Wheels' Gold Star car award uses data such as depreciation and running costs to calculate what the best value new cars in eight different segments are. To understand how we calculate the numbers and what considerations were put into the algorithm, read the 2019 Gold Star Car Award 101 here.
The top 3 premium sedan contenders
- Lexus IS 300h
- Audi A4 35 TFSI
- Mercedes-Benz C200
What the numbers said
A recurring theme for winners in our GSC categories is that they’re the most affordable of the top three finalists. Not so the Lexus IS 300h. Splitting the difference in price to the Audi and Benz, the IS 300h claws back points with its efficient hybrid drivetrain, longer warranty period, and reasonable insurance cost.
In contrast to the usual three-year warranty offered in the premium segment, Lexus offers a longer four-year term for added peace of mind, and it again splits the Germans with a comprehensive insurance quote at $949 per year. Besting the Audi and Lexus’s 12 month/15,000km service interval, the Mercedes wins with a longer 25,000km period, despite housing a sophisticated 48-volt hybrid system.
The Audi scores a solid point for its lower depreciation, dropping $27,489 over three years.
Lexus IS 300h
The IS 300 might cost nearly $6K more than the fine-driving Audi A4, but its combination of extensive standard spec, decent dynamics, hybrid thrift and four-year warranty are sufficient to earn it the Wheels pick.