British roads and the steering gives you huge amounts of confidence to take corners quickly.
The engines are excellent too. If you want something a bit more exciting, you can pay the extra and go for the four-wheel drive 296hp S3 or, if that isn’t enough for you, there’s a 362hp RS3 waiting in the wings to really blow your mind.
Throw the Audi A3 in our car configurator to see what deals are available.
Audi TT – from £29,810
The Audi TT is one of the best coupes on sale. Not only does it look fantastic, have a fabulously designed and well built interior but it drives like a proper sports car should.
The TT’s interior can be specified with the new Virtual Cockpit screen – essentially one big computer screen that replaces the traditional speedo and rev-counter dials. You can personalise what you put on the screen, and it’s rather handy to turn the entire screen into one huge sat-nav.
Like the A3, the engines the TT comes with are fantastic. For example, the 184hp 2.0-litre TDI ultra Sport model can achieve 67.3mpg, but it can also sprint from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds. The super-sporty TTS can do the 0-60mph dash in just 4.6 seconds – as fast as Italian supercars from just ten years ago.
Spec up your perfect Audi TT in our car configurator to see what discounts are on offer.
Volvo V40 – from £19,195
The Volvo V40 is a truly great alternative to the German cars on this list. It’s stylish, and the build quality and driving experience matches most rivals. Despite all this, it still has a sense of calmness unique to Volvos, and the V40’s soft suspension makes it a comfortable place to sit for long journeys.
The seats, in particular, are exceptionally comfortable and offer support even your favourite armchair will struggle to match. It’s well worth the look if you want something slightly different to the rest of the pack.
Put the Volvo V40 in our car configurator to see the available discounts.
Audi A1 – from £14,355
The Audi A1 is arguably the smallest car on sale that gives you a posh-feeling interior. OK, it’s not quite as luxurious as its bigger (and more expensive) brother, the A3, but for a supermini, it’s excellent. The materials used in the cabin all feel lovely and the ride is comfortable for such a small car.
It has a selection of diesel and petrol engines that range from super-economical to super-fast, and it’s easy to park in town thanks to its small size.
It’s not as fun to drive as other cars in this list but, if you want an A1 that has a bit of a attitude, you could go for the excellent S1 which has a similar engine to the powerful VW Golf R.
Spec up an Audi A1 in our car configurator to see what deals are available.
BMW 1 Series – from £20,245
The BMW 1 Series is one of the best hatchbacks when it comes to driving pleasure. It’s comfortable but, when you get to a corner, it’ll happily put a smile on your face. It has a great with all the equipment and high quality materials you could reasonably want, plus there’s enough room for passengers – even in the rear.
The engine line-up is just as impressive as any of the other cars in the list which means its as comfortable driving around town as it is cruising along the motorway. If you want that extra bit of excitement, there’s the M135i which has a kidney-thumping 3.0-litre engine producing 322hp.
Pick your favourite BMW 1 Series in our car configurator to see the discounts available.
Mini five-door – from £15,675
All Mini models feel like small luxury cars – they have well-designed and built interiors, and the overall feel is of a thoroughly modern car with a bit of retro charm.
The five-door version doesn’t have huge amounts of room for rear-seat passengers, but it’s fine for short journeys. The way the Mini drives is impressive too – it turns into corners quickly and doesn’t lean lots like taller cars tend to.
The engines on offer are frugal and fun to use – it’s even available with same 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine found in the ground-breaking BMW i8 supercar (albeit with less power) – a good claim to fame.
Pop the Mini in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
Range Rover Evoque – from £29,205
Any car with a Range Rover badge needs to be luxurious, and the Evoque doesn’t disappoint. It puts all the usual Range Rover attributes – off-road ability and a comfortable interior – in a smaller body than usual.
The Evoque’s driving experience is impressive too. It doesn’t have the most powerful or most efficient engines, but even though it’s a tall-bodied and high-riding vehicle, it can match the most sporting hatchbacks down a twisty back road while still being as comfortable as bigger Range Rover models when you just want to cruise along.
It’s worth mentioning, it can do all the on-road driving as well as any other car on this page, but it’s untouchable off-road compared to of the small luxury car competitors.
Stick the Range Rover Evoque in our car configurator to see the discounts on offer.
Save more on small luxury cars
Use the carwow configurator to build your next car and get great deals from the UK’s most helpful car dealers. Or, if these cars are a bit on the small side for you, check out our favourite big executive cars.