In the ultra-competative Upscale Midsize Car class, the BMW 3 Series coupe and sedan still lead the pack, but Cadillac and Infiniti are catching up fast. The rankings are based on U.S. News editors' analysis of published reviews and test drives of every car in the class. Though the class has its share of winners and loser, most live up to their premium price tags -- meaning that whatever you buy in this class, you're likely to drive away happy. Check out the class winners and losers below, or see them in pictures.
The Top Five
BMW 3-Series Coupe
The 2008 BMW 3-Series coupe earns the top score on the strength of its combination of styling and performance. The blue and white BMW badge on the hood promises excitement and the inline six-cylinder engine delivers. The sleek styling and unexpectedly useable back seat give the coupe an edge over the four-door model.
The more practical and slightly more upright-looking 2008 BMW 3-Series Sedan has won an array of awards for its outstanding ride and handling. Reviewers appreciate the silky smoothness of the inline six-cylinder engine, and the 3-Series boasts outstanding crash safety, superior long-term cost-of-ownership and the ability to gather envious looks from other drivers.
Offering an alternative to the top-ranked sport coupes and sedans, the 2008 Lexus ES350 delivers opulence and refinement in reliable and comfortable cruiser with no sporting pretensions. Typical of Lexus, the ride is quiet and the ES is available with a full array of comfort and safety features.
Welcome to the big leagues, Cadillac! The 2008 Cadillac CTS has earned accolades from every reviewer, thanks to its muscular engine, responsive handling and unique, non-derivative styling. Motor Trend's 2008 Car of the Year, the CTS scores ties for fourth place on the quality of its materials and construction, array of advanced features and BMW-chasing performance.
Infiniti G37 Coupe
Tying the Cadillac for fourth place is the racy Infiniti G37 Coupe, a car which ranks well thanks to its exciting styling and its thrilling driving experience. The G37's V6 engine is an industry benchmark for power and refinement and can be matched with either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The interior, while improved over the previous model, still falls short of competitors.
Bottom Four Upscale Midsize Cars
Despite earning a spot near the bottom of the list, the 2008 Volvo S60 is a good car in a competitive class. The S60 gets praise for its handsome body and signature Scandinavian cabin design. Safety and reliability earn good scores too, but the Volvo's turbocharged five-cylinder engine falls short of the driving experience provided by the better six-cylinder engines in the class.
Saabs are well-respected for their sporty driving characteristics and the 2008 Saab 9-5 upholds that tradition. But the sharp handling comes at the price of a rough ride, and the powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine lacks the polish of competitors' powerplants. Safety, as ever, is a virtue, but the Saab is one of the most expensive cars in the segment.
Lincoln plots its own styling direction, with a distinctive interior and exterior for the MKZ. The car's strong V6 engine impresses reviewers, as does the large trunk and comfortable seats. But the lack of electronic stability control, a crucial safety feature in a class where that is typically standard, iffy brakes and an inconveniently large turning radius leaves testers unimpressed.
The 2008 Jaguar X-Type wears a premium badge, but the car beneath the leaping cat hood ornament is derived from the same hardware as the mid-'90s Ford Contour economy sedan, and it shows. The elegant Jaguar styling won its share of compliments, but like a VW Beetle kit car wearing a Ferrari body, the X-Type can't cash the checks its name and body style are writing.
Want to see where your favorite ranks? Check out our full Upscale Midsize Car rankings for the full list and in-depth reviews of each car in this exciting class, or see the winners and losers in our photo gallery.