Buying Advice

Luxury cars for almost every budget

Mercedes-Benz makes cars that are budget-friendly and vehicles that could break the bank.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The concept of a luxury car for any budget means different things to different people, and often it depends not only on the features or price point, but also on personal perspective and perception. The driver of a 15-year-old econobox might think any new car is a luxury, while someone used to piloting a $100,000 Mercedes might be slightly harder to please.

Let's consider what a luxury sedan might look like for those within just about any new-car budget. Keep in mind that vehicles listed here are within ranges — final prices could be slightly higher or lower than the range shown. Sticking with traditional luxury cars, each vehicle listed here is a 4-door sedan — and a potential luxury car for any budget.

$20,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

2020 Hyundai Elantra Limited — $22,800
Hyundai may not be the name that comes to mind when it comes to luxury, but the brand's best-selling model is surprisingly equipped for the price. Refreshed last year with a new hood, front fascia, grille and headlights, the current Elantra has a more chiseled look than its predecessor. Inside the Elantra Limited feels like a premium sedan with standard features that include leather heated seats, dual-zone climate control with CleanAir Ionizer, wireless device charging, proximity key with pushbutton start, Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, Infinity premium audio system and 7-inch high-resolution display screen. With full LED headlights and taillights as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, the Elantra looks the part of a luxury car as well.

Other options:

$40,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

2020 Mercedes-Benz C300 — $41,400
The best-selling passenger car in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the C-Class moved into its fourth year of the current generation last year with updated styling, more power and new features. Looking like a proper Mercedes with standard LED headlights and taillights and freshened front-end styling, the C-Class is available in a number of trim levels with varying levels of power. The entry-level C300 comes well equipped with a 7-inch display, a power sunroof, active brake assist, a rearview camera, keyless start and a new multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel that includes Touch Control Buttons that respond to swiping motions. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine producing 255 horsepower, teamed with a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission. The C-Class is available with Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive for an additional $2,000.

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$60,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

2020 Lincoln Continental Reserve — $59,870
The Lincoln Continental is a name long associated with American luxury, and in 2017 this classic returned to the U.S. market after a 15-year hiatus. The flagship sedan of Ford's luxury brand, the Continental is designed to provide a quiet and relaxing experience for all passengers. Approaching the Continental brings it to life, projecting the Lincoln logo in front of the doors to act as a welcome mat. Unique door handles combine the classic handle with an electronic door release. The interior has a welcoming mix of soft leather and real wood trim, as well as an available 19-speaker Revel Ultima audio system. Optional Perfect Position seats can be adjusted 30 different ways and are available with front and rear heating, cooling and massage functions. Continental can be configured with front- or all-wheel drive with power coming from the standard 2.7-liter twin-turbo engine producing 335 horsepower and a plentiful 380 pound-feet of torque.

Other options:

$80,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

2020 Audi A8 — $83,800
The A8 resides at the pinnacle of the Audi sedan lineup and was completely new for the 2019 model year. Now in its fourth generation, the A8 introduces a modern look for the Audi brand with stylish high-tech headlights that flank the latest version of Audi's signature Singleframe grille. At the rear are new LED taillights, enhanced by a lighting strip that stretches the width of the car. Passengers will find an ultra-luxurious interior that features the latest high-tech displays and features. The multi-screen display consists of a 10.3-inch upper screen with smartphonelike functionality with haptic touch functionality, while the lower 8.6-inch screen can be used to adjust HVAC, seating and up to 32 programmable shortcuts. In front of the driver is the latest version of the Audi virtual cockpit that contains a 12.3-inch high-definition screen that can be configured to suit driver preferences.

Other options:

$100,000 Range

2020 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 Granlusso

Photo courtesy of Maserati

2020 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4 Granlusso— $110,990
Once this luxury list hits the $100,000 mark, most folks might assume that whatever gets highlighted would be rather exclusive. This isn't necessarily true; but if exclusivity is important, why not try the Maserati Quattroporte? The flagship of the Maserati line, the Quattroporte is handmade in Modena, Italy, and features an elegant interior with fine Italian leather and silk trim from Ermenegildo Zegna, the Italian luxury fashion house. In addition to traditional niceties, the coachbuilder has embraced technology with a Maserati Touch Control screen, adjustable pedals, a rearview camera and an optional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, as well as a WLAN-based Wi-Fi system. Best of all, under the hood lurks a Ferrari-built engine that emits a sound so amazing even those who aren't looking will know something special is motoring by.

Other options:

$120,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

2019 Jaguar XJR575 — $123,300
The Jaguar XJ may be in its final year, but there's still time to pick up this special edition of the British luxury sedan. Introduced for the 2018 model year, the XJR575 gets built on the long wheelbase Jaguar XJ sedan and has bespoke styling features inside and out. The XJ is not a common car on the road, which already gives it a level of exclusivity; however, the XJR575 further differentiates itself with a gloss-black grille and side power vents, sports exhaust with quad pipes, hood louvers, red brake calipers and 20-inch gloss-black finish wheels. The interior is equally special with sport seats featuring diamond-quilted leather and 575 branding throughout. The long wheelbase provides a spacious rear seat. As one might guess from the name, the XJR575 is equipped with a unique version of Jaguar's supercharged V8 engine that generates 575 horsepower, moving this big luxury sedan to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and continuing to a top speed of 186 mph.

Other options:

$140,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4 Door — $140,250
As the high-performance tuning group associated with Mercedes Benz, AMG has produced two standalone sports cars: the SLS AMG and the current AMG GT coupe / roadster. Now there's a new AMG-specific model, the AMG GT 4-Door. The all-new AMG GT 4-Door has styling cues that clearly link it to its 2-door sibling. Up front are slim multibeam LED headlights that flank the AMG "shark nose" grille and feed into the low and long sculpted hood. At the rear are LED taillights and quad exhaust pipes — a must for any AMG model. Passengers will enjoy the luxurious surroundings inside, but the driver will be most excited by the hand-built biturbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that generates a plentiful 577 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The four-seat GT 63 will sprint to 60 mph in only 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 193 mph.

Other options:

$160,000 Range

Photo courtesy of BMW of North America, LLC

2020 BMW 7 Series M760i XDrive — $157,700
The 7 Series is the flagship of the BMW family, and this M760i xDrive sits at the peak of the 7 Series lineup. The big sedan combines the utmost in luxury with impressive performance to create the ultimate high-performance sport sedan. Rear-seat passengers enjoy big, comfortable seats that recline, massage, heat and cool while they experience the high-end video entertainment system. As inviting as the rear seat might be, the driver's seat is the one to choose. With a TwinPower Turbo V12 engine producing 601 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, this big sedan can reach 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, boasting a top speed limited to 155 mph. Full-time all-wheel drive and legendary BMW handling make this a luxury-performance sedan for any season.

Other options:

$180,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S — $185,000
Porsche has introduced its first fully-electric vehicle and it is pure Porsche. Taycan's design team made sure the new model is easily recognizable as a Porsche, with its sleek body and roofline that slopes toward the rear in its signature Teutonic taper. The headlights have a futuristic look, while at the rear a light bar over the large PORSCHE name evokes the look of the new 911. Inside Taycan, occupants experience a new dashboard that features a standard 10.9-inch infotainment display as well as an optional passenger display; both meld behind a single glass panel. This first electric Porsche is powered by two electric motors — one at each axle – which also creates an advanced 4-wheel-drive system. The Turbo S generates a staggering 750 horsepower and 774 lb-ft of torque, making it the most potent vehicle in the Porsche lineup. That's enough grunt to move this 4-door Porsche to 60 mph in a mere 2.6 seconds.

Other options:

$200,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

2020 Mercedes-Maybach S650 — $202,550
While the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is approaching the pinnacle of luxury, the Maybach takes things to another level, especially for rear-seat occupants. Those lucky passengers will enjoy seats that are both heated and cooled, can recline up to 43 degrees, and offer six massage programs. Ultra-soft Nappa leather and hand-finished wood can be found throughout the cabin, including a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel. The feature list is much too long to list, but highlights include 4-zone climate control, 64 color/3-zone LED ambient lighting, heated armrests and a Burmester 3-D Surround Sound audio system.

Other options:

$225,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

2020 Bentley Flying Spur — $214,600
There's a certain level of luxury expected from a Bentley, and this all-new Flying Spur delivers. Hand built in Great Britain, the latest Flying Spur features a new aluminum and composite chassis that let engineers increase the wheelbase by more than 5 inches which translates to an even roomier interior. Styling is updated with a bold grille flanked by LED matrix headlights with cut crystal detailing, and a retractable and restyled Flying B is positioned above the grille. Inside, the new Bentley Flying Spur is swathed in leather, wood and technology. Any Flying Spur owner will be continually answering the question whether the best seat in the house is in the comfort of the rear seat or behind the wheel. While rear-seat passengers will enjoy the lavish surroundings with the expected high levels of craftsmanship and refinement, drivers get to experience Bentley's twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine producing 626 horsepower, delivering runs to 60 mph that take 3.7 seconds with an eventual top speed of 207 mph.

$300,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

2020 Rolls-Royce Ghost — $315,000
From the "everything is relative" department, the Ghost is the "entry-level" model in the Rolls-Royce lineup. Rolls-Royce has long been the benchmark for luxury automobiles, and this still holds true for the Ghost. The hand-built sedan is swathed in five coats of paint that take seven days to apply, with an additional five hours of hand polishing. Inside is a mix of classic matching wood veneers and hand-stitched leather seats with the latest in high-tech connectivity and infotainment . The twin-turbo 6.6-liter V12 engine provides more than adequate power, and the intelligent air suspension delivers an impressively smooth, quiet ride.

Other options:
  • Bentley Mulsanne

$350,000 Range

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

2020 Bentley Mulsanne Speed — $342,300
The Mulsanne Speed is a perfect example of the classic large and powerful Bentley. The car weighs almost 3 tons and stretches more than 18 feet long, but with a 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 530 horsepower and a whopping 811 lb-ft of torque, it easily reaches 60 mph in under 5 seconds while boasting a top speed of 190 mph. The Mulsanne Speed's driver-adjustable air suspension can focus on comfort or stiffness to optimize performance and handling. The lavish interior features diamond-quilted leather on seats and door panels, a leather headliner, piano-black veneer with handcrafted carbon-fiber inlays, and an embroidered Bentley emblem on each seat. A 60 GB onboard hard drive stores music for the driver and films for rear-seat passengers to view on 8-inch screens. A frosted glass bottle cooler — replete with crystal champagne flutes — can be installed in the rear armrest, and power-operated tables can be fitted to the rear of the front seats.

$400,000+ Range

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

2020 Rolls-Royce Phantom — $450,000
If there is a bar against which all luxury cars are judged, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is well above it. The legendary British marque has introduced an all-new eighth-generation Phantom that is completely new from the ground up. In addition to the added stiffness of a new aluminum spaceframe, the Phantom features Rolls-Royce's "Magic Carpet Ride," which can adjust the air suspension continuously for the smoothest motive experience. The system uses a camera to assess road conditions and adjusts the Phantom's setup proactively to accommodate rough road surfaces. The elegant rear seat is accessed through larger rear-hinged doors that can be softly closed with the push of a button. The gamut of standard features is too long to list here, but it includes the latest in advanced safety technology, the highest-quality materials and just about any level of customization a customer could desire. And for those seeking a Rolls-Royce that goes even longer on luxury, might we suggest the extended-wheelbase version of the Phantom, which can be had for $530,000.

Other options:
  • A very nice house
  • A new boat

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Continental GT Mulliner is Bentley's newest high-end offering.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors
The Continental GT Mulliner has been added to the Bentley stable joining other models that represent the finest the super-luxury brand has to offer. The Mulliner brand offers buyers a wider variety of customization than the traditional Bentley lineup of vehicles.

The new model features a 'Double Diamond' matrix grille at the front, complimented by matching front fender vents at the sides that feature black and silver design with chromed Mulliner branding. Satin Silver mirror caps with Mulliner Welcome Lamps beneath, and illuminated outer door sills with Mulliner text take residence on the side of the vehicle.

Bentley Continental GT Mulliner 

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Bentley has given the model 22-inch Mulliner wheels with a painted and polished finish. The centre badge of each wheel is self-leveling, keeping its Bentley logo upright at all times.

The cabin of the Continental GT is already plush but the Mulliner brand touch takes the level of sophistication and refinement up a notch. The color split in the cabin is exclusive to the car, with a new combination of primary and secondary hide joined by a third color through a flowing design line.

Mulliner proposes eight different three-color combinations for order, using Bentley's palette of hides and threads to create a contrast throughout the cabin. "Diamond in Diamond" quilting to the seats, doors trims, and rear quarter panels are standard. The quilting consists of nearly 400,000 stitches with each diamond containing 712 stitches.

Each seat in the car is finished with an embroidered Mulliner logo. The floor mats are edged with micro-piping to match the rest of the color theme of the interior. The roof of the cabin is trimmed along its full length with indented hide, or smooth hide to match the seat backs if a buyer chooses the fixed glass roof instead.

The center console is made of a diamond milled technical finish that is flanked by Grand Black walnut veneer and chrome overlays. At the center is a Breitling clock. The passenger side fascia is finished with a silhouette of the car's exterior profile and the Mulliner logo.

The interior appointments can be personalized further with a range of 88 contemporary, colorized veneer finishes that can be matched to the interior or exterior of the car. Burr walnut veneer is hand sanded and polished to produce a perfectly smooth finish before painting to match the colour of the customer's choice. Once dry, the veneer is polished to achieve a mirror-like finish.

Buyers are able to choose whether their Bentley model is powered by a 6.0-liter W12 engine or a 4.0-liter V8. The 12-cylinder gets 626 brake horsepower and the V8 achieves 542 brake horsepower. Both engines come standard with 48-volt active anti-roll technology.

Orders for both coupe and convertible versions of the Continental GT Mulliner will be taken starting in October. The first deliveries begin early next year.

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The new RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car showcases the future of the Hyundai brand.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai debuted the RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car this week, showcasing what isn't the beginning but what is very much the future of what the Hyundai brand will offer. The electric-based high-performance race car, like those designed by other manufacturers is a proving ground for technologies that may be employed in Hyundai passenger vehicles in the future.

Hyundai has been quite open about this calling the platform the RM20e is based on, the RM development platform, will be used for future N brand products that are inspired by the car. This follows as part of the progressive evolution of the car with previous iterations bearing the names RM14, RM15, RM16 and RM19.

RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai's first electric race car was developed for the eTCR electric touring car series in 2019 - the Veloster N eTCR.

"Our new electrified RM20e pushes the proven RM platform forcefully into a new, environmentally-focused decade of the 21st century, stretching the performance envelope of electrification on normal road environments," said Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group. "RM20e represents a revolutionary new chapter of electrified performance for the Racing Midship series, and our N engineers continue to garner valuable insights in the arena of zero-emission performance dynamics."

The mid-engined, rear-wheel drive RM20e features a powertrain that achieves 810 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque thanks to its electric motor. It can get from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds and to 124 mph from a standstill in 9.88 seconds.

Hyundai says that the RM20e combines "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip while retaining daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability".

The propulsion system driving the car, as well as the equipment that helps it achieve the "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip" are part of Hyundai's larger plant to develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai isn't working alone. The company has formed a strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili to co-develop battery and fuel cell electric vehicle prototypes.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of the Hyundai, Genesis, Kia, and new Ioniq brand, has committed to addinng 44 "eco-friendly" models by 2025.

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