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Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Hottest battle among automakers: Luxury under $50,000

Source: Mercedes-Benz USA

Looking to drive in luxury for less than $50,000? Right now may the best opportunity in years to get the model you want at the price you want. Thanks to a combination of aggressive lease deals and more choices for entry-level luxury, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Cadillac sales for less than $50,000 are soaring.

"The battle among luxury auto brands to capture buyers with models under $50,000 is the fiercest it's ever been," said's Jessica Caldwell. "Look at all the models out there right now in that price range. They are all very good models, so there are more choices for first-time buyers."

(Read more: Fiat denies Marchionne dissed Chrysler IPO to analysts) crunched the numbers for CNBC and found almost two thirds of the mass-market luxury models sold in the U.S. go for less than $50,000.