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Entry Level Luxury Buyer's Guide - 2004

2005 Entry-Level Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

They peek at us from new car showroom windows. They tempt us from the next freeway lane. They smile at us from billboards, from magazine pages and TV ads. And we find ourselves searching the internet with intent for any details we can find.

These are the entry-level luxury autos that -- at last -- we know we have earned. They forego the feeling of driving as necessity, and confirm its reality as a participant sport, a statement of authority, a signature of our well-deserved place in the sun.

They are cars that go beyond average and arrive at special, that show us a myriad of electronic gadgets to do our bidding, with power to tromp from mundane to muscle, with style to excite, and panache to soothe like nothing else can.

In our quest for uncompromising elegance, we eventually may look towards a tonier, and costlier sibling than these that come in under the $40,000 radar. (As if something more would be necessary.) For we realize -- right now -- with a sense of sweet satisfaction, this is the time and this is the way to declare, "I've arrived."