Luxury cars – a class comprised in significant proportion of large traditional limousine saloons with one or two oversized hatchbacks and demure SUVs included – are the cars in which high-end executives choose either to drive or to be driven in.
That means they need to offer outstanding comfort both in the front and back seats, a silky smooth ride, excellent drivability and refinement, ample performance – and they must also serve as better status symbols than most things on four wheels. High levels of in-car technology and infotainment are a must, and connectivity systems that will allow such machines to be used as mobile offices are increasingly important.
This list takes in cars that are both incredibly comfortable, great to drive and great to be driven in; and the ones at the top of our rankings are capable of more besides. For our super luxury top ten, meanwhile, where you’ll find the even pricier Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Mercedes-Maybachs of this world, click this way.
10 best luxury cars currently on sale
When Mercedes-Benz sets out to make a new S-Class, the brief is to make the best car in the world. While it might not visually seduce like a Jaguar XJ, the big Merc offers an ownership experience that should be even more appealing.
This car does what it’s supposed to do superbly and is functionally exceptional. It was conceived as a long-wheelbase saloon, giving it unprecedented torsional rigidity, and the ride is helped by standard air suspension with adaptive dampers.
There’s a choice of four petrol and two diesel engines, with a nine-speed automatic ‘box standard equipment. An advanced 48v hybrid electric powertrain technology used to boost both performance and efficiency in some derivates, while the plug-in hybrid S560e will be the default choice in the range for anyone liable to pay benefit-in-kind tax (it attracts less than half as much BIK tax as any of the other derivative). For those who don't care a bit about such things, meanwhile, there's always the 600-horsepower S63.
The S-Class is engineered to operate quietly and comfortably at all times. On both town roads and motorway it could hardly ride better, and it steers directly and precisely, with luxury-appropriate isolation.
The interior is spacious and supremely comfortable; not quite as well-festooned with technology as some of its rivals, owing to the car's relative age - although the assortment does include a 12.3in infotainment screen and Mercedes’ Comand Online system as standard, and a suite of rear-cabin infotainment equipment available as an option.
The latest Range Rover, the fourth generation of the model, is as revolutionary as any in history, with an aluminium monocoque chassis and an unashamedly luxurious agenda. That it is a luxury car first and 4x4 second is not to run down its capability offroad one jot, however.