It’s easy to pick out the best luxury cars, right? They’re all luxurious, they’re all expensive and they’re all reliable. Just reach your hand in the bag and pick out a winner. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. While they all may be luxurious, they may not have the options you’re looking for. While they all may be pricy, there may be some well within a modest price range. And while most are truly reliable, like anything mechanical, sooner or later it’s going to break. Finding that perfect match which contains all the best of the above statements can be an ever-elusive task. So, before you fork out a monster payment trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, take a look at what the experts say are the best luxury cars for your money.
The S550 is the premier luxury sedan in a class of luxurious vehicles. The 5.5L V8 engine makes it a beast full of writhing power, yet the Airmatic suspension keeps it floating on a cloud, even on bumpy surfaces. “Fitting the S550 with the Premium 2 package gets you upgraded front seats, keyless ignition and entry, front and rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. An upgraded Active Body Control suspension is offered on the rear-drive S550.” The interior is one of the best designed and comfortable available, loaded with options and functionality. (www.edmunds.com, www.consumerreports.org)
“The Lexus brand was launched with the LS, a car that promised to match the established German luxury brands in terms of luxury, performance and features but with greater reliability and a lower price.” Up to this point, it’s done its job quite well. It undercuts its European competitors in price by nearly $10,000 and gives its riders the feel of stretch limousine quality. The craftsmanship is superb and the list of interior options gets better with every model year. Cabin space is exceptional and the ride remains perfectly quiet even at highway speeds. With the lower price, the LS460 could be at the top of the list very soon. (www.edmunds.com, www.kbb.com, www.consumerreports.org)
3. 2010-2011New Model MSRP: $74,550
“Although it may lack the snob appeal of some of its fellow Germans, the Audi A8 gives up nothing when it comes to luxury, performance and craftsmanship.” Despite the discontinuation of the 12-cylinder engine, the Audi A8 has more than enough power from the 4.2L V8, pumping out more than 350 horsepower. Like most models in this class, it boasts a very spacious, luxurious cabin. The driving dynamics are superb, utilizing the standard AWD for better traction and control through corners. Being able to control the suspension settings from the MMI console can make the A8 feel more like a sports car than a luxury sedan. (www.edmunds.com, www.consumerreports.org)
For those drivers who want all the luxury and drivability of the big boys for half the price, this is the one you need. The G37’s 3.7L V6 will get from zero to 60 mph in an amazing 5.4 seconds while still maintaining a fuel efficiency of 18/26 mpg (city/highway). Couple that with very sharp handling and some impressive high-tech features and it seems like a steal. The seats get rather cramped in the coupe so stick with the sedan if you’re looking for comfort. “The optional Bose audio system is excellent, and the convertible’s headrest-mounted speakers make it even better.” (www.edmunds.com, www.kbb.com)