Best luxury cars 2023
A luxury car should have sumptuous materials, ride comfort worthy of a magic carpet, and a super-smooth engine. Here's our run-down of the top 10, and the one we'd avoid...
The range of luxury cars on sale is huge, stretching all the way from executive cruisers to some of the most capable SUVs on the road.
What they tend to have in common is superb comfort and refinement. Plus, many offer beautifully finished interiors complete with high-tech entertainment systems and loads of space for rear-seat passengers.
Running costs might seem less important, but luxury saloons and SUVs are often run as company cars, so CO2 emissions and fuel consumption can actually be key considerations.
Here we take a look at the top 10 currently on sale – and reveal the luxury cars you might like to steer clear of.
If you're interested in finding out more about a particular model, just click on the relevant link, or to find out what deals are available on it visit our New Car Buying service. However, if you're short of time and simply want to find out which is the best luxury car, that's no problem; the Range Rover Sport is the best luxury car you can buy.
The Range Rover Sport shows that the best luxury car isn't necessarily the most expensive. It offers a lot of what we like about the full-size Range Rover, but at a much more affordable price. That means you get a commanding view of the road, a luxurious interior, a cosseting ride and impressive off-road ability.
Our favourite model, the P440e plug-in hybrid, offers a substantial pure-electric range of 70 miles. That not only enhances the car's already impressive level of refinement, but it also makes it even more enticing as a company car, due to its ultra-low tax rating.
- Offers lots of Range Rover qualities for a lower price
- Incredible ability off-road
- Fantastic range on the PHEV model
- Cheaper than a Range Rover, but still very expensive
- Rivals are sharper to drive
- Land Rover’s reliability record is a concern
Electric cars and luxury cars often go hand in hand, and in the case of the BMW i7 the pairing works very well. It has a lavish, tech-filled interior, very hushed driving manners and an impressive official range of up to 387 miles (although this varies depending on the spec).
For those who are being driven, it offers an enormous 31in 8K touchscreen, which lowers from the headlining at the touch of a button, and two supremely comfortable rear lounge seats that have a massage function.
If you prefer to drive, the i7 is a good proposition, too. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 4.7sec, which is faster than most versions of the Mercedes EQS, although not as insanely quick as any Tesla Model S. Its real-world range of around 300 miles is a little lower than the two aforementioned rivals, though.
- Stunning interior
- Impressive optional 8K cinema screen
- Extremely comfy for all occupants
- Battery range isn’t spectacular
- Desirable options are very expensive
- Looks won’t appeal to everyone
The BMW X7 is the biggest and most luxurious SUV BMW makes. As such, the interior is beautifully made with sumptuous materials throughout, plus it comes with seven seats as standard, unlike the rival Porsche Cayenne.
Behind the wheel, the X7 is remarkably hushed and surprisingly agile for such a big car, thanks to the standard air suspension, which helps it feel more graceful than the Land Rover Discovery or the Mercedes GLS.
The X7’s other asset is its sheer size. It’s truly cavernous inside, meaning there’s masses of space for those in the second row, and the two rearmost seats are roomier than those on an Audi Q7 or GLS. It also treats rear seat occupants niceties such as heated, electronically folding seats and separate air-con controls.
- Super quiet and comfortable
- Incredibly spacious and practical
- Great infotainment system
- There are cheaper alternatives
- Feels its size and weight on the road
- Looks won’t be to all tastes
The Audi Q7 has been one of our favourite luxury SUVs since the original version went on sale in 2006. Instead of resting on its laurels, the latest Q7 is a great all-rounder, offering a supremely comfortable ride and excellent agility for such an enormous SUV.
Air suspension comes as standard on all versions of the Q7, so ride quality is good across the board, but if you want to waft along with the most relaxing ride opt for a Sport or S Line version.
The Q7’s interior is one of the roomiest and plushest of any luxury SUV and there is plenty of space for adults to stretch out. It has slightly more leg room than the BMW X5 and Land Rover Discovery and virtually matches that of the Volvo XC90. All Q7s also come with seven seats as standard.
- Smooth and powerful engines
- Pillowy ride in Sport and S line trims
- Superb interior quality
- Touchscreen infotainment system
- Third-row space is better in the BMW X7
- Entry-level Sport trim misses some important kit
The smallest of Rolls-Royce's luxury saloons is supremely cosseting and comfortable, offering monstrous performance along with serene cruising manners and an exquisite interior.
Like all current Rolls Royce models it’s powered by a stonking great 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 petrol engine, and it has four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering as standard. It’s no snarling big cat to drive, though. Instead it wafts its occupants along almost silently, its standard air suspension ironing out virtually all bumps and potholes. Only when you press your foot to the floor is the silence broken by the gravelly sound of the engine.
For those who can afford to buy and run it, you will not be disappointed.
- Outstandingly comfortable ride
- Fabulous interior
- Crushing performance
- Astronomically expensive to buy
- Thirsty engine also makes it costly to run
Not only is the Mercedes S-Class packed to the rafters with technology, but it’s also a comfortable and exceedingly well-appointed luxury saloon, and one of the best for rear seat passengers.
The S-Class’s interior is certain to impress, too. All versions come with a giant portrait-orientated touchscreen infotainment system, heated front and rear seats, four-zone climate control, eight USB-C ports and a removable 7.0in tablet in the rear armrest.
The S580e plug-in hybrid is our favourite S-Class model because it has a substantial real-world electric range of up to 63 miles and it qualifies for low benefit-in-kind tax.
- Fantastic plug-in hybrid version
- Ride is mostly very comfortable
- Loads of space, especially in the rear of long-wheelbase models
- Overly reliant on fiddly touch-sensitive controls
- Entry-level diesel isn't as smooth as it should be
- Mercedes's reliability record isn't the best
The Range Rover needs no introduction, and this fifth-generation model takes all the elements from the previous model and enhances them.
As before, it has a road presence few cars can equal, but now it gets an upmarket interior with improved technology and a largely comfortable ride.
The diesel versions make most sense for private buyers, but the P440e and P510e plug-in hybrids are cheapest for company car drivers, and their pure electric range of 68-70 miles is the longest of any luxury SUV.
The only cause for concern is Land Rover's reliability record, which remains among the worst of any car brand.
- Fabulous driving position
- Fantastic off-road ability
- Useful seven-seat versatility
- Very expensive
- Reliability is a concern
- More physical controls for the infotainment would be preferable
As soon as you step inside the iX, there's no mistaking it for anything other than a luxury car. Swathes of upmarket materials have been used throughout the interior, including sustainably sourced wood and pleasingly robust-feeling plastics.
Being electric, it's also incredibly hushed on the move and offers strong performance, although the real-world range of the xDrive40 model is disappointing at 178 miles. The more powerful xDrive50 has a larger battery and real-world range of 284 miles, which is more in line with rivals, such as the Audi E-tron and Jaguar I-Pace.
Designed from the ground up to be a pure electric model, the iX is roomy enough to seat five adults in comfort, and it has lots of useful storage solutions. It doesn’t come as a seven-seater, though.
- One of the quietest cars we’ve ever tested
- Spacious and luxurious interior
- Great infotainment system
- Air suspension and rear-wheel steering available only on pricier xDrive50
- xDrive40 has a disappointing real-world range
- Teslas have a better charging infrastructure
The A8’s blend of performance, comfort and serenity are wedded to a beautifully built, practical and well-equipped interior. In fact, by a whisker, it beats its chief rival the Mercedes S-Class, which shows just how good it is to drive and be driven in.
Like the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Range Rover, the A8 can be had in standard-wheelbase form (ideal if you’re a private buyer looking for the ultimate luxury saloon) or as a stretched, long-wheelbase L model, which provides even more leg room for those sitting in the back. Like former German chancellor, Angela Merkel, we prefer the A8 L.
Whether you’re sitting in the back or front seats, you can’t fail to notice the sumptuous fit and finish of the A8’s interior. It may not be as flashy or tech-laden as some alternatives, but it certainly is the most well-heeled.
- Extremely comfortable ride
- Spacious interior and boot
- Class-leading interior quality
- Expensive to run in terms of depreciation
- Plug-in hybrid has a shorter electric range than the S-Class
- Dim-witted automatic gearbox
Bentley is exceptionally good at producing beautifully built luxury cars that are also great to drive, and with the Bentayga that theory is upheld.
The brand’s first SUV, it has a great sense of occasion, brilliant refinement and impressive levels of comfort and performance.
You’d be hard-pushed to spot it, but the Bentayga shares the same platform as the Audi Q7, and under the bonnet you'll find that model’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine or the tech-laden V6 plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
That’s where the similarities end, though. The Bentley has a beautifully hand-finished interior, and a large infotainment screen that comes loaded with useful features, including wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, real-time navigation and an embedded SIM.
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- Beautiful hand-finished interior
- Effortless performance
- Impressive infotainment system
- Gearbox can be laggy around town
- High running costs
- Average boot space
The best luxury cars in 2023
A luxury car should have sumptuous materials, ride comfort worthy of a magic carpet, and a super-smooth engine. Here's our run-down of the top 10, and the one we'd avoid
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