A Luxury Car for Any Budget

© Volkswagen of America, © Audi AG, © American Honda Motors, © Bentley MotorsLuxury for All
The concept of a luxury car means different things to different people, and often it depends not only on the features or price point, but also on personal perspective and perception. The driver of a 15-year-old econobox might think any new car is a luxury, while someone used to piloting a $100,000 Mercedes might be slightly harder to please. Let’s consider what a luxury sedan might look like for those within just about any new-car budget. Keep in mind that vehicles listed here are within ranges — final prices could be slightly higher or lower than the range shown.

© Volkswagen of America$20,000 Range
2019 Volkswagen Jetta SEL — $24,695
All new for the 2019 model year, the Volkswagen Jetta is built on a completely new platform and features a sleek coupelike design that provides a sporty look. Redesigned headlights with signature LED running lights are nicely integrated into the wide grille, giving the car a premium look. Even though Volkswagen is clearly not a luxury brand, the Jetta SEL comes well equipped with plenty of features often associated with up-market cars, such as a power sunroof, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, and an 8-inch color display. The SEL also gets customizable ambient lighting in a choice of 10 colors as well as Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit display. Forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking is also standard.
Other options:
Buick Regal
Ford Fusion
Hyundai Elantra
Kia Optima

© Mercedes-Benz USA$40,000 Range
2019 Mercedes-Benz C300 — $41,400
The best-selling passenger car in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the C-Class moves into its fourth generation for 2019 with updated styling, more power and new features. Looking like a proper Mercedes with standard LED headlights and taillights and freshened front-end styling, the C-Class is available in a number of trim levels with varying levels of power. The base-level C300 comes well equipped with a 7-inch display, a power sunroof, active brake assist, a rearview camera, keyless start and a new multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel that includes Touch Control Buttons that respond to swiping motions. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter produces 255 horsepower teamed with a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. The C-Class is available with Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive for an additional $2,000.
Other options:
Acura TLX
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Audi A4
BMW 3 Series
Genesis G80
Infiniti Q50
Jaguar XE
Kia Stinger
Lexus ES
Volvo S60

© American Honda Motor Co., Inc.$60,000 Range
2019 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid — $61,900
The flagship sedan of the Acura lineup, the RLX luxury sport sedan was restyled last year, adopting the Acura diamond pentagon grille as well as the brand’s new design direction dubbed Precision Crafted Performance. The big sedan is the most powerful model in the Acura lineup after the NSX supercar, powered by a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine with a 3-motor hybrid system and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive with electric torque vectoring. Total system output is a plentiful 377 horsepower and 341 lb-ft of torque while still delivering 28 mpg combined. As the top-level Acura, the RLX comes well equipped with premium leather-trimmed sport seats, heated and cooled seats, heated rear seats, tri-zone electric climate control, a Krell premium audio system and the Acurawatch suite of advanced safety technology.
Other options:
Audi A6
BMW 5 Series
Cadillac CTS
Genesis G90
Infiniti Q70
Kia K900
Lexus GS
Lincoln Continental
Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Volvo S90

© Audi AG$80,000 Range
2019 Audi A8 — $83,800
The A8 resides at the top of the Audi sedan lineup and is completely new for the 2019 model year. Now in its fourth generation, the A8 introduces a modern look for the Audi brand with stylish high-tech headlights that flank the latest version of Audi’s signature Singleframe grille. At the rear are new LED taillights, enhanced by a lighting strip that stretches the width of the car. Passengers will find an ultra-luxurious interior that features the latest high-tech displays and features. The multi-screen display consists of a 10.3-inch upper screen with smartphonelike functionality with haptic touch functionality, while the lower 8.6-inch screen can be used to adjust HVAC, seating and up to 32 programmable shortcuts. In front of the driver is the latest version of the Audi virtual cockpit that contains a 12.3-inch high-definition screen that can be configured to suit the driver.
Other options:
Cadillac CTS-V
BMW 7 Series
Cadillac CT6
Genesis G90
Jaguar XJ
Lexus LS
Maserati Ghibli
Tesla Model S

© Maserati North America$100,000 Range
Maserati Quattroporte S — $105,600
Once this luxury list hits the $100,000 mark, most folks might assume that whatever gets highlighted would be rather exclusive. This isn’t necessarily true, but if exclusivity is important, we suggest the Maserati Quattroporte. The flagship of the Maserati line, the Quattroporte is handmade in Modena, Italy, and features an elegant interior with fine Italian leather and real wood trim. In addition to the traditional niceties, the coachbuilder has embraced technology with a Maserati Touch Control screen, adjustable pedals, a rearview camera and an optional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, as well as a WLAN-based Wi-Fi system. Best of all, under the hood lurks a Ferrari-built V8 engine that emits a sound so amazing even those who aren’t looking will know something special is motoring by.
Other options:
BMW M5
Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Porsche Panamera

© BMW of North America$120,000 Range
BMW Alpina B6 Gran Coupe — $124,400
The BMW ALPINA B6 xDrive Gran Coupe is not only one of the most exclusive BMWs you can buy, it is one of the fastest cars sold by the German automaker, possessing the ability to rocket to 60 mph in a mere 3.6 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited top speed a bit shy of 200 mph. This impressive performance is made possible by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine producing 600 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. Power gets sent to BMW’s xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system via an ALPINA-tuned 8-Speed Sport automatic transmission. A nice added touch is a full stainless steel exhaust system with ALPINA trademark elliptical twin tailpipes. The B6 Gran Coupe body is manufactured in the BMW 6 Series factory and then hand finished by ALPINA with powertrain components and interior equipment at the ALPINA factory in Buchloe, Germany.
Other options:
Jaguar XJR
BMW M6 Gran Coupe
Tesla Model S
Audi S8

© Mercedes-Benz USA$140,000 Range
Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4 Door — $136,500
As the high-performance tuning group associated with Mercedes Benz, AMG has produced two standalone sports cars: the SLS AMG and the current AMG GT coupe/roadster. However, the brand had never produced a 4-door sports car — until now. The all-new AMG GT 4-Door has styling cues that clearly link it to its 2-door sibling. Up front are slim multibeam LED headlights that flank the AMG “shark nose” grille and feed into the low and long sculpted hood. At the rear are LED taillights and quad exhaust pipes — a must for any AMG model. Passengers will enjoy the luxurious surroundings inside, but the driver will be most excited by the hand-built biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that generates a plentiful 577 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The four-seat GT 63 will sprint to 60 mph in only 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 193 mph.
Other options:
BMW Alpina B7
Maserati Quattroporte GTS
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Porsche Panamera Turbo

© BMW of North America$160,000 Range
BMW 7 Series M760i XDrive — $156,700
The 7 Series is the flagship of the BMW family, and this M760i xDrive sits at the pinnacle of the 7 Series lineup. The big sedan combines the utmost in luxury with impressive performance to create the ultimate high-performance sport sedan. Rear-seat passengers enjoy big, comfortable seats that recline, massage, heat and cool while they experience the high-end video entertainment system. As inviting as the rear seat might be, the driver’s seat is the one to choose. With a TwinPower Turbo V12 engine producing 601 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, this big sedan can reach 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, boasting a top speed limited to 155 mph. Full-time all-wheel drive and legendary BMW handling make this a luxury-performance sedan for any season.
Other options:
Mercedes-Maybach S560
Porsche Panamera Turbo

© Porsche Cars North America$180,000 Range
Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo — $190,200
Porsche made some major changes to the Panamera lineup last year, adding the stylish Sport Turismo bodystyle as well as a line of more powerful hybrid powertrains. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is now the ultimate example of Porsche 4-door performance. Under the hood lurks a powerful twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine teamed with an electric motor to produce a total of 680 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque — enough grunt to move this big luxury sedan to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top speed exceeding 190 mph. Although the driver’s perch would be the hot seat in this car, rear-seat passengers will enjoy the view through a panoramic sunroof from their individual bucket seats with leather trim and available massage functions. And with the available rear entertainment system, passengers can enjoy their favorite racing movie on the way to the track.
Other options:
Bentley Flying Spur
Jaguar XE SV Project 8

© Mercedes-Benz USA$200,000 Range
Mercedes-Maybach S650 — $199,900
While the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is approaching the pinnacle of luxury, the Maybach takes things to another level, especially for rear-seat passengers. Those lucky passengers will enjoy seats that are both heated and cooled, can recline up to 43 degrees, and offer six massage programs. Ultra-soft Nappa leather and hand-finished wood can be found throughout the cabin, including a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel. The feature list is much too long to list, but highlights include 4-zone climate control, 64 color/3-zone LED ambient lighting, heated armrests and a Burmester 3-D Surround Sound audio system.
Other options:
Bentley Flying Spur V8 S

© Mercedes-Benz USA$225,000 Range
Mercedes-AMG S65 — $232,550
Residing at the top of the Mercedes luxury-car lineup is the very expensive and very rare AMG S65. This car is as much about luxury and performance as it is about exclusivity and prestige. While the S65 twin-turbo V12 badge on the side is worth the price of admission, fortunate owners do get plenty of car for the price. As the badge indicates, the S65 boasts a hand-built 6.0-liter V12 engine that delivers a smooth 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Teamed with that powerful V12 are large high-performance composite brakes, AMG active sport suspension, AMG sport exhaust, dynamic cornering assist and Magic Body Control. Inside, passengers enjoy soft Nappa leather trim, heated and cooled front and rear seats with massage, a cabin fragrance system and an executive right-rear seat with power-operated footrest.
Other options:
Bentley Flying Spur W12

© Bentley Motors$250,000 Range
Bentley Flying Spur W12 S AWD — $244,600
Bentley has been building cars since the 1920s, becoming one of the most widely recognized luxury brands in the world. The W12 S is the flagship of the Flying Spur line, providing an excellent combination of luxury and extreme performance. With its massive 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine under the long hood putting out 626 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque, this is the first 4-door Bentley to have a top speed of more than 200 mph. Facilitating these incredible performance stats are a new suspension, optional carbon-ceramic brakes and all-wheel drive. As much fun as the W12 S would be to drive, the back seat is not such a bad place. Rear seats get swathed in premium-quality soft leather with 14-way adjustments as well as heat and ventilation. Almost 10 square meters of sustainably sourced natural wood is used per car in mirror-polished veneers for the fascia panels, consoles, waist rails and picnic tables.
Other options:
Aston Martin Rapide AMR

© Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC$300,000 Range
Rolls-Royce Wraith — $315,700
No other brand exemplifies luxury better than Rolls-Royce, and the Wraith embodies a unique offering from the legendary British marque. Rather than mimicking the stately sedans usually associated with Rolls, the Wraith is a fastback with sleek lines and the most powerful engine the marque has ever offered. Although Rolls-Royces have always been advertised as having “adequate” power, the 624 horses produced by the Wraith’s V12 are clearly more than adequate. Rear-hinged coach doors allow easy entry and exit, and upon ingress occupants will be surrounded by the softest leather and Canadel Paneling. A unique feature to Rolls-Royce is the Starlight Headliner — 1,340 fiber-optic lamps hand-woven into the roof lining to give the impression of a glittering, starry night sky.
Other options:
Bentley Mulsanne
Rolls-Royce Ghost

© Bentley Motors$350,000 Range
Bentley Mulsanne Speed — $335,600
The Mulsanne Speed is a perfect example of the classic large and powerful Bentley. The car weighs almost 3 tons and stretches more than 18 feet long, but with a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 530 horsepower and a whopping 811 lb-ft of torque, it easily reaches 60 mph in under 5 seconds while boasting a top speed of 190 mph. The Mulsanne Speed’s driver-adjustable air suspension can focus on comfort or stiffness to optimize performance and handling. The lavish interior features diamond-quilted leather on seats and door panels, a leather headliner, piano-black veneer with handcrafted carbon-fiber inlays, and an embroidered Bentley emblem on each seat. A 60 GB onboard hard drive stores music for the driver and films for rear-seat passengers to view on 8-inch screens. A frosted glass bottle cooler — replete with crystal champagne flutes — can be installed in the rear armrest, and power-operated tables can be fitted to the rear of the front seats.
Other options:
Rolls-Royce Dawn

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience$400,000-plus Range
Rolls-Royce Phantom — $450,000
If there is a bar against which all luxury cars are judged, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is well above it. The legendary British marque has introduced an all-new eighth-generation Phantom that is completely new from the ground up. In addition to the added stiffness of a new aluminum spaceframe, the Phantom features Rolls-Royce’s “Magic Carpet Ride,” which can adjust the air suspension continuously for the smoothest motive experience. The system uses a camera to assess road conditions and adjusts the Phantom’s setup proactively to accommodate rough road surfaces. The elegant rear seat is accessed through larger rear-hinged doors that can be softly closed with the push of a button. The gamut of standard features is too long to list here, but it includes the latest in advanced safety technology, the highest-quality materials and just about any level of customization a customer could desire.
Other options:
A nice house

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About the author: Perry Stern

 

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