The best luxury cars combine the finest materials, the latest on-board technology, and the most refined ride comfort in order to make every journey the most soothing experience possible. Although saloons are seen as the most traditional form of luxury car, there’s an increasing choice of premium SUVs on sale, too, meaning your whole family can savour the experience.
The big factor with luxury cars is exactly how much luxury you get for your money. The best cars come with plush seats covered in soft leather, while even the seats in the back will come with electric adjustment, massage options, and maybe even a recline function. There will be legroom to spare and the kind of in-car entertainment that used to be the preserve of first-class transatlantic flights, with high-end audio and visual systems that can be tailored to any requirement or need.
Luxury cars are not just all for show, either, as they play a key part in predicting which technology will feature on your family hatchback in 10 years time. Cars like the Mercedes S-Class have introduced features such as double glazed windows, noise-cancelling tech, autonomous driving systems and remote parking into standard everyday cars. But which models are best? We’ve rounded up our top 10 favourites here…
Top 10 best luxury cars 2022
- Bentley Flying Spur
- Mercedes EQS
- Mercedes S-Class
- Rolls Royce Ghost
- BMW 7 Series
- Bentley Continental GT
- Range Rover
- Rolls Royce Phantom
- Porsche Panamera
- Bentley Bentayga
1. Bentley Flying Spur
Luxury and performance are qualities synonymous with Bentley motor cars, and the Flying Spur is the brand’s ‘small’ four-door limousine. It uses an extended version of the Continental GT coupe’s platform, and comes with the choice of a V6 plug-in hybrid, a 4.0-litre V8, or a 6.0-litre W12 engine. No matter which engine you choose, this two-tonne-plus saloon delivers a sub-five second 0-62mph time. Naturally, the W12 offers the highest top speed at 207mph.
The Flying Spur offers majestic levels of refinement and was rightly crowned Luxury Car of the Year at our 2021 New Car Awards. It’s so well insulated and refined that even the roar of the twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 engine is merely an underlying soundtrack.
As with all Bentleys, the Flying Spur is beautifully finished inside with the finest wood and leather trim, so occupants can be carried in supreme comfort at high speeds.
2. Mercedes EQS
The Mercedes S-Class has long been seen by many as a staple of luxury cars, so when the all-electric EQS was first announced, all eyes were on it to see if it could deliver the same high standards into a new market. This pressure was only increased with the arrival of newcomer models like the Lucid Air.
Fortunately for Mercedes, it really has managed to deliver on these great expectations. The EQS meets all of the luxury car essentials – it’s spacious, stylish, comfortable, and absolutely loaded with tech. Although many of the top features are optional extras, the EQS can be specced with a large range of features such as a Burmester surround sound system, active ambient lighting, remote parking, massaging seats, and even the brand’s Air Balance system, which features an air ioniser and diffuses fragrances around the cabin.
The EQS doesn’t just impress on the luxury front, either, as it boasts brilliant battery range. Thanks to a huge 107.8kWh battery and aerodynamic design, both the 450+ and 580 4MATIC variants of EQS are capable of well over 400 miles per charge.
3. Mercedes S-Class
While the EQS is a new entry for Mercedes, the long-serving S-Class still offers one of the most refined and relaxing driving experiences on sale. Vibrations through the pedals and steering wheel are non-existent, and even at motorway speeds you won’t hear any wind or tyre roar.
You float along, unaware of the imperfections in the road surface, as the Mercedes simply soaks up the lumps and bumps as if they were never there to begin with. Add to this engines so quiet you will regularly be convinced the start/stop system has cut in and a silky smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox, and you have the ultimate luxury combination.
The S 500 4MATIC version uses a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine, producing 429bhp – which is good enough to propel it from 0-62mph in 4.9s. Even the 282bhp S 350 diesel is capable of a decent 6.4s sprint time, and a 155mph maximum speed.
There is no surprise that the long-wheelbase model is all about the rear seat, which comes with enough legroom to kick back and watch other road users drive past in their lesser vehicles. Should even that be too stressful, the seats come with heating and massaging features to take comfort up another notch.
4. Rolls-Royce Ghost
When it comes to luxury and refinement, the new Rolls Royce Ghost delivers in spades. There are only two parts carried over from the previous model – the Spirit of Ecstasy that sits atop the bonnet, and the umbrellas hidden within the doors.
The Ghost is based on Rolls-Royce’s latest aluminium chassis that it calls its ‘architecture of luxury’. It’s new to the Ghost, but can also be found beneath the Cullinan SUV and flagship Phantom.
Although perhaps a little less conspicuous than its Phantom sibling, the Ghost is still five-metres long and 2.5-tonnes in weight, so it could hardly be called understated. Thankfully, its 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine produces 563bhp, which allows a 0-62mph time of 4.8s and a 155mph top speed.
5. BMW 7 Series
The BMW 7 Series has always struggled to match the many benchmarks set by the Mercedes S-Class, but it isn’t for want of trying. With a stellar line-up of petrol and diesel engines, the option of a plug-in hybrid, handling that’s more akin to 5 Series than a limousine, and a host of hi-tech gadgetry, the understated 7 Series is still a great choice.
There’s also the choice between standard and long-wheelbase versions, which provides improved rear legroom and is therefore an excellent choice for chauffeurs.
The latest 7 Series car gets a more tapered design and is significantly lighter than the car it replaces thanks to the use of carbon fibre in its construction. This helps to save fuel, although it also means that the rapid 740i and 750i models handle surprisingly well for such a large car..
6. Bentley Continental GT
The Bentley Continental GT may be built on Porsche Panamera underpinnings but that is in no way a bad thing as both cars feature in this top ten list. This is a luxury ‘grand touring’ coupe that will not break a sweat when being driven across continents – hence the name. Power is plentiful too, with the choice of either a 525bhp V8 or 626bhp W12 engine.
The interior is a treat for anyone lucky enough to sit inside, with inspiration taken from the wings of the Bentley badge. The dashboard, for example, ‘wings’ majestically out from the central console, before continuing into the door trims, circling the occupants with a ring of wood and leather.
Along with the lavish design, the cabin features an array of technology including bang-up-to-date infotainment and safety systems. There’s also a bundle of new chassis tech that helps give the Continental GT its great driver feeling on the road.
7. Range Rover
Despite its SUV body, the Range Rover is just as comfortable as a long-distance cruiser as it is ploughing through a muddy field. Despite its imposing presence, the Range Rover is surprisingly nimble and hugely refined.
With the extra height the Range Rover has over its rivals, it feels truly massive in the back, especially in long wheelbase guise, and it gives a fantastic view. One downside of its sheer size though, is that it’s quite a climb up into the car.
Land Rover gives the Range Rover air-suspension that can be used to lower the body and make getting in-and-out easier, but even still, it’s not quite as easy to do so as in a BMW 7 Series or Audi A8.
8. Rolls-Royce Phantom
There’s no doubt that the Phantom is an incredible car. It’s powered by a 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine, which produces 563bhp and 900Nm of torque. This allows you to plant your right foot and accelerate from a standstill to 62mph in 5.3 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.
The price is suitably large to go with the Rolls’ grand dimensions and 21- or 22-inch wheels, as the least you can expect to pay is north of £300,000. So much as look at the options list and you will find that figure heading beyond the £400,000 mark.
On the road it is unbelievably quiet and comfortable – as you would expect – but should you find yourself in the driver’s seat, you will have a mixture of features to make sure you enjoy your time there. Firstly, there is four-wheel steering to aid in low-speed manoeuvres and high-speed stability, then there is the air suspension and active roll management to prevent unwanted lurching of the body through the corners – all of which make this enormous car a lot easier to keep under control.
9. Porsche Panamera
Like the Porsche 911, the Panamera is a masterclass in evolution ahead of revolution when it comes to its development. While it hasn’t been around anywhere near as long, it’s clear that the latest Panamera is a logical progression from its predecessor.
Thankfully, that means it looks more appealing than the original. The lines have been smoothed out, yet the 911 styling cues remain, while the driving experience has been enhanced to boost its range of ability.
It’s just as driver-focused as before, so it’s a pleasure to drive quickly, and it has performance by the bucketload, but the air-suspension can be switched to comfort mode at the press of a button to keep back-seat occupants comfortable and unruffled.
As before, there are standard and S models, rear and four-wheel drive is available, and there are also E-Hybrid, Turbo, Turbo S, and GTS models to choose from.
10. Bentley Bentayga
The Bentayga may be criticised for driving a bit like a top-spec Audi Q7, but it is still an incredibly well polished car that puts in a strong claim to be one of the most luxurious SUVs on the market. The British marque went big with its first attempt at an SUV with the First Edition models released at launch costing well over £200,000.
To ensure that the Bentayga is up to standard when behind the wheel, it is based on the same MLB architecture in which the Q7 and Porsche Cayenne are built upon. Should you wish to take advantage of Bentley’s most potent powertrain for the SUV, you can opt for a 6.0-litre W12 that pumps out 626bhp and 900Nm of torque.