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Best Cars

Best Luxury Cars for 2018

By Martin Pratt

Article 13 of 16

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, it must also offer reliability and reasonable running costs.

Rather than Rolls-Royces or Bentleys, we focus on more attainable 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. And then there are the homegrown 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 boot space 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 which to avoid.

Want to know which luxury car you should buy? Below are the best luxury cars, both new and used. Scroll down further 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, join Which? to unlock our best luxury cars and all our online reviews - including our expert car reviews.

Best new luxury cars

Price from £50,890
Which? score 84%
Reviewed Nov 2013
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This imposing full-size SUV is optionally available with seven seats, increasing its usefulness as a family car. Drivers will appreciate its surefooted handling and high-quality cabin.

Price from £68,751
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Imposingly large, yet with an agility that belies its enormity, this large SUV pulls off a seemingly impossible feat. It's not just super-fast in a straight line, it also corners with precision and confidence. It can also seat up to seven passengers in one of the most comfortable, high-quality cabins we've come across.

Price from £71,074
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Nov 2012
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Focusing almost exclusively on comfort and technology, this enormous limousine gives its own definition of luxury motoring. The boot is on the small side, but passengers are amply catered for.

Price from £33,326
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Apr 2012
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Comfort and serenity are the name of this luxury saloon's game. It has a very plush ride, a superb interior and is loaded with safety kit.

Price from £57,721
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This four-seater is as fast and agile as the best purpose built sports cars, yet retains the cabin space and large boot of the standard model on which it's based. An astonishingly capable thrill machine that asks for little compromise.

Best used luxury cars

Price from £9,806
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Jan 2007
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 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 an impressive amount of standard equipment.

Price from £10,583
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Oct 2009
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The brand's first-ever executive hatchback. It was designed to offer a more practical slant on the luxury car theme. It's not quite as capacious as a full estate car, but it arguably has more style.

Price from £3,965
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Apr 2005
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 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.

Price from £10,136
Which? score 79%
Reviewed Mar 2010
Driving stability:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 54 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. The diesels are frugal but not 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.

Price from £13,348
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Jul 2009
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Hybrid technology brings reasonable fuel economy around town, while the super high-quality cabin and comfortable ride take the sting out of the urban grind. This model is a deserved Which? Best Buy.

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

And here are the luxury cars to avoid

Luxury cars should be without compromise; flawless and desirable with comfortable, lavish interiors overflowing with the latest technology. All those frills and high-quality materials don’t come cheap, which means many luxury cars will normally cost over £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 size. But we’ve found cars with small boots you won’t have a hope of squeezing your golf clubs 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 no fun either. Driving a luxury car should be a pleasure, but some models we’ve tested make it feel like a chore and that’s not what you pay a premium for.

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

After spending so much money, 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 more than 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.

Luxury cars to avoid

Price from £29,271
Which? score 58%
Reviewed Dec 2015
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This handsome saloon sits at the premium end of the large car market and is excellent to drive. It’s not so excellent for anyone riding in the back, though – the rear of the cabin is cramped, and the boot is too. It’s also performs poorly for reliability. This car isn’t a Don’t Buy, but it isn’t better than the cars it’s aiming to beat either.

Price from £29,876
Which? score 48%
Reviewed Jan 2012
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This luxury SUV has proved a popular model thanks to its upmarket image, well-appointed interior and impressive road manners. However, woeful reliability in both new and used models has left owners feeling cheesed off, and we simply can't recommend it.

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Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.

Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 500 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs.

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

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