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Acura TSX, Audi A4 are best bets among luxury sedans

2012 Acura TSX

2012 Acura TSX (Credit: Handout)

Q: Do you recommend the Acura TSX, Audi A4, Volkswagen CC or BMW 128?

A: Of the four you listed, the Acura TSX and Acura A4 are the ones we recommend. They are among our 2012 Best Bets in the luxury sedan category, and both offer buyers good performance, an array of technology and luxury features, and a range of choices in body styles and powertrains. Both are Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The TSX, essentially a European Honda Accord dressed for success in the U.S., comes as a front-drive sedan and a wagon with a choice of four-cylinder or V-6 engines and manual or automatic transmissions.

All versions of the A4, Audi's volume model in the U.S., come with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but buyers can choose from front- or all-wheel drive, manual or automatic transmissions (including one with eight speeds) and sedan and wagon body styles.

The TSX is in a lower price range, roughly $30,000 to $35,000, compared with the A4, which starts at $32,500 but can get close to $45,000 at the higher end. Acura also provides longer warranty coverage, four years or 50,000 miles for basic coverage and six years or 70,000 miles for the powertrain. Audi's basic coverage and powertrain coverage are for four years or 50,000 miles.

What's more, Acura consistently scores higher in J.D. Power and Associates' Vehicle Dependability Study, which measures problems in cars during their third year of ownership. The TSX also had the second-fewest problems among entry-level premium cars in Power's 2011 Initial Quality Study, which measured problems in the first 90 days of ownership.

On balance, we would go with the TSX, but you should try both to see which suits you better.

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