It isn’t easy to make the best luxury car. It’s something that takes a strong pedigree, incredible engineering, and the finest appointments. And over the years, quite a few cars have perfected that formula and made their mark on automotive history forever. Here are the Top Luxury Cars we think define automotive luxury.
2020 is the last model year for this legend, and we know we won’t be alone in missing it. If you thought Mercedes-Benz’s flagship sedan was already the ultimate luxury package, the addition of a twin-turbocharged V-12 that is hand-built in AMG’s Affalterbach, Germany headquarters takes it a step further in opulence, and most importantly, speed. The S65 spares no expense, makes no compromise, and leaves nothing to be desired.
Talking about luxury cars without mentioning Rolls Royce is like talking about America’s Founding Fathers and not mentioning George Washington. Rolls Royce is the blueprint for luxury cars the world over, and arguably, the Phantom is the blueprint for Rolls Royce. Down to every single detail like lambswool floor mats and the eponymous Starlight headliner, the Rolls Royce Phantom is the spirit (pun intended) of luxury.
“The Ultimate Driving Machine” is a slogan that BMW takes very seriously, which is why their M5 is the gold standard for luxury sports sedans. The M5 proved to the world that a luxury car could make the driver’s seat the best seat in the house with BMW’s famously superior driving dynamics and up to 617 horsepower to work with.
The Audi A8 is a statement, an iconic testament to the German automotive philosophy. It’s a luxury car that, like no other, radiates elegance, class, and above all, seriousness. Its optional W-12 powerplant, Bang and Olufsen sound system, and suspension that leans the car to one side to mitigate collisions are just some of the features that make the Audi A8 a luxury masterpiece.
Mercedes-Benz BRABUS 900 Maybach S650
We respectfully disagree with Marvel fans that say Avengers: Infinity War was the most ambitious crossover event in history, and that’s because a V-12-powered Mercedes-Maybach S650 that tuning house Brabus got their hands on makes for quite the recipe. This German automotive All-Stars event envelops its occupants into gorgeous quilted leather seats only to send them on their way to a top speed of a staggering 220 miles per hour. That isn’t a typo.
Lexus LS 460
Lexus took the automotive world by storm with the introduction of its LS in 1990, and their flagship sedan’s reputation for innovation, incredibly sound engineering, and pure luxury is well deserved to this day. Its elegance, dependability, and beautiful appointments put Japan on the map of the luxury automotive world, and with each new iteration of the LS, Lexus keeps them there.
There’s no luxury car like a Jaguar, and there’s no Jaguar like the XJ. We’d travel across just about any pond we have to if it means getting to drive the long, wide and intimidating classic that is the Jaguar XJ. It’s a luxury sedan in its purest form, which honors its long and storied past, and stands the test of time with its integrity and commitment to British luxury.
This isn’t your grandpa's Cadillac. Just when the world thought American luxury cars were a thing of the past, General Motors turned around and put the engine of a ZO6 Corvette into their already sporty, nimble Cadillac CTS, and what a car it was. Since then, the CTS-V has only improved, with magnetic ride control, semi-aniline leather, and an incredible top speed of 200 miles per hour in its last generation.
Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600
The Maybach name carries quite a bit of weight, so when Mercedes-Benz put it on their top-of-the-line V-12 S Class sedan, they had to mean it. So if enormous, disc-like chrome wheels, built-in fragrance system for the interior, or a 24-speaker Burmester sound system don’t remind you of what kind of luxury car you’re in, something else about this ode to luxury will.
There’s just something special about driving a Maserati, or even looking at one, and we can’t even begin to put our finger on what it is, but it’s unmistakable, and the Quattroporte epitomizes that Maserati X-factor. Where else would anyone want to be than behind the wheel of one of the world’s finest Italian luxury sedans, let alone with a monstrous Ferrari V8 under the hood?
It goes without saying that there is absolutely no equivalent to a Porsche, and that includes the Panamera sedan. Being a brand known for cars with incredible driving fidelity, the Panamera couldn’t just be a luxury car, it had to be a luxury Porsche. If what you’re looking to do is get from 0-60 in 5 seconds and bring three friends along for the ride, the Panamera is the car you want.
The Bentley Mulsanne is a car that is, beyond anything, opulent. When Bentley made the Mulsanne they defined luxury as a lack of any compromise, which is why the Mulsanne is a luxury car that will do just about anything that the driver asks of it. With its ultimate smoothness and poise, the Mulsanne can also take its driver by surprise when they dig into the throttle. The Mulsanne is as powerful and self-assured as an automobile can be.
Bentley Continental GT
Bentley’s Continental GT did more than just earn its Grand Touring suffix, it redefined it. With the introduction of the Continental GT in 2003, they raised the bar for what a luxury grand tourer should be. With its innovative four wheel drive system, abundance of power, and stately, plush interior, the Continental GT proved that classic British luxury can lead the pack.
As countless songs, music videos, and other pop culture tidbits would have it, owning a Maybach was the pinnacle of any luxury lifestyle in the 2000s, and the Maybach sedans are no less impressive today. WIth all kinds of state-of-the-art goodies for its day like DVD players and iPod integration, and incredible limited editions like the Zeppelin and Landaulet, a Maybach was, and is truly a statement.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
If you love the inside of a Rolls Royce, and the outside of the world around you, Rolls Royce can give you the best of both. Few things compare to the feeling of cruising in impossibly smooth elegance, surrounded by leather, wood, and the great outdoors, with just enough wind blowing in your hair, and the Phantom Drophead Coupe does nothing if it doesn’t deliver an incomparable feeling.
BMW’s flagship sedan is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to style, elegance, and driving exhilaration. Being masters in the formula of dynamics and precision, the BMW 7-Series is a car that has every luxurious quality of it’s limousine-size peers, with the agility and power of cars that are smaller and much less comfortable.
Open the Wraith’s suicide doors and you’re welcomed into a luxury car that is every inch a Rolls Royce. With the charm and unique beauty of its Art-Deco inspired style, and every single piece of technology and comfort that can possibly be mustered, the Wraith is an incredibly capable luxury coupe that delivers on every front it’s asked to.
Audi RS 7
Audi’s A7 four-door coupe is a car that is known for beauty, agility, and prowess as an executive sedan. The RS7 takes that formula and adds a healthy dose of speed. The RS7 comes with all the luxury you expect from Audi, all the utility you expect from its Quattro all wheel drive system, and adds a twin turbo 4-liter V8 pumping 591 horsepower to the mix. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Mercedes-Benz knows a thing or two about luxury, and their flagship sedan makes it clear that knowing a thing or two is a severe understatement. Between what seems like miles of infotainment screen space, quilted leather seats that cocoon its occupants, and a sublime Burmester sound system, Mercedes-Benz continues to set their own bar for what a true luxury sedan is.
Maybe the Rolls-Royce Starlight headliner isn’t enough. Maybe you want to look up and see the real stars, and still be behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce. Well, when the top comes down in a Rolls Royce Dawn, there’s your answer. The Dawn proves that Heaven isn’t even a place on Earth, it’s wherever you take a Rolls Royce Dawn.
BMW Alpina B7
It’s not easy to improve a car like the BMW 7 Series. Trust Alpina to manage it, though. For years, this Munich tuning house has managed to bring out the ultimate qualities of the BMW 7 Series, taking its luxury and speed to their absolute pinnacles. The B7 is smooth, gorgeous, effortless, and blindingly quick.
The Ghost is a Rolls Royce that is easy to drive and even easier to love, and while Rolls’ idea of small is still a full-size luxury sedan, the Ghost keeps everything that makes Rolls one of the most coveted luxury brands in the world, while also proving the benefits of slimming down a little by marrying ultimate luxury with ultimate agility.
Aston Martin Rapide
Aston Martin has always meant speed, power, and thoroughbred British grand touring pleasure. Until the Rapide, however, it never meant room for 4. It didn’t just have the Aston Martin name, either. A top speed of 188 miles per hour, a 0-60 time of 5.2 seconds, dashing looks and a gorgeous interior made it clear that the Rapide was as Aston as ever.
The Corniche was a quiet but resounding statement of grace and poise, and with its name being derived from the French word for a coastal cliffside road, that name was well deserved. That’s because with the top down and the French Riviera air around you, the incredibly elegant Corniche was quite the car to drive on its namesake.
The Bentley Azure was a study in glamour. Its titanic proportions, sumptuous interior, impeccable ride and convertible body made the Azure the ultimate in driving pleasure for its time and today, and with the T-spec of the car being on Pirelli P-Zero tires and having a 5.1 second 0-60, the Azure wasted no time delivering driving pleasure, either.