Is there a future for tiny, high-tech luxury cars?

So what's next?

Today’s car buyers have downsized, but still demand popular features like navigation systems, Bluetooth and leather seats. Options that were available on their gas-guzzling SUVs. Automakers have answered this by offering many of these features on models that years ago didn’t even come standard with air conditioning! The Honda Civic can now be equipped with a navigation system and leather seats straight from the factory, but in the 1990′s there were Civics on dealer lots without a simple radio and manually operated windows.

As smaller becomes more of the norm, is there a future for small luxury cars that are packed with the latest technology? With cars like the Mini Cooper, the answer is yes. Americans have always believed that a luxury car had to be big. Look at the Cadillac Escalade, a large SUV that guzzled gas, but made you feel like the king of the world. Everyone wanted to be you! Just as Ford and Chevy now offer more appealing small cars for the economical car buyer, the luxury automakers have started to downsize their lineups. Most recently Audi has dropped the large V10 engines from its high-performance models for more efficient turbocharged V8s and Volvo has announced plans to only offer four-cylinder engines in its future models. Luxury is no longer defined by the size of your engine or how big you car is.

Super sleek! Super sleek!
Super sleek!

Luxury automakers have also given many previews of what we can expect to see in the near future. At the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz previewed its next-generation A-Class with the A-Class concept, a compact hatchback that is much smaller than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship sedan. The A-Class, which is expected to come to the U.S. for the 2013 model year, will be powered by a small turbocharged four-cylinder engine and dual-clutch transmission that sends the power to the front wheels. The A-Class concept was packed with tech features like a collision avoidance system that is designed to warn drivers about possible collisions and an infotainment system that fully integrates with your smartphone.