If Ford, Chevy and Dodge were all three unveiling new 2-door mini-cars onto the auto market in the U.S. there would surely be a battle-royale in the marketing blitz to see: 1. who was fastest, 2.who was safest and 3. who could sup’ down the most fuel (And History shows the results would likely be 1. Chevy 2. Ford and 3. Dodge). However, that is not the case here as the players in the new 2-door luxury compact (oops, they don’t use that word anymore) car market are Audi, BMW and Volvo… the ABV’s if you will. Known more for the European refinement and sophistication it seems more likely that these three automakers will rely more on their own reputation to more their new wheels into this new market. The Audi A3, BMW 1-Series and the Volvo C30 express the most recent design attributes that permeate their larger model cars and sporty engines already employed in larger siblings, and that on top of their nameplates helps to build a little excitement for each of them.
So it seems like it is time to do a little visual shopping.
First to bat is the Audi A3 which came out last year to some mild applause. It was the first luxury brand to really test the compact market with a sporty entrant of this caliber. Take a look at the road test below of the A3 to see if it wets your whistle any.
Next up is the BMW 1-series that is finally about to land in North America after receiving its first introduction into the market in Europe. The 1-Series is just not sneaking onto the market with modest support and thrust power.. Oh no. BMW is unleashing its 135i with 306 horses and the capabilities of an M class car minus the badges. So far there have not been too many test drives available for the new 135i so for the time being we will have to be teased by the in-house footage provided by BMW.
And rounding out the selection is the Volvo C30, which may actually be the sleeper of the bunch. It seems odd to call a car with such unique styling a sleeper, but when you are reminded that it is a Volvo some people automatically think of their grandma and her boxy, safe Volvo wagon. Once you are labeled with something it takes a lot of time to break those stereotypes and rebuild an image of dignified excitement, as is the case with Volvo. They are not straying from the safety that built their original reputation, but they are certainly looking to expand their reach in the market. The C30 is just the car they need to strike early at the 20-30 something;s to start rebuilding their brand loyalty at an earlier age customer. To see a bit of what the designers were thinking as they shaped the Volvo C-30 watch the video below.
All three cars above are going to lead to some fun comparison and should definitely give some Mini Cooper buyers something else to think about. I for one cannot wait to get my hands on an A3, a 135i and a C30 as I head deep into my New Car shopping season. Shop Shop Shop!