Best luxury cars 2021
Luxury cars need to be opulent enough to tempt people used to the best of everything and as good to drive as they are to be driven in. Here we count down the top 10 – and name the models to avoid...
Luxury cars are among the most comfortable and refined models in the world. However, the best also have sumptuous interiors complete with high-tech entertainment systems and loads of space for rear-seat passengers.
Running costs might seem less important, but many luxury saloons are run as company cars, so low CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are still a consideration.
So, what are the best luxury cars on sale right now? And which should you avoid? Let's start with the top 10:
10. Bentley Mulsanne
Big, brash and showy the Mulsanne may be, but these aren’t necessarily negatives when you’re looking for a car that represents your status. Besides, it's undeniably stately, oozing luxury with a hand-built finish that you can tailor to your heart’s content.
9. Volvo S90
After something a little less ostentatious and a lot more affordable? Then this big, Swedish saloon could be just the thing, because it has a spacious and stunning interior, and comes very well equipped. Just bear in mind that it's not as good to drive as the best rivals.
8. Rolls-Royce Phantom
Now in its eighth generation, the Phantom represents the pinnacle of the Rolls-Royce range and, in some ways, the new car market as a whole. It's immensely comfortable, but you’ll obviously need very deep pockets to buy and run one.
7. Jaguar XF
Thanks to its precise steering and agile handling, no mainstream luxury saloon is more entertaining to drive than the Jaguar XF, yet it's also comfortable over long distances. The best rivals are quieter, though, and they have classier interiors.
6. BMW 7 Series
Despite being a huge car, BMW's latest 7 Series flagship is fun to drive – although the down side of this is a slightly firmer ride than you get in its chief rivals, the Audi A8 and Mercedes S-Class. The 7 Series is also refined and surprisingly fuel-efficient, plus it's available with plenty of impressive gadgets.
5. Audi A6
This is a cosseting, quiet and technologically advanced saloon that feels beautifully built. Its infotainment system is distracting to use on the move, though, and the automatic gearboxes can be slow-witted, so the A6 just misses out on a place in the top four.
4. BMW 6 Series GT
We know that, to some eyes, the 6 Series GT isn't as svelte as the Audi A7 Sportback and Mercedes CLS, but is it our job to tell you what looks attractive? Absolutely not; that’s for you to decide. Instead, we quantify how good cars are, and the 6 Series GT is objectively better than both its key rivals, thanks to its exquisite and spacious interior, generous spec and smooth driving manners.
3. Mercedes S-Class
It should come as no surprise to see the S-Class make the top three of this list. It has long been one of the class leaders in the luxury saloon market, and continues to offer all the comfort, performance, space and gadgets you could want.
2. Audi A8
As good as the S-Class is, the Audi A8 goes that little bit further where it counts. For example, its ride is slightly more supple, it’s a tad more refined at 70mph and when you prod any part of the interior or twiddle its knobs and buttons, it feels as if it has been constructed to tolerances one or two microns tighter.
1. BMW 5 Series
The latest BMW 5 Series isn't just our reigning Luxury Car of the Year, but a former overall Car of the Year. Whichever version you choose, you’ll be getting one of the classiest and most comfortable cars on sale today. Indeed, it's actually better to drive than the much pricier 7 Series. It's a truly fantastic choice that will make you question the need to spend any more.
And the luxury car to avoid...
Aston Martin Rapide S
Aston Martin makes some fantastic cars these days, but the Rapide S isn't one of them. It's noisy, the ride is unsettled and the handling nothing special, while the interior is seriously cramped.
It may have swanky looks, but the Ghibli is off the pace in most other areas. The diesel engine, which most people buy, is noisy and comparatively inefficient, plus the Ghibli isn't particularly comfortable or sharp to drive and its infotainment system feels dated.