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Best cars

Best Luxury Cars for 2017

By Martin Pratt

Article 13 of 14

The best luxury cars will whisk you from A to B in style, while also delivering reliability and offering the refinement and comfort you deserve. 

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For a car to be truly luxurious it needs to be effortless to drive, with a buttery-smooth ride and fantastic interior comfort. But to become a Which? Best Buy car it must also offer reliability and reasonable running costs.

Rather than Rolls-Royces or Bentleys, we focus on more realistic luxury models. Such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class, the BMW 5 series and 7 Series, and the Audi A6, A7 and A8. Plus the home-grown Jaguar XF and XJ, and the groundbreaking electric Tesla Model S. 

Considering most of these extravagant cars cost over £40,000 you'd expect them to be universally excellent. Sadly, that's not the case. 

Awful fuel economy, poor handling and sub-standard boots are just a few of the problems that separate the best luxury cars from the worst. We've included three models that exhibit these traits and more, so you know what to avoid.

Want to know which luxury car you should buy? Below are the best luxury cars worth your money. Scroll down to find the ones that aren't.

Which? members can log in to see the luxury cars we recommend. If you're not already a member, take out a £1 trial to unlock this table and all our online reviews - including our expert car reviews.

Best new luxury cars

BMW 7 Series (2015-)
Typical price £59,624
Brand score 83%
Reviewed May 2015
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A beautifully crafted limousine that will appeals to owner-drivers as well as those lucky enough to be in one of the back seats. It's high-performing, safe and ultra-comfortable, with all the equipment you could wish for.

BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (2012-)
Typical price £51,237
Brand score 81%
Reviewed Jun 2012
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Impressively quick, sharp yet safe handling and refined, too: this sleek four-door gets it right on almost every level and is a deserved Best Buy. It's really only a four-seater, but it's spacious for four adults and has very well designed seats.

Audi A7 (2010-)
Typical price £41,227
Brand score 79%
Reviewed Nov 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This stunning five-door luxury coupé is packed with technology and is one of the smoothest rides we've ever had in a car.

Best used luxury cars

Lexus LS (2007-2012)
Typical price £11,218
Brand score 82%
Reviewed Jan 2007
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

If you want a car that's like a home away from home this could be ideal. An executive cruiser that is spacious and opulent with more home comforts than a Premier Inn.

BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)
Typical price £11,555
Brand score 79%
Reviewed Mar 2010
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This popular luxury saloon is very good to drive, whether you opt for a petrol or diesel engine. Despite the diesels' frugality, they aren't quite as inspiring as the petrol versions. The handling and steering are top-drawer. The only real gripes concern visibility and an interior that can be daunting to get used to.

Lexus GS (2005-2011)
Typical price £5,354
Brand score 78%
Reviewed Apr 2005
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Quiet, refined and solidly built, this remarkable car has a fantastic reliability record, making it an ideal used car.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2006-2013)
Typical price £10,740
Brand score 77%
Reviewed Mar 2006
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This outstanding car is one of the most recognisable luxury drives on the road. Stunning looks, a spacious cabin and a wealth of technology mark it out as one of the best cars available today.

BMW 5 Series (2003-2010)
Typical price £4,138
Brand score 76%
Reviewed Apr 2002
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This is a Which? Best Buy thanks to its impressive array of talents. It drives in a very agile manner, thanks to suspension that's well balanced: both cushioning and sporty. The refined, powerful engines and smooth gearboxes work seamlessly, too. Inside, everything is well laid out.

Mercedes-Benz CL (2007-2014)
Typical price £18,547
Brand score 75%
Reviewed Mar 2007
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This model's ride/handling balance is superb, offering a near-perfect blend of comfort, precision and safety. Refinement is also excellent - this really is an examplary Best Buy luxury car. There's plenty of space for two people and their luggage, too, but rear passengers will find things tight.

Honda Legend (2006-2007)
Typical price £4,371
Brand score 75%
Reviewed Sep 2006
Best Buy
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This handsome, stately car may have been short lived but it left a mark with superb handling and a refined interior.

Not seen the car for you? Browse all our luxury car reviews

And here are three luxury cars to avoid

Luxury cars should be without compromise; flawless and desirable with comfortable, lavish interiors overflowing with the latest in-car technology. All those frills and high quality materials don’t come cheap, which means many luxury cars will cost a minimum of £40,000. So you want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely.

No aspect of a luxury car should be overlooked and, when done right, they should be nigh on perfect.

Despite costing a small fortune, some luxury cars don’t fit the mould. Luxury equals space and most models will be comparable to large cars in terms of size. But we’ve found cars with small boots that you won’t have a hope of squeezing your golf set into.

It’s not just the look and feel of the car that should be luxurious - it needs to be effortless to drive, too. Unresponsive steering that means you need to make many small adjustments to keep the car straight is far from effortless and it’s not fun either. Driving one of these cars should be a pleasure, but some models we’ve tested make it feel like a chore and that’s not what you pay upwards of £40,000 for.

Some luxury cars manage over 50 miles to the gallon. Others can't get over 25.

After dropping so much money, the long-term fuel costs might not be a huge concern. But you can have your cake and eat it. If you choose the right model, you can have excellent performance and fuel economy. Some luxury cars manage over 50 miles to the gallon - others can’t get over 25.

These are the cars that didn’t come close to meeting our expectations of what a luxury car should be.

Table coming soon

We are currently updating our test scores and recommendations based on our latest research. Please check back soon.

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