Top 10 Best Luxury Cars
Whether you’re a businessman who likes to cruise around in supreme comfort, a millionaire who wants to be chauffeured around or if you just want your family to travel in style, luxury cars are an essential part of life.
Lots of legroom and a sumptuous interior can make the miles melt away with ease. Nowadays there are plenty of players in the luxury car segment.
The growth of large SUVs has seen a spike of options in the higher end of the market giving both practicality, off-road ability and a stunning interior all in one package.
Traditionally luxury cars were the realm of super saloons, often called luxobarges for their lavish levels of kit.
The old players are still around, Mercedes, BMW and Audi, but new additions have also played their hand, Lexus, Volvo and even Hyundai in recent years.
We’ve put together a fun list of our top 10 luxury cars on the market today, they cover both SUVs and saloons of varying budgets, and affordability be dammed, you can even get most on PCP deals these days…
Our top 10 luxury cars to buy are:
- Lexus LS
- BMW X7
- Jaguar XJ
- Audi A8
- BMW 7 Series
- Audi E-Tron
- Range Rover
- Mercedes Benz S-Class
- Hyundai Genesis
- Rolls-Royce Ghost
1. Lexus LS
Starting with something of a leftfield choice, you may not think Lexus sits in the luxury cars category, but you’d be wrong.
Lexus are to all intents and purposes Toyota’s upmarket brand, they may have a lower than average sales volume when it comes to luxury cars but they still make a compelling offer.
So it’s an odd choice here in the UK, but the Lexus LS has been a big hit elsewhere in the world.
Powered by a 3.5-litre petrol engine coupled with a hybrid system the total power is 359 HP and 350 Nm of torque. That’s enough shove to propel this huge saloon to 62 in just 5.1 seconds.
As standard, you get leather upholstery throughout, 20-way driver and adjustable passenger seats that are heated and ventilated. Standard fit also includes the Lexus Premium Navigation which clocks an impressive 12.3 inches across the dash.
There’s a whole host of safety tech too, radar cruise control, pre-collision, lane keep and road sign assist as well as automatic high beams.
Prices for the LS 500h start from £74,750 but can soon soar to £100,000 if you opt for the range-topping ‘Takumi’ specification. This adds ventilated rear seats, semi-aniline leather upholstery, four-zone climate control and a 23 speak Mark Levinson sound system.
Price: Starting from £74,750
- Value for money
- Available at only a select few dealerships
- Switchgear not as nice as the competition
2. BMW X7
One of the newest cars on this list is the BMW X7, the German brands uber SUV. For years the X5 was the biggest SUV in their range, but the X7 has blown that out of the water and gone head to head with the Range Rover.
Think of it as an SUV version of the 7 series, it combines some minor off-road abilities with all the luxury you’d expect when it comes to the brands super saloon the 7.
Prices start at £72,315 for the entry-level model, this increases to £87,400 for the ’M’ trim. Add an additional £2,000 if you want the petrol engine.
A diesel powertrain comes as standard, dubbed the xDrive30d. It packs 265 HP and will hit 62 in 7 seconds flat. The petrol has even more power at 340 horses and a quicker 0-62 time of 6.1 seconds.
If you need even more go, there’s the M50d diesel, this has a huge 400hp and will shift the mammoth X7 to 62 from stationary in just 5.4 seconds. Scary.
Inside you’re greeted with the standard BMW design many luxury cars envy. Minimalist buttons in a horizontal layout across the dash, with the impressive 12.3-inch iDrive infotainment system sitting near to the driver right next to the steering wheel.
It seats seven passengers with ease and still has a boot capacity of 326 litres, which is more than you get in either the Volvo XC90 or Land Rover Discovery.
Price: Start from £72,315
- Only a few currently on the road
- Tons of room inside
- Ungainly looks
- Limited off-road abilities compared to a Range Rover
3. Jaguar XJ
Possibly one of the oldest cars on the list, the Jaguar XJ came out in 2010 and is still going strong as one of the top luxury cars after a facelift in 2015.
While the XJ may be lacking in luxury and tech compared to its German rivals that have hit the market in the proceeding years, the XJ makes up for it with its handling.
Currently, there’s just the one engine available in the XJ, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel which is capable of accelerating the big cat to 60 in only 5.9 seconds. It provides 298 BHP and a massive 700 Nm of torque.
Prices start at £62,400 for the standard model while the extended wheelbase begins at £65,400.
Where the XJ really shines is how it drives. Jaguar are known for producing vehicles with sporty characteristics, and although the XJ measures in at a mighty 5.1 metres it still handles with a bereft lack of weight that many in this list simply can’t come close to.
This puts the Jag top of the pile in terms of driver engagement and feel. Engine choice may be limited these days, and gone is the massive 5.0 litre supercharged V8, but the 3.0-litre diesel was always the best of both performance and economy.
If it’s cutting edge technology and infotainment, you’ll be best off looking elsewhere though.
Price: From £62,400
- Superb handling
- Affordable compared to the rest
- Old design
- Dated interior and exterior
4. Audi A8
The A8 has and always will be the pinnacle of luxury cars when it comes to the four rings.
This latest iteration builds on the handling characteristics of its predecessor by adding even more advanced features to its chassis control, powertrain and tech. It also has some of the most advanced self-driving capabilities in the world built-in, so watch out Tesla.
From the start the A8 was built on a 48v electrical system, this allows devices that the engine normally takes care of like the water pumps, air-con, oil pumps and heating to be powered purely by battery alone.
This mild hybrid system allows fuel to be saved while keeping everything at a safe, low voltage.
In the A8’s case, one of the trick systems is its electronic suspension management which can alter the ride height up front by up to 85mm in just half a second. It also kills body roll in corners by adapting as you drive.
Audi also offer a long-wheelbase version, the A8 L. Prices for this start at £75,690 while the regular A8 comes in at £71,695.
There’s a choice of two engines, a 3.0-litre diesel with 282 BHP or a 3.0-litre petrol that makes 335 BHP, both have four-wheel drive as standard. The petrol will hit 62 from a standstill in 5.6 seconds, while the diesel manages 5.9.
Inside you’ll find billet aluminium hinge, glass haptic buttons, Valcona leather, wood or aluminium dash inlays, LED mood lighting throughout and a huge 10.1-inch upper infotainment screen followed by an 8.6-inch lower one. There’s a third, even bigger 12.3-inch screen where the dials usually sit.
If you want a cutting edge luxobarge then the A8 needs to be at the top of your list, nothing quite matches it in terms of its over-engineered nature and high tech.
Price: Starting at £71,695
- Latest tech
- 48v system helps save fuel
- Options are incredibly expensive
5. BMW 7 Series
If you can get past that humongous front grille, then the latest generation BMW 7 series is also noteworthy.
Having always been second to Mercedes’ all-conquering S-Class the 7 series may have finally pipped it in terms of making the ultimate luxury car.
As with the Jaguar and the Audi, there are two wheelbase lengths. The SWB – short wheelbase – starts at £69,565 while the LWB ‘Li’ short for Limo, begins at £73,635.
There are two trim levels to choose from on the SWB model, an entry-level ‘The 7’ followed by an ‘M Sport’ edition. The long-wheelbase adds a third, even pricier option ‘M Models’ which starts at £139,120 and includes every single feature BMW offer.
You can opt for all-wheel drive or rear wheel only. The latter comes with either the 730d diesel producing 265 HP and will make the 0-62 sprint in 6.1 seconds, or there’s the 740i with 340 HP and a 5.5 0-62 time.
A hybrid option also exists, the 745e, this combines both a petrol engine and electric motors to give 394 HP with an electric-only range of around 27 miles.
All-wheel drive is catered for thanks to the 750i xDrive petrol with a vast 530 HP and a near supercar 0-62 time of 4 seconds, or the more economical 265 HP diesel with a much more sedate 5.8s 0-62 sprint.
Even the 7 series key has a built-in LCD touchscreen which you can use to command various actions of the BMW while you’re away from it.
Li versions gain a panoramic roof, and gesture control, a system that recognises up to six gestures through a 3D sensor that sits at the bottom of the infotainment display. Rotating an outstretched finger will increase or decrease the audio volume, for example.
For a genuine private jet experience, you’ll want to spec the £2,850 ‘Executive Package’ along with the ‘Rear Seat Comfort Package’ for £4,815. These add heated, massaging seats, multimedia screens in the back along with a tablet PC that controls just about anything in the 7.
Price: Starting at £69,565
- Amazing LCD key
- Same legroom as an S-Class
- That front grille
- Rear seat packages are expensive
6. Audi E-Tron
Audi’s first go at the ‘premium electric car’ comes in the form of the £71,560 e-tron. The brand hail it as ‘the most advanced Audi yet’ and it should be for money that rivals an A8.
One of the most striking things about the Audi e-tron is the lack of door mirrors. They’ve been replaced with ‘virtual door mirrors’. A set of cameras that show you what’s behind in real-time. These are optional and only come as standard on the ‘Launch Edition’.
Externally it’s not groundbreaking in its design, in fact, it just looks like a ‘go faster’ Q7. Audi isn’t one to break the mould when it comes to EV looks, they want it to sell after all.
Power comes from a 95kWh battery pack that sits the full length of its wheelbase like in a Tesla. It gives the equivalent power of 403 BHP and a 0-60 time of just 5.4 seconds.
Range is said to be 248 miles according to the new WLTP rules, so expect 200 and anything more as a bonus.
There is rumoured to be a lower-powered model on the way which will give less range but also help your bank balance in the process.
Inside follows the exterior, it’s just a run of the mill Audi, there’s not a massive amount of ‘specialness’.
But what you have to remember is that the e-tron blends four-wheel drive with a spacious SUV interior and an incredibly quiet ride thanks to its electric powertrain.
Price: From £71,560
- Super quiet
- Only full ‘luxury EV’ from Audi
- Camera mirrors aren’t standard
7. Range Rover
An old favourite in the luxury car world is the Range Rover. Now in its fourth generation, it’s come a long way since its inception back in 1970.
Prices start at £83,655, nearly double that of the Velar or Discovery. But this is the pinnacle of luxury when it comes to a large SUV.
Surprisingly Land Rover also offers the option of a long-wheelbase Range Rover, prices start at a heady £115,875 if you choose to go down that route.
Thankfully, unlike the Jaguar XJ, there are plenty of engines to pick from. Two diesels’, either a 3.0 litre with 275 HP which manages 0-60 in 7.4 seconds, or the larger 4.4 litre with 339 HP and a 6.8 second 0-60 time.
Then there are three petrol’s, a 3.0 litre with 400 HP and a 5.9 0-60 time, a 5.0 litre 525hp V8 which will hit 60 in 5.1 seconds. And a range-topping 5.0 litre V8 with 565hp which costs from £144,225, and yet still hits 60 in the same time as the lesser-powered V8.
Land Rover also decided to add a plug-in hybrid model to the Range Rover in a bid to get the emissions lower. This will still make the 0-60 sprint in 6.4 seconds and is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine which produces a combined total of 404 HP.
While this current-gen Range Rover came out in 2013, the model has been kept up to date with new infotainment systems and the two-screen LCD screen setup that was first featured on the Velar.
There are three trims to pick from; ‘Vogue’, ‘Vogue SE’ and the top ‘Autobiography’ model. All feature incredible build quality throughout, with the breadth of options running into the hundreds.
What most people forget though, is that the Range Rover can also off-road incredibly well for its size.
Weighing in at 2.6 tons it won’t be the best through deep mud, but over tricky terrain, it holds its own like no other on this list.
Price: Starting at £83,655
- Solid build quality
- Great looking interior
- Off-roading isn’t an issue
- Expensive from the off
- Engine choice adds even more cost.
8. Mercedes S-Class
Now the S-Class has always been the king of the super saloon, a luxury car like no other. At one time Mercedes was selling two S-Class cars for every one BMW 7 Series that came off the production line.
Much like the humble Volkswagen Golf, the S-Class is the ‘go-to’ car when you want a large luxury car.
Starting at £75,390 the S-class comes in two different trims, ‘AMG Line’ or ‘Grand Edition’. There are two 3.0 litre V6 diesels, one makes 286 HP, the other 340 HP.
You also have four petrol’s to choose from, a 3.0 litre V6 with 367 HP, or 435 HP. Then there are the AMG models, a 4.0 litre V8 which makes 612 HP or the 6.0 litre V12 which produces 630 HP and costs a staggering £189,405.
A single hybrid option is also available, the S560e L. This model is a petrol 3.0 litre V6 with an electric motor and battery pack fitted, making a total of 489 HP.
Air suspension comes as standard with adaptive dampers built in all around. It also runs a 48v system like the Audi A8 to help reduce emissions and offload electrical power from the engine.
Ride is superbly balanced over both town and country driving, sitting in traffic couldn’t be better with the luxury on offer inside. Up front, there’s a 12.3-inch infotainment screen with the Mercedes Comand Online system as standard.
At the back, the rear seats can be switched to offer just two seats instead of the standard three-seat setup. This gives airline-style levels of luxury travel which includes ventilation and heating, an electronic closing aid for the rear doors and temperature-controlled cup holders.
This setup is only available on the S63 L and S65 L, costing £6,000 on the former, £2,900 on the latter.
From soft Nappa leather, night vision, panoramic roofs to performance steering wheels, the S-Class is incredibly granular in the options you can choose. Although the interior may be a little gaudy compared to the Germanic blandness in the BMW, some will prefer that.
The Mercedes S-Class still competes as one of the best luxury cars on the market today.
Price: Starting at £75,390
- Healthy engine choice
- Incredible performance AMG options
- Super pricey at the higher end of the range
- Rear seat packages more expensive than BMW
9. Hyundai Genesis
Our curve ball in this guide is a car that’s not currently on sale, in fact it was a bit of an odd pitch when Hyundai said they were going to start selling the Genesis over here.
While they’re lauded in Japan for their executive luxury on a budget, Hyundai simply don’t have that cache here in the UK.
Back when it was released in 2015 a Genesis would set you back £49,000. It was only sold to ‘selected buyers’ and currently there are just 46 registered.
That makes it super exclusive and an absolute bargain on the second hand car market.
Currently there are a number for sale on Auto Trader, prices range from just £15,000 to £21,000. This is for a car that’s just three years old and rivalled the BMW 5 series at the time.
Powered by a 3.8 litre petrol V6 the Genesis makes 315 BHP, that figures for a 0-62 time of 6.5 seconds. Top speed is 149 MPH and all that power is shoved through the rear wheels only.
Heated and cooled front seats are standard along with a 14-speaker Lexicon stereo system. Infotainment is taken care of thanks to an 8.0 inch touchscreen and there’s a 360 degree camera system to help you manoeuvre what is nearly a 5 metre behemoth.
Adapative dampers give the Genesis a silky smooth ride, but neither of the two settings are particularly firm.
This could be the ultimate budget luxury car, most have incredibly low mileage and offer exclusivity money simply can’t buy new.
Price: New £49,000 – Used from £15,000
- Unicorn rare
- Top class build quality
- Only available used
- Parts could be a problem in the future
- Huge V6 petrol engine
10. Rolls-Royce Ghost
Moving from one extreme to the other, our top 10 luxury cars has to finish with a ‘money no object’ offering.
We could have gone with the Phantom, but that’s a little too large and ostentatious. The Ghost will do nicely.
Based on the underpinnings of the last gen BMW 7 series the Ghost may share many parts, but the quality is Rolls-Royce through and through. The Phantom is a car to be driven in, the Ghost is one you drive.
Under the bonnet you get a huge 6.5 litre V12 engine, this makes 563 BHP and a gargantuan 780 Nm of torque. Enough oomph to shove the Ghost to 62 MPH from a standstill in 5 seconds flat.
But what none of the cars on this list can beat is the luxury on offer in the back of the Rolls. Opening the rear hinged suicide doors and you’re met with matts deeper than any pile you’ll have in your home.
Book matched wood veneer throughout, fold down picnic tables inlaid with whatever you care to choose, rear seat infotainment akin to the size of an external monitor.
It truly is the Gulfstream of the road.
If you have to ask the price you can’t afford it, but expect to pay a minimum of £200,000 for the privilege of piloting this winged lady.
Price: From £200,000
- Unparalleled luxury
- Customisation throughout – at a price
- Silky smooth ride
- Waiting list
- Incredibly expensive
While most of these luxury cars cost well over £70,000 for the businessmen and women of the world, they offer something unique, a comfy first-class level of travel anywhere in the country.
A place where they can work, take phone calls and arrive feeling just as fresh as when they got into the car.
They’re the equivalent of private jets on wheels, add a personal driver, and suddenly you’ve freed up hours of your day as you commute between meetings and appointments.
What about small, affordable cars?
If you don’t have oodles to spend on an uber-luxury car, here are a few other guides on some smaller, cheaper ways to get you from A to B.