Top Luxuary Cars that went from Worst to Best

Top Luxuary Cars that went from Worst to Best

Nothing says class like arriving somewhere in a huge luxury sedan. Crossovers and SUVs (there are a lot!) may be having their moment in the spotlight, with even exotic and luxury brands getting into the game, but full-size luxury sedans were there before, and they’ll be around long after the SUV fad fades. The idea of ranking these best-of-the-best vehicles may seem absurd, but there has to be a preeminent choice—even among these contenders for preeminence. Click through to see the players ranked from worst (relatively speaking) to the very best:

  1. Cadillac XTS

If your idea of a Cadillac is a plush-riding luxobarge, then the XTS is the Cadillac for you—although you really should hurry, since the XTS is being discontinued soon. With a 304-hp V-6, a six-speed automatic, and front- or all-wheel drive, it’s perfect for the senior citizen in us all—or for real senior citizens. The V-Sport has a 410-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 and all-wheel drive, but even this sportier trim is not much fun to drive. The CUE infotainment system is improved (the bar was low, given the original setup’s woes), and the interior is upscale enough, with nice materials and a big back seat—the better to be driven in, yes?

  1. Cadillac XTS

Base price: $47,890

EPA combined: 18–22 mpg

Trunk space: 18 cubic feet

  1. Maserati Quattroporte

In Italian, “Quattroporte” means “four doors,” but you don’t need to speak the language to appreciate this Maserati’s dramatic flair. Two twin-turbo engines are offered—a 424-hp 3.0-liter V-6 and a 523-hp 3.8-liter V-8. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is offered with the V-6. Inside the sumptuous, leather-lined cabin is an 8.4-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking are optional.

Base price: $109,675

EPA combined: 17–18 mpg

Trunk space: 19 cubic feet

  1. Lincoln Continental

If you’re not looking too closely, Lincoln’s Continental appears to be an impressive sedan. It is handsome, large, and offers some fun color combinations and oodles of chrome trim inside. It’s a modern take on the classic American luxury barge, after all. Closer inspection, however, reveals the Continental’s plebeian roots: Switchgear borrowed from far lesser Ford-branded products, unrefined ride and handling motions, and inefficient V-6 engines.

Base price: $47,140

EPA combined: 19–21 mpg

Trunk space: 17 cubic feet

  1. Cadillac CT6

Sleek styling and high-tech features help the CT6 shed the Cadillac clichés in an attempt to best its European rivals. A 265-hp turbo 2.0-liter inline-four drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission; a 335-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and a 404-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 pair with all-wheel drive and the eight-speed. A plug-in hybrid boasts up to 31 miles of electric-only range. Onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi is standard, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. High-end options include a 34-speaker stereo and adaptive cruise control. Like several other large General Motors car models, the CT6 is slated to die in 2019, although it was given a stay of execution until the middle of the year.

Base price: $51,490

EPA combined: 21–28 mpg

Trunk space: 16 cubic feet

  1. Jaguar XJ

As the only Brit in a segment ruled by Germans, the Jaguar XJ has a lot on its shoulders—a weight it bears remarkably well. The interior is appropriately swanky for the XJ’s place at the top of the Jaguar lineup, with quality materials and luxe styling. A supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with 340 horsepower comes standard; a 470-hp V-8 is available. We still have some niggles with build quality and the infotainment system, but even so, the XJ is a lovely ride. The racy XJR575 is reviewed separately and appears elsewhere on this list.

Base price: $76,695

EPA combined: 18–21 mpg

Trunk space: 17 cubic feet

  1. Lexus LS

Redesigned for 2018, the Lexus LS sets itself apart with adventurous and chiseled styling inside and out, which contrasts sharply with its insulated and muted driving demeanor. A new twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6 makes 416 horsepower and powers the rear or all four wheels through a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic, or there’s an available hybrid that uses a V-6 and two electric motors; a V-8 is no longer offered. We don’t like the infotainment system’s fussy touchpad, but the LS is priced significantly lower than a Mercedes-Benz S-class.

Base price: $76,325

EPA combined: 21–28 mpg

Trunk space: 17 cubic feet

  1. BMW 7-series

Unchanged for 2019, the BMW 7-Series will see changes soon: A refresh for 2020 has the full-size Bimmer sedan adopting a toothy new grille design. (We’re not being hyperbolic—BMW actually claims the new kidney grilles are 40 percent larger than before.) Beyond its face, the 7-series will receive enhancements to its optional V-8 engine, as well as to its plug-in hybrid powertrain; there are expanded tech offerings, too, including a semi-autonomous driving function for certain highway scenarios.

Base price: $84,645

EPA combined: 16–24 mpg

Trunk space: 18 cubic feet

  1. Jaguar XJR575

Land vehicle, Vehicle, Car, Luxury vehicle, Automotive design, Performance car, Mid-size car, Personal luxury car, Sedan, Full-size car, 

Premium performance and ultra-luxury converge in the Jaguar XJR575. This big cat packs an equally big growl with its 575-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8; an eight-speed automatic directs power to the rear wheels. Intended to trade blows with the best biggies from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-AMG, the lightweight Jag has a long wheelbase and sports an uprated suspension and enhanced brake components. Exclusive aero add-ons decorate the exterior, and diamond-quilted seating adorns the opulent interior.

Base price: $123,695

EPA combined: 18 mpg

Trunk space: 17 cubic feet

  1. Kia K900

You might not have realized it, but Kia has been building and selling a full-size luxury sedan for several years now. In fact, the K900 is now in its second generation, having just been redesigned for 2019. This grand, rear-wheel-drive sedan (all-wheel drive is optional) comes with a 365-hp twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6 and a primary focus on comfort, not sportiness.

Base price: $60,895

EPA combined: 21 mpg

Trunk space: 15 cubic feet

  1. Volvo S90

Clean Swedish style sets the Volvo S90 apart in the luxury sedan arena. (That, and the S90’s available station-wagon siblings, the V90 and tougher-looking V90 Cross Country.) Beneath the Volvo’s beautiful skin lies some advanced safety technology—as one expects from the brand that is nearly synonymous with safety. The interior is similarly gorgeous and well-appointed, while buyers can choose from between three powertrains ranging from a turbocharged four-cylinder to a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder to that same blown and turbo’d four mated to a plug-in hybrid setup.

  1. Volvo S90

Base price: $48,345

EPA combined: 25–27 mpg

Trunk space: 14 cubic feet

With elegant styling and a first-class cabin, the G90 is the Genesis brand’s first attempt at a luxury sedan. (It replaces, effectively, the Hyundai-badged Equus, which predated the Genesis brand’s formation.) Few options are offered, as nearly every conceivable feature is standard. Highlights include a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, adaptive dampers, a head-up display, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Two engines are offered—a 365-hp twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 and a 420-hp 5.0-liter V-8—both with an eight-speed automatic and rear- or all-wheel drive.

  1. Genesis G90

Base price: $70,345

EPA combined: 18–20 mpg

Trunk space: 16 cubic feet

  1. Audi A8

The A8 is the king of Audi’s luxury sedans, packed with tech including autonomous-driving features and luxury options—such as a foot warmer for rear-seat passengers. A 335-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is standard, and includes a 48-volt electrical system supporting an electric motor that assists at low speeds and serves as a heavy-duty starter motor. (The 48-volt system allows for lengthy engine-off periods when, say, stopped at lights or in traffic, with no effect on the A/C or accessory systems.) All-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic, and an air-spring suspension are standard. An optional system scans the road for imperfections and adapts the suspension to absorb them. A 449-hp plug-in hybrid with inductive (wireless!) charging arrives in 2019.

Base price: $84,795

EPA combined: 22 mpg

Trunk space: 13 cubic feet

  1. Mercedes-AMG S63 / S65

These Teutonic chariots mix sumptuous luxury with earthshaking power. Hinting at their potency with huge air intakes, big wheels, and quad tailpipes, the lineup—available as a sedan as well as a coupe and a cabriolet—starts with the 603-hp twin-turbo V-8 and nine-speed automatic in the all-wheel-drive S63 and tops out with the 621-hp twin-turbo V-12 in the S65 that sends a whopping 738 lb-ft to the rear wheels only. The cabins are awash in leather, carbon fiber, and all the technological and comfort-driven trappings of a modern Mercedes.

Base price: $150,545

EPA combined: 16–20 mpg

Trunk space: 17–18 cubic feet

  1. Mercedes-Benz S-class

The Mercedes-Benz S-class has always been synonymous with luxury, and it continues that proud tradition. Sedan models are powered by either a 362-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 (S450) or a 463-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 (S560, although more power is available in the AMG-branded versions that appear elsewhere in this roundup). Rear-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic are standard; all-wheel drive is optional. Coupe and convertible models get the V-8. In keeping with the car’s flagship status, the S-class can be loaded to the gills with technology, including active body control and enhanced autonomous-driving functions.

Base price: $92,245

EPA combined: 21–22 mpg

Trunk space: 12 cubic feet