Time for great premium deals - get a Volvo at Corolla price
THIS is not quite luxury on a beer budget but you may be surprised just how sharp some of the current deals are in the prestige segment. As more buyers embrace SUVs, sales of luxury sedans and hatches have taken a hit - so there are a lot of high-end cars in showrooms with unprecedented discounts.
Premium players customarily find it crass to talk openly about price but they now have to be more bold with their deals or risk getting stuck with old stock.
If you walked into a prestige dealership and asked about a sedan they'd pretty much shackle you, so low has been the inquiry rate.
Some brands - such as Audi, Jaguar and Land Rover - are still trying the approach of "come in and see us for outstanding savings and free on-road costs" without publishing their sharper prices.
However, other brands are being more transparent with their discounts, even introducing special models to help move metal. Here are the picks of the deals so far.
Fancy a BMW for the price of a top-end Volkswagen Golf? It's possible now the 118i has been slashed to $39,900 drive-away, about $5000 off full price.
Power comes from a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo - actually no slouch, and super frugal - and it looks the part with the M Sport kit thrown into the deal.
Want more grunt? There's a 125i with the M Sport pack for $49,900 drive-away. That's also about $5000 off full price but there may be further wriggle room, so aim for a slightly sharper deal.
Here's a surprise: BMW is starting to do deals on the M140 hot hatch. Powered by a
3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo, it can be had for the same price as a Golf R with the works: $64,900 drive-away, about $5000 off full price.
The 3 Series also has two "shadow" editions: the 320i is $58,900 drive-away (about $6000 off) while the potent 330i is $67,900 drive-away (about $8000 off full price).
Want to clear your conscience and save on fuel while you're saving the planet?
The Toyota Prius-based Lexus CT200h has come off the boil big time so the company has loaded it with extra equipment rather than slash the price.
The stylish F-Sport pack worth $7800 is now thrown in free on the base model, which on the online calculator is listed at $46,600 drive-away.
However, we're reliably informed you can pitch a lower price - aim for another $2000 off the price or an extra $2000 on your trade-in.
Same deal on the IS300 sedan, powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo. The F-Sport pack is included and the price is $66,695 drive-away - with the works.
Given the sharp deals - circa $60,000 - on the 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class (see below), don't be shy about haggling down from the IS300's starting point.
It's rare for there to be a deal on the top-seller yet that's the case with the C-Class. A limited edition C200 has been introduced ahead of a minor facelift in the coming months.
For $60,900 drive-away, the Edition C comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also gets the AMG-style front bumper. Changes to the updated model are minor, so this is a deadset bargain, about $6000 off full price.
Volvo cars are usually a touch overpriced compared to the German counterparts so it's refreshing to see some deals emerge the Swedish brand's hatches.
The V40 can be had the same price as a top-end Toyota Corolla: $35,888 drive-away. The T3 is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo matched to a six-speed auto.
If you need a little more zip there is the T4 with a 2.0-litre turbo for $43,888 drive-away, while the sporty flagship T5 - with a 180kW/350Nm version of the 2.0 - can be had for $49,888 drive-away.