Best Luxury Cars

13 minutes Published: 12/03/2020
Rowan Harris

Luxury cars. Only the best will do. Leather interiors, top-tech and best in class comfort.  You’ll be paying big money, after all…

So, you’ve hit the big score, but which should you go for?

This list isn't exhaustive so you should also check out our round-ups of the best affordable sports cars, best executive cars, and best small luxury cars!

1. Audi A8

RRP: £70,145 - £115,080 | From £561.59 per month to lease
  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 6.3
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 358g/km

Pros

  • Gorgeous interior.

  • Great tech options available, making this potentially the most high tech luxury car on offer.

Cons

  • Engine variety poor.

  • Lots of kit costs extra.

It was a close call between the Audi A8, the Mercedes S-Class and the BMW 7 Series (each of which is in our top 10). 

Where the Audi A8 stands head and shoulders above the competition, however, is in the technology department. Get behind the wheel and Audi’s 3 screen virtual cockpit would have you believe you’re actually piloting the Millenium Falcon. 

The infotainment system is one of the best available, quick and easy to operate with gorgeous graphics and plenty of features. You can even get the sat-nav positioned in the place of your regular dials so that you won’t have to take your eyes off the road. If touch screens aren’t your thing, then voice command is also available. There’s also a Bang and Olufsen stereo system for crisp music.

If you fancy splashing an extra £3,000 (why not, eh?), you can give the passengers in the rear their own bespoke infotainment system. This consists of two android-powered tablets attached to the front seat which allow them to watch TV, listen to music or use a variety of apps, including navigation (great for backseat drivers!). A further central panel in the middle allows you to adjust the seat position and temperature, turn on the massage feature, or operate the blinds. 

If you’ve not been counting, that’s 6 screens in total. 

If you’re not one for hyper-futuristic interiors a la Tesla however, you’ll probably appreciate the beautiful wooden and slick metal trims throughout. The exterior also benefits from a nice update, with animated LED lights on the front and rear and a massive silver grill which looks like it would swallow up everything in its path.

The Audi A8 is able to drive itself, but don’t get too excited - due to legal requirements, this feature is not included in the UK. However, there’s still a huge selection of smart driver-assist features available, as well as a suspension that will automatically adjust to glide over any lumps and bumps in the road.

2. Mercedes S Class Saloon (2017)

RRP: £80,510 - £181,055
  • Doors:
  • Engine:
  • Fuel:
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive:
  • CO2:

Pros

  • Elegant exterior.

  • Lovely interior design.

Cons

  • Infotainment system is fiddly.

  • Lacking in some high tech features you'd expect.

The new Mercedes S-Class interior stands out with its contrasting cream and grey colour scheme, stitched panels and two huge digital displays on the dashboard. If you struggle with touchscreens, or you find it hard to operate one while driving, there’s plenty of input methods for ease of use. There’s plenty of other useful gadgets, too. Cup holders can be heated or cooled to suit your drink, for example.

Ambient lighting will set the mood, and there’s even a diffuser built into the glovebox to really take things up a level. If you haven’t already got a copy of Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits we’d suggest you get one now. 

Of course, if you’re throwing down this kind of money, chances are you’ll have someone to chauffeur you around every once in a while. That’s where the long wheelbase option comes in handy. At the press of a button the front seat will shift forwards, revealing a footrest, while your rear seat slowly reclines. Raise the blinds and you should have no trouble getting some shut eye back here. There’s also fold out desks for each seat for when you’re, you know, done with napping.

The standard air suspension will absorb any dips in the road and should leave you feeling like you’re floating on a cloud even when you’re shooting down the motorway at 70. Oh, and there’s next to no wind or road noise when you do it!

3. Jaguar XJ

RRP: £58,490 - £81,810
  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 5.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 184 - 264g/km

Pros

  • Gorgeous exterior.

  • Luxurious interior.

Cons

  • A bit behind on tech features.

  • Firm ride.

Since its genesis in 1968, the Jaguar XJ has been Jaguar’s flagship model. Naturally, it comes with all the features that you’d expect from a luxury saloon.  Not only is it one of the best to look at on the outside, but you’ll struggle to find anything inside that isn’t covered in luxurious leather. 

It’s got a really sporty feel to it, unlike some of its competitors. The complete absence of body roll and well judged anti-skid control let you have some real fun around the corners. Unfortunately, it’s not as smooth a ride as a Mercedes. There’s also less head room in the back for rear passengers. 

The infotainment system is also slightly lacking. However, Jaguar can perhaps be forgiven for this. The current model was released in 2009, so it is due a little bit of a refresh. That’s set to arrive next year, when the XJ will be released as an electric only model. We’re certain that at that point, if it truly wants to compete with the likes of Tesla and the Audi E-tron, Jaguar will realise they have to up their game.

4. Range Rover Estate

RRP: £84,810 - £177,485 | From £739.19 per month to lease
  • Doors: 2 - 4
  • Engine: 5.0
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 398g/km

Pros

  • Comfortable driving position.

  • Luxurious interior.

Cons

  • There’s no 7-seat option.

  • Others offer more engaging drive.

The Land Rover Range Rover is one of the more expensive models on this list. And for good reason. Take a seat inside and you’ll feel like royalty, not least because Land Rover has a royal warrant (as the owner’s manual reminds us). The elevated seating position in the Range Rover will also give you a sense of superiority, as you look down on all the peasant folk below. 

You’ll be hard pressed to find something that isn’t lined with either leather, soft felt or some other soft padded material inside. There’s 20-way adjustable electric seats (24-way if you opt for the ‘autobiography’ trim) with a massage function. 

There are 3 large infotainment screens for climate control, satellite navigation and the digital drivers display.

As you’d expect from a car of this size, there’s lots of room for rear seat passengers. The floor is completely flat, which means you can fit three taller people in comfortably, without them having to jostle for leg-space around the central transmission shaft. The rear seats can also recline as well. If you’re being chauffeured, there’s even a dedicated button to slide the front passenger seat forward, leaving a cavernous space in the footwell for you to kick back and relax.

There’s still heaps of space left in the boot, so if you’re looking for a more practical luxury car, then the Range Rover is the one to go for. The split tailgate makes it easy to load up the boot without having to lift things over a load lip.

5. Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo (2017)

RRP: £73,071 - £142,279
  • Doors:
  • Engine:
  • Fuel:
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive:
  • CO2:

Pros

  • Classy interior.

  • Very practical for a sports car. 

Cons

  • Expensive add-on features.

  • No diesel option.

The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo made its debut in 2012 at the Paris auto show. It was, at that point, a concept car. But unlike most concept cars, it did actually make it from the show floor to the showroom. 

It’s basically a Porsche 911 for the family man. So, as you’d expect, it really feels like a sports car. Despite that, you can easily fit a couple of six foot passengers in the rear, with ample leg and head room. It’s got a 500litre hatchback boot, so it’s quite practical too. 

For the traditionalists, there’s the standard four door diesel model which should make cruising down the motorway a dream. If you’re conscious about running costs you can go straight for the low-emission e-hybrid. Of course, if you really want to show off (and leave all the other cars in the dust), the Panamera Turbo is the one to go for. 

Unfortunately, this car also has a lot of trim options which can start to add up pretty quickly. These include a two-tone leather interior trim, a sports chronograph, 18-way electrically operated seats, a 14 speaker Bose sound system, 3-way split rear seats and a rear, two-screen android infotainment system (worth £2,500). The difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive trims is over £20,000. 

That being said, this Porsche makes a surprisingly good family car. If you plan on spending some quality family time in it, you might as well splash the extra cash.

6. BMW 7 Series

RRP: £71,150 - £144,520 | From £541.53 per month to lease
  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 6.6
  • Fuel: P, D, H
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 338g/km

Pros

  • Interesting design.

  •  Great infotainment system.

Cons

  • The grille is polarising.

  • The ride is a little on the firm side.

If you liked the large front large front grill on the A8, you’re in luck. The BMW 7 Series has two colossal front kidney grilles. 

Behind these magnificent (or monstrous, we’ll let you decide) grilles, there’s actually a soft, squishy interior. Nappa leather seats are standard, while the dashboard is dotted with classy ceramic finish switches and a dark gloss wooden trim surrounded by, you guessed it... even more leather. 

Optional extras include merino leather, an assortment of different wooden finishes and folding trays for the rear seats. You can also upgrade to the rear seat comfort package for an additional £6,000 which includes a two-touchscreen rear infotainment system, as well as reclining rear seats with massage function.

7. Bentley Continental GT

RRP: £148,800 - £193,900
  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: 6.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Coupe
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 410g/km

Pros

  • Super speedy.

  • Absolutely gorgeous interior. 

Cons

  • High running costs

  • High purchase cost.

The Bentley Continental GT is as luxury can get… provided you’re willing to part with an extra £50,000 for all the extra options on offer. 

The lush leather interior includes diamond quilted seats and hand-stitched leather panels, each with their own characteristic imperfections. A dark wooden gloss panel and metal trim runs around the entire cabin, giving it a seriously premium feel. If you’re a stickler for detail but you don’t like the digital infotainment display, at the press of a button the dashboard will rotate to reveal a set of analogue dials.

It is a four seat car, but the sloping roof might make it uncomfortable for taller rear-seat passengers, and there’s little in the way of legroom for them either. 

If you’ve got a need for speed, you’ll also be pleased to hear that the GT can do 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. Not bad.

You might be wondering why the Continental GT made it onto this list and not the Bentley Bentayga SUV or the much more expensive flagship Bentley Mulsanne. After all, Bentley produces some of the most luxurious cars on offer. Well, it was for the sake of variety (there are two other SUVs on this list) and because, in our minds, the exterior of the Continental GT is one of the most beautiful on offer.

8. Lexus LS

RRP: £72,345 - £109,165
  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 5.0
  • Fuel: P, H
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 292g/km

Pros

  • Omotenashi? Yes please.

  • Eye-catching exterior.

Cons

  • Not the most exciting to drive.

  • Costs extra for air suspension.

You haven’t seen a big front grille until you’ve seen the Lexus LS. The front of the car is almost entirely dominated by a large spindle grille. We think it’s probably one of the most exciting designs we’ve seen on a luxury sedan. 

If you’ve ever been to Japan, or even taken an interest in Japanese culture, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Omotenashi - the Japanese approach to hospitality. This is something that Lexus tries its utmost to incorporate into its design. 

Unlock the car and the air suspension will automatically rise to make it easier to slide inside. Turn the car off and the seat belt holder will automatically extend for easy unclipping, while the steering wheel retracts and the drivers seat slides back so that you can get out easily. 

Open the door and the side seat bolsters will flatten so that you can more easily slide in and out. The climate control function also makes use of infra-red sensors throughout the car to measure the temperature of each of its occupants and adjust the temperature accordingly in each area. 

The range-topping trim comes with two rear screens for entertainment, as well as chairs that recline by 48 degrees (more than any other car!). Another click of a button will allow you to kick your legs up while you enjoy a shiatsu massage, working your shoulders, lower back and thighs. 

It’s a plug-in hybrid only in the UK, but as Lexus is owned by Toyota, you can bet that they learned how to make a hybrid powertrain from the best in the business. You still get some choice though, and it’s up to you whether you want rear or four-wheel drive.

9. Tesla Model S

RRP: £56,780 - £139,680 | From £787.00 per month to lease
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: N/A
  • Fuel: E
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: A
  • CO2:

Pros

  • Phenomenal performance.

  • Amazing range for an electric car.

Cons

  • Still expensive.

  • Tesla super charging points aren't as widespread as necessary yet.

It may be the only all-electric car in our top 10 luxury cars list, but the Tesla Model S does a phenomenal job of keeping up with the competition. Quite literally. Simply press a press a button to enable ‘ludicrous mode’ and you’ll shoot from 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds. It’s basically a supercar.

Combine that with the supple leather, textured wood trims and an eye-catching 17-inch central infotainment display which replaces nearly all physical buttons and you’ve got a minimalist’s dream car. 

The car is also incredibly practical. There’s 745 litres of luggage space in the boot, some of which is underfloor. If that’s not enough, you can also make use of the frunk, or froot (that is, front boot), where the standard petrol or diesel engine would have been. This adds another 150 litres of storage space. If you’re wondering what to do with all of that space, you can even add an additional 2 rear child seats in the boot area, making for a pretty slick 7 seater. 

The best bit? You won’t have to sacrifice rear passenger space. The floor is also completely flat, so you can easily fit a third person in there. 

It may not have a ‘first class’ or ‘chauffeur’ mode like many of the other options on this list, but if you’re the kind of person that winces at the thought of the cars like the Range Rover and Bentley Continental GT coughing up 250+g/kg of CO2, then you should have no trouble gliding along, guilt-free in this.

10. Mercedes GLS

RRP: £71,275 - £71,275
  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 5.5
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: SUV
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 199 - 320g/km

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable, especially off-road with the e-active suspension.

  • Even the middle and rear seat passengers have things like heated seats.

Cons

  • Only one engine option.

  • Not the classiest interior.

The new GLS is the ‘S-Class of the SUV world’, according to Mercedes. 

They weren’t wrong. If you’re looking for a rugged off-road vehicle with class-leading comfort and top of the range technology to boot, the Mercedes GLS is the car to beat. Upgrade to the e-active suspension for an extra £7,000 and you’ll float effortlessly down even the rockiest of gorges. 

This luxury SUV comes in either 6 or 7 seat configurations, with plenty of room in both the middle and back seats. The highest spec model comes with a complete infotainment package with 2 touchscreens in the middle row and a further, detachable tablet-style screen in the back row for controlling a range of different comfort settings.

Mercedes has been hard at work to make this a car which caters not just for those in front, but also those in the back, making this one of the best cars in its class for families. The 2019 model has 8.7cm more leg room in the middle row, for example, as well as five-zone automatic climate control and more USB ports than you can shake a stick at. Even the third row, which Mercedes says can comfortably fit two 1.94m tall adults, comes with heated seats, so there should be no squabbling over who has to sit in the back anymore. 

The GLS is one of the biggest SUVs on sale, longer than a BMW X7 or full-size Range Rover. There is currently only one engine option available in the UK, a 325bhp 3.0 litre diesel, but this is smooth and quiet and packs plenty of torque, so the GLS will shift pretty quickly for a car of its size. If you’re not sold yet, just wait until next year when the car is set to receive the full Mercedes AMG treatment, which could see it easily smash 600bhp.

Summary

We know what you’re thinking - where’s the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Mercedes-Maybach, the Maserati Quattroporte? As always, our list was by no means extensive, and there were a few close calls…

You’ll also notice that our top 10 list focuses on the top of the range luxury cars. If you’re looking for something with a touch of class but don’t want to spend quite as much on a new car, there are loads of mid-range luxury cars on offer. If you had your heart set on one of the German models, the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series are still a great choice for a fraction of the price. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there’s the Lexus ES, Infiniti Q70 and of course, the Volvo V90.

Still hungry for more options? We've also rounded up the best affordable sports cars, best executive cars, and best small luxury cars which may be right up your alley! And to help you easily compare and contrast cars, we've rounded up all of our luxury car lease deals, executive car lease deals, and sports car lease deals.