Top 10: Luxury Cars
If you’re the sort of driver that prefers luxury to outright speed and the last word in handling sharpness, then the cars here should certainly appeal. Here's the top 10 that are most popular with you - our readers - as decided by the number of page views.
The A7 is unusual in this company coming as it does in five-door hatchback format, but that only adds an extra layer of practicality to this luxury offering. There’s a lengthy standard kit list and the cabin is very comfortable and beautifully screwed together as you’d expect from Audi, but there’s also a strong range of engines that includes a supercharged, 3.0-litre TFSI petrol and the stonking 313PS BiTDI diesel.
Quattro four-wheel drive is standard on higher spec models and optional on most other variants and delivers terrific all-weather traction, and the ride quality is suitably cosseting if you avoid the sportier suspension and bigger alloy wheel options.
Adding a dose of practicality to the style of the 6 Series, the four-door Gran Coupe is luxurious and sporting in equal measure, and that’s a very appealing combination. It’s not cheap mind, but all models are generously equipped as standard with leather, navigation, heated seats, and climate control, and there’s always the lure of the lengthy options list.
Ride and handling are superbly resolved as you’d expect from BMW while the meaty steering feel gives the Gran Coupe a sporting edge lacking in some of the other cars here. Engine choices include the petrol 650i that hits 62mph in a fleet 4.6 seconds and the diesel 640d that claims a useful 49.6mpg.
Thanks to its weight-reducing aluminium structure the XJ brings a more sporting flavour to the class, with a sharp-handling, agile feel on the road. And even if the ride isn’t quite as insulating as other cars here, it’s still very impressive and backed up by a sumptuous cabin that’s a delight for driver and passengers alike.
Those after more space can opt for the XJL that brings an extra five-inches of rear legroom while all models are well-equipped with plenty of technology as standard. Engines include a smooth and economical diesel that claims 46.3mpg and a 510PS, supercharged V8 for maximum performance.
If one car has brought luxury and performance to fully electric cars, it's the Tesla Model S. It's a four-door saloon that will outgun most things in a straight line to 62mph, all the while in beautiful silence.
In fact it's proved a huge success for Tesla around the world proving that electric cars can have appeal even when they're not made by recognised manufacturers. It's an entirely electric luxurious prestige car with an exceptional range of up to 345 miles on top models.
As far as stylish estates go, the Shooting Brake version of the CLS is right up there with the best. It may have a rather grandiose name, but then it is a world away from the traditional boxy estate with its swoopy profile. And it's not style over substance either with room for three in the back and a 590-litre boot - more than an Audi A6 Avant.
The engine line up is limited to three options - the CLS 220 d, CLS 350 d and the high performance Mercedes-AMG CLS 63 S - the latter powered by a V8 with 535PS and costing close to £90k new.
One of our favourite luxury cars, the A8 combines understated looks with a sumptuous interior, while the aluminium construction keeps weight down, benefitting economy and performance. A wide range of petrol and diesel engines includes an impressive 4.2-litre TDI V8, although the 500PS W12 petrol unit will need deeper pockets to run.
Available in two-wheel drive or quattro four-wheel drive form, both offer responsive handling and secure road-holding and while the ride can be a touch firmer than rivals it’s far from uncomfortable. Comprehensively equipped and very comfortable, this remains a fine luxury choice.
For decades the Range Rover has impressed buyers with its combination of comfort and peerless off-road ability, and the latest incarnation is the finest yet. The secure, roll-free handling is amazing considering the lofty stance and it’s allied to a cosseting ride allowing the occupants to just enjoy the luxurious and well-equipped cabin.
You can choose from four or five-seater configurations and there’s a long wheelbase model for extra lounging room, but in terms of engines we’d opt for one of the impressively efficient diesel units. The 3.0-litre SDV6 is a lively performer while still offering claimed economy of 44mpg. And while most will never venture off-road, it remains supremely capable in the rough stuff.
The S-Class has long been the benchmark for luxury cars, and this latest iteration is arguably the best in class. Refinement and comfort are top notch and there’s no better car in which to soothe away the miles whether you’re behind the wheel or lounging in the back.
The impressive S500L plug-in hybrid emits just 65g/km of CO2 while the rapid S600 hits 62mph in 4.6 seconds, although economy and emissions suffer, but all models benefit from a sublime ride quality aided by the optional Magic Body Control that scans the road ahead and adjusts the suspension accordingly. Options are expensive but the S-Class is packed with technology as standard.
There's a new Panamera on the horizon in 2017 but while it's new underneath the looks don't stray from this - the original Panamera. When it was first launched it's fair to say the styling got a mixed reception, however, the Panamera was every inch a genuine Porsche when it came to performance and handling.
Indeed it's not a car that's short on pace - even the diesel version produced 300PS and covers 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds - yet is reasonably economical. And with used models now coming in at under £30k the Panamera is becoming a more affordable used luxury car.
The latest 7 Series is impeccable when it comes to comfort. Its predecessor didn't ride very well but there are no such problems with this generation. BMW has ditched coil springs and dampers in favour of what the Americans call 'air ride'.
This two-axle self-levelling air suspension system comes as standard and means the 7 Series is wonderfully smooth over even the poorest of surfaces. It really comes into its own at motorway speeds where the lack of road noise and its ability to effortlessly glide along make this a relaxing car to drive or travel in.