Buying Guides

The 7 Best Luxury Sedans

Large, lavish and powerful, these cars have it all

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

When the well-to-do turn to the automotive market, oftentimes they're looking for a sleek, luxurious sedan that can offer anything they want. These cars are generally large, powerful and extremely attractive. They have opulent interiors and feature some of the best performance money can buy. While more car shoppers are going the CUV and SUV route, the luxury sedan is one segment that will likely continue soldiering on despite the whims of the masses. The timeless, four-door design paired with soft supple leather, plenty of technology and wickedly impressive performance metrics make luxury sedans somewhat immune to the crossover craze. If you're in the market for one of these lavish rides, look no further than the models listed below.

2017 Audi A8 L

 
  • PROS: Handles like a smaller car, V8 provides plenty of smooth power, elegant interior and exterior.
  • CONS: Its good looks are a bit dated, not as swanky nor as technologically up to date as the competition.

The Audi A8 ($82,500 base MSRP) may be the senior of the crowd (its current design dates back to 2010), but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking when it comes to providing a luxurious big-car experience. The car’s lightweight construction and superb all-wheel-drive system keeps the car feeling spry and nimble, and the big 4.0-liter V8 under the hood (450 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque) provides more power than you’ll ever need. Go with the 3.0-liter V6 version and you still get excellent performance (333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque) with a little less weight. Audi’s mature A8 is the top of the line for the German automaker and is only rivaled by a few cars.

2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

 
  • PROS: Rear seats more comfortable than your couch, exceptional ride quality, all engine options are muscular and smooth.
  • CONS: Infotainment is complicated and can take a long time to get used to, some competitors offer more engaging driving experience.

Perhaps the most graceful sedan of the luxury car bunch, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class ($96,600 base MSRP) provides a stunning exterior, a sophisticated and tasteful interior and uber-amounts of comfort no matter what seat you place yourself in. The appeal of this car doesn’t end with high levels of comfort and sleek and sexy styling. The car also comes with some seriously potent engine options, starting with the plug-in hybrid twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 (436 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque) moving all the way up to a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 (523 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque). If you want something in between these two Mercedes offers a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 (449 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque) that will more than get the job done. Aside from the engine options, there’s also tons of available features and amenities. By adding the options you really want you can get the customized luxury car of your dreams.

2017 BMW 7-Series

 
  • PROS: Fast and creamy smooth no matter the road condition, one of the most exclusive cars out there, tons of features and amenities.
  • CONS: Infotainment is a bit labyrinthine, heavy curb weight, the bigger engines are thirsty.

The BMW 7-Series ($81,500 base MSRP) is a big, beautiful luxury car with tons of tech, comfort and power. It comes with either a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 (320 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque), a 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder plug-in hybrid (322 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque), a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 (445 hp 480 lb-ft of torque). There’s also the M Performance version of the 7-Series that sports a V12 should you need over 600 hp. Aside from all the engine options, the 7-Series offers an exceptionally roomy cabin, beautifully upholstered seats and a robust infotainment system that gives you access to just about everything you could ever need. The standard air suspension makes it smooth everywhere where you go and the seats support you over any seriously heinous bumps. Pair all of that with sophisticated styling and BMW’s iconic twin kidney grille and you have a seriously good luxury car.

2017 Cadillac CT6

 
  • PROS: A silky ride worthy of Cadillac’s name, undeniable good looks, spacious interior, light curb weight.
  • CONS: Somewhat intrusive start-stop, interior materials unimpressive, CUE infotainment system should be better.

The Cadillac CT6 ($53,795 base MSRP) is Caddy’s return to a big luxurious sedan, but the thing you need to know about it is that it’s sporty too. Even with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (265 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque) the big car moves. If a four-banger doesn’t do it for you in a big luxury car, Cadillac offers a 3.6-liter V6 (335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque) and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 (404 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque). While the interior materials may not be quite as luxurious as a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, the Caddy does offer plenty of room to stretch out. The CUE Infotainment system is improved for 2017 but still has its quirks. Despite these two things, the CT6 drives so well that it deserves a prime spot on any luxury sedan shopper’s list. This car is a new kind of Cadillac, one that’s impressively styled, well-appointed and exceptionally good to drive.

2016 Tesla Model S

Best

for the eco-friendly

  • PROS: No gasoline needed, instant torque from electric motors, composed and smooth ride, laden with advanced technology.
  • CONS: Must have access to chargers, reliability has yet to be truly tested and a service center may be far from you.

No luxury car list should exist without the Tesla Model S ($68,000 base MSRP). The car is a true technological specimen, and it has the goods to compete with the best gasoline-powered cars in the business. As far as the electric drivetrain goes, there are some options, starting with the entry-level 60 and 60D and going all the way up to the P100D. The difference between the different levels of the car impact how far it can go per charge and top speed and acceleration. The top of the line Model S utilizes two electric motors (all-wheel drive), can go a whopping 337 miles per charge and can shoot from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. Those are some seriously impressive numbers. Aside from performance, the Model S features a roomy and luxurious interior and one of the best infotainment systems out there. The huge 17-inch touchscreen controls just about everything but the door locks and windows. Take a quick walk around the outside and you’ll notice the electric titan even looks good.

2017 Genesis G90

 
  • PROS: Pragmatic pricing, well-laid-out infotainment system and controls, a ride that’s as smooth as glass.
  • CONS: Not much prestige goes with the Genesis name yet, other automakers offer more customization and features.

The Koreans finally have a real deal luxury brand that makes sedans that compete with the best in the business. The Genesis G90 ($68,100 base MSRP) is the inaugural flagship for the brand and it certainly kicks things off right. The car is refined and composed in ways that most automakers take years to replicate. Powered by either a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 (365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque) or a hearty 5.0-liter V8 (420hp and 383 lb-ft of torque) the Genesis G90 flies like its winged logo suggests. The big car is smooth, competent in the twisties and perfect for a long drive down your favorite road. The vehicle features soft interior materials and plenty of high-end features. Mercedes and BMW generally have this car beat in terms of the sheer number of options and features, but otherwise, the G90 stacks up.

2017 Maserati Quattroporte

Best

for the contrarian

  • PROS: A distinctly Italian alternative in the luxury sedan segment, beautiful howling engine sounds, few cars are more prestigious.
  • CONS: Prohibitively expensive, shares some interior parts with cheaper Fiat Chrysler vehicles, sportiness takes precedence over comfort.

The 2017 Maserati Quattroporte ($103,400 base MSRP) is like a beautiful high maintenance spouse, it gives you everything you could ever want at a price that many people aren’t willing to pay. It has its flaws (a couple small interior parts from a Jeep Grand Cherokee) but otherwise it fills you with joy. The 2017 version of the Quattroporte is new and improved, and it’s equipped with modern technology and features that the previous version of the car was missing. The majority of the interior materials are of the highest quality and its comfort levels are on par with the car’s German-engineered competition. It’s powered by either a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 (404 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque) or a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 (530 hp and 524 lb-ft of torque). Both engines emit a satisfying howl, and that, along with sexy Italian styling, is what the Quattroporte is really all about.

What makes a good luxury sedan?

  • Top-tier materials and design
  • Unparalleled ride and seating for five with very generous leg room
  • Exceptional performance and powerful engine options
  • Attractive design inside and out
  • High-quality infotainment system and user experience
  • The latest safety features and accident avoidance technology

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