August 11, 2017 at 3:23 pm PST | by Joe Phillips
Fun, four-door sedans

In this town of celebs and power brokers, sedans are a perfect match. They mix four-door functionality with professional panache, especially when automakers add special trim levels like “Executive,” “Premium” or—in the case of the new Lincoln Continental—“Black Label.” But such buttoned-down monikers don’t prevent these rides from being lots of fun.

VW PASSAT SEL PREMIUM
$31,000
Mpg: 23 city/34 highway
0-to-60 mph: 7.7 seconds
While VW offers an Executive trim level for its CC flagship sedan, the high-end version of the midsize Passat is called the SEL Premium. The Passat’s styling is a bit dated—the latest design debuted in 2012—but it still holds its charms. That’s also true inside, where the layout is clean yet flaunts many Audi-chic elements. The bolstered seats, especially, are a delight. There’s also plenty of headroom and legroom, even in the backseats. But the touchscreen is dinky, and the infotainment system isn’t very intuitive. Still, there’s a choice of two fine engines: a fairly quick four-cylinder turbo or a more spirited V6 that lets the Passat scoot from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds. The German engineering also shines through on the road, with responsive steering and braking. Another plus: a long list of standard features, including heated seats, LED headlights/taillights, power-folding mirrors, automated parallel-parking system, hands-free trunk opener with foot sensor, high-end Fender stereo and more.

The INFINITI Q50 3.0t Signature Edition offers a range of highly desirable features, including a power- sliding tinted glass moonroof, INFINITI InTouch Navigation with 3D building graphics, INFINITI InTouch Services including six months of safety, security and convenience services, SiriusXM Traffic, Voice Recognition for navigation functions, Navi Synchronized Adaptive Shift Control, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, and 17-inch bright finish aluminum-alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires.

INFINITI Q50
$34,000
Mpg: 19 city/27 highway
0-to-60 mph: 6.9 seconds
If the old-school exterior on the VW Passat evokes a “dad jeans” sensibility, then the Infiniti Q50 is channeling a skinny-jeans vibe: it’s form fitting, with a tight and sassy rear. This shapely sedan drives just as nice, too, with solid handling and superb body control. A four-cylinder engine comes standard. But it’s hard to resist choosing one of the two zippier V6 options—one of which comes with 400 hp to help rocket the Q50 from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. There also are four trim levels—base, Premium, Signature and Sport—with various mix-and-match packages. But all trims come with push-button start, smartphone-app integration and an infotainment system with voice recognition. The backup camera also offers a 360-degree, bird’s-eye view that really helps when parking. While there are other niceties—like an eight-inch upper touchscreen and seven-inch lower touchscreen—the interior hasn’t kept up with the times. And though there is a hybrid version, the Q50’s other engines aren’t as fuel-friendly as what many competitors offer. But this Infiniti still scores when it comes to the long warranty, affordable price, and top-notch ratings for safety and reliability.

2017 Lincoln Continental

LINCOLN CONTINENTAL BLACK LABEL
$65,000
Mpg: 18 city/27 highway
0-to-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
Many millennials probably don’t understand the hoopla surrounding the rebirth of the Lincoln Continental. After all, it’s been 15 years since this sedan—basically an also-ran for rental-car companies—graced dealer showrooms. And it doesn’t help that Lincoln has a confusing lineup: MKC, MKS, MKT, MKX, MKZ (and the giant Navigator SUV), which are basically gussied-up versions of Ford products. Yet the new Continental proves how silver foxes can reinvent themselves. With a stunning grill and other styling borrowed from Bentley, the Continental is much more than a replacement for the MKS sedan. This is a full-size flagship, measuring 117.9 inches in length and weighing a hefty 4,555 lb. Luckily, any of the three available V6 engines have plenty of pep to power this land yacht. And there is opulence everywhere, with the much-ballyhooed 30-way power seats, rear-seat climate controls, dual sunroofs and all the latest safety gear. The four trim levels include a base-model Premier, Select, Reserve and high-end Black Label—which also comes with a concierge program for pickup and delivery, complimentary car washes (anytime/anywhere) and other services. Perhaps the only thing this car doesn’t do is pump your gas for you.

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