TopSpeed’s 10 Best High-End Luxury Cars
After weeks of doing top tens, we have finally come to the top of the pillar luxury cars. These are the kinds of vehicles you buy if you make some serious money. These cars come with so many different technological toys that you feel as if you’re driving around in something made by NASA.
There are others out there, though they don’t offer space age gizmos. Some of these high-end luxury sedans offer performance. Maserati, Porsche, and those sorts of companies have come along in recent years with sedans of their own, but with a different take on how they should be made.
For each top ten we have set a price limit and increased it each time. That’s all changing for this top ten though. There is no price limit because if you have the money to afford one, it’s not going to matter. These machines start at around $70,000 and go very high, past the $100,000 mark. With such a big price jump, it would be nearly impossible to set a reasonable price limit.
As with all these tests, we aren’t looking at sales and we aren’t looking at popularity or most importantly, stats. We are looking for things like performance, luxury, comfort, gizmos, style and so on. Most importantly though, we are looking for the best car to drive.
Hit the jump to see the list.
10) Rolls-Royce Phantom
What makes the Phantom so good also makes it bad. On one hand, you get ultra-luxury, but on the other you get a price tag that is ungodly massive. We love the Phantom because it’s a cruise ship on wheels. We love the extravagant accommodations and the magnificent ride. The car is so big and so huge that you need to build a bigger garage to store it. That being said, it’s hard to drive because of that size and it’s not going to fit in some parking spots. Plus, in order to buy one you need to sell your house. Prices start at $380,000.
9) Lexus LS
There is not a whole lot wrong with the LS because it’s Japanese, but there isn’t a whole lot that is really good about the LS either. The big Lexus has the exterior design of a Toyota, which just means that it isn’t striking in anyway shape or form. The interior is the same way, nothing special that makes you feel like you’re in a very expensive luxury sedan. The same goes with the drive, nothing special. We do like the toys and the way the car can parallel park itself, but good luck actually getting it to work. Prices start at $65,380, which is decent for a car like this. Some might disagree because this is a smart buy and if you really want to play it safe then go ahead, but we won’t.
8) Bentley Continental Flying Spur
Bentley’s of old were big, insane luxury machines. This one isn’t and it’s a real shame. The styling is aging a bit, as cheaper rivals look far better. The rear seat is a bit cramped and the controls are outdated. That being said, the Bentley is still very fast and very comfortable. Nothing says fun like a 552-horsepower twin-turbocharged W12 engine. Most people who buy this car won’t get close to maxing this car out, but if you do you are in for a treat. We like the Bentley, but it’s just a bit too old for us. Prices start at $177,600.
7) BMW 7-Series
The amazingly good7-Series has always been interesting. It was stunning before the Bangle butt and then it sort of got ugly. Now, it looks more aggressive, but it’s still not our favorite looking luxury car. We had a chance to drive the 740, which is the twin-turbocharged V6 version, and we liked it. The ride was firm and there are so many different controls inside that it might confuse some people. We also aren’t huge fans of iDrive. All that aside, the car does drive well. The engine is strong and the handling is very good. Not to mention the seats are better than sofas. Prices start at $82,000.
6) Porsche Panamera
The four-door Porsche is a great driving car, but we could never walk out of our house and see it and feel good about it. It’s just so ugly. No matter how good the car drives, we just can’t bare to look at it. The minute you pass by a shiny window and see the car’s reflection, you will be forced to shut your eyes. It’s probably one of the fastest cars on the list and it handles like a dream, but of course, there are problems. It can be a bit dull on the road and you do feel a bit detached at times. There are also so many buttons on it that you will spend more time getting the car perfect than you will driving it. Prices of thePanamera start at $89,800, but we would advise you to buy the 4S, which is $93,800.
5) Maserati Quattroporte
The Maserati provided us with an interesting predicament. We love this sedan, so much in fact that we would buy one. Yet, we wouldn’t recommend it because it’s going to have issues. Yet, this list is for us as much as it’s for you so we have put it in fifth because we want it. There are so many confusing buttons on the dash and we have no idea what some of them do. It will most certainly break down and it’s pretty expensive. That being said, it looks brilliant, sounds brilliant, and you can customize it to high heaven. Prices start at $119,750, which is a lot, but you do get one heck of an engine.
4) Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The S-Class is a government official’s favorite ride. It’s used by many a leader and it offers some of the best technology you can find. While Audi and BMW have been busy refreshing their top end models, Mercedes has been sitting still and it shows. TheS-Class’s exterior styling is growing a bit old and the revolutionary technology that made it amazing a few years ago can be equipped on the competition as well. The AMG version is stunning, but useless, so we would advise you get the lower down versions. Prices start at $87,950 for the granddaddy of luxury sedans.
3) Audi A8
The old A8 was not so good, but this new one is a real step up. We haven’t had much time behind the wheel, as it’s not officially out yet, but the time we did have was stunning. This is a real driver focused luxury sedan and that’s what we love at TopSpeed. Drivers get all the technological wizardry that you would expect from a car like this, plus a brilliant motor and great handling. Not to mention Quattro all-wheel drive. The looks might put the older generation off, but we think it’s sleek and styling inside and out. Did we forget to mention the 1,400 watt Bang & Olufsen sound system? You could put on a rock concert with that system. We don’t know the price yet, but it should be around $85,000.
2) Aston Martin Rapide
Expensive? Yes. Do we care? No. One look at the Rapide and it’s love at first sight. Imagine if you would, walking out of work and seeing this car parked, waiting for you. Even if you had a terrible day because your employees are imbeciles, you would feel better once you got in the Aston. Nothing is as seductive as this sedan...nothing. You can pull up to a VIP club in the Porsche or in the Bentley, but nothing will turn heads and get you noticed like the Rapide. Not to mention they will hear you coming. That big V12 makes a brilliant noise. The handling is crisp and agile. The cabin is a true work of art and you can customize it as much as you like. The back seats are good, but don’t take four adults on a road trip. Sure, it costs $197,850, but it’s worth every penny. If you have kids and the DB9 is out of the question, this will fit your every need.
1) Jaguar XJ
This vehicle used to be an older person’s sedan, but it is not anymore, as the new XJ is a revolution for the old English company. Look at that exterior design and then look at the interior. The new XJ is simply fantastic looking. This car obliterates the competition, just destroys them to a pulp of their former selves. The interior is just exquisite and the engine is sublime. The ride is supple and the handling is crisp and responsive. Of course, the new XJ won’t be as refined as it’s German rivals.
No matter how much money fills up Jag’s swimming pool from India, the company is still small compared to the German giants. Mercedes probably spends millions on cupholder designs, while it would cost Jag that much to make a new car. There is no way a company could create a high-tech engine like we find in the Lexus LS600h hybrid. Instead, we get a monstrous 5.0-liter V8, either normally aspirated or supercharged. This engine is not as evolved as BMW’s twin-turbocharged powerplants nor does the car have eight forward gears.
What the XJ does have in those old school play toys are two motors that crank out huge amounts of power. The base 5.0-liter puts out 385 horsepower, while the supercharged engine has a whopping 470 horsepower, or even 510 horsepower. Connected to those motors is a six-speed automatic, which is two less than the Lexus and the BMW.
If these things bother you to the point where you wouldn’t buy this car and would rather own, say, the Lexus LS or the Mercedes S-Class, then perhaps you should get out more. The new XJ is a brilliant automobile and a rare example of a car becoming a work of art.
Prices start at an amazing $71,650, making this a real best buy.
Our final sedan top ten is done. We have gone from the cheap ones to the expensive ones and we are sure that we created a little bit of controversy. That’s the point though. If these don’t evoke some kind of emotion out of people then we have failed.
Over the past few weeks we have discovered a few things. We aren’t huge fans of Lexus and Toyota, they are bit to old personish and conservative. Sure they have decent numbers, but numbers don’t matter in the real world. They just don’t make us happy.
The German car companies are always a good bet. The Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A4 both came in first place, while BMW had two cars in the top five. Not a bad effort. America even had one car that did well, the Cadillac CTS.
Coming up next is our top ten sports cars under $30,000.