Having largely filled all the white space in the premium luxury segment by pushing the tops of their model ranges well up into six-figure territory, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are heading down the price scale to entry-luxe country. Benz calls the CLA (top) "a style rebel" and is aiming at younger buyers with prices starting at $30,000. The more conservative four-cylinder BMW 320i (bottom) will start at $33,445. Moving downscale means the two German automakers risk sacrificing some of their exclusivity, but at the same time they will also be putting the squeeze on aspirants to luxury-car status (Acura, Lincoln, Volvo, Buick) as well as range-topping models (Avalon, Taurus) from mass marketers.
A look at what's in store for the world's automakers this year will tell a lot about what to expect for cars down the road.