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Luxury Car Overview

U.S. News & World Report
February 20, 2013
Luxury Car Overview
Luxury Car Overview

Looking for the best vehicle styling, performance and quality money can buy? Luxury cars offer cachet, high-quality materials, all the latest tech features and powerful engines. If you dream of a BMW and not a Honda, here’s a guide to luxury cars that will make you the envy of everyone you pass.


If you want to buy a vehicle from a luxury brand, expect to pay at least $30,000 for a small car, like the Acura TSX and BMW 1-Series. The most elite cars and SUVs can easily cost $80,000 or more, like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Lexus LS Hybrid. Luxury cars cost more because they have higher-quality materials, better tech features, more standard features and more powerful engines.

Luxury Sedans and Hatchbacks

You can get a luxury car in just about any size. From compact models like the Acura ILX and Audi A3, all the way up to flagship sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS, luxury cars can offer exceptional performance, great fuel economy and opulent interiors. Choosing one depends on your priorities. If you want something small and fuel-efficient, consider cars like the Audi A3 or Lexus CT 200h. However, if you’re looking for a model with a spacious back seat and a lavish interior, cars like the Mercedes-Benz E350, BMW 528i or the Infiniti M37 might fit the bill.

For even more luxury, consider flagship sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. All three have some of the most spacious, luxurious interiors money can buy. Additionally, most come with a long list of standard features. The BMW 7-Series, for example, comes standard with four-zone climate control, a moonroof, navigation, a backup camera and a USB port.

Luxury SUVs

Whether you’re interested in a compact, midsize or large SUV, there’s a luxury model that will meet your needs. Among small SUVs, the Audi Q5 has great performance and a high-end interior with comfortable seats. It’s also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest, consider a new model like the BMW X1. The X1 is new for the U.S. market and comes loaded with standard features, like leatherette upholstery and rain-sensing windshield wipers. For $700 more, you can get the cold weather package that includes retractable headlight washers, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

If you need some additional space, midsize luxury SUVs usually seat between five and seven people, depending on whether or not they have a third row. Additionally, most SUVs in the class offer V6 or V8 engines, as well as sumptuous interiors. The Acura MDX offers a high-tech interior, sporty performance and seating for seven. If you need something even larger, take a look at the Cadillac Escalade or the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Both have plenty of power, as well as interiors that can keep even the pickiest passengers happy.

Luxury Coupes, Convertibles and Sports Cars

Singles or empty nesters who want something fun to drive on the weekends will love owning a luxury coupe, convertible or sports car. Just keep in mind that trunk space is generally limited, as is space for more than two people.

While you’ll make some compromises in space and utility with a sports car, the upside is that you also get powerful engines and athletic handling. Take the Porsche Boxster, for example. Its small size, nimble handling and strong six-cylinder engine make it one of the best-performing sports cars on the market. If you need more space and more power, you can opt for a larger car like the Chevrolet Corvette, which has an impressive 22.4 cubic feet of cargo space and a V8 engine.

If you’re interested in a luxury sports car, you may also want to consider a convertible. Many luxury sports cars and even some coupes feature retractable hardtops. The BMW Z4 has a retractable roof, and the Audi TT is available as either a coupe or a roadster. Keep in mind, though, that opting for a convertible will decrease your already-limited cargo space, since the retractable top is usually stored in the trunk.

Some luxury cars combine good performance with practical, roomy interiors. A great example is the Infiniti G37. The G37 is available as a coupe, sedan or convertible. Regardless of which model you choose, the Infiniti G37 offers a powerful V6 engine and a luxurious interior.