Luxury cars date back to the very first automobile in 1886, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which was luxurious only in the sense that most people couldn’t afford one. Once Henry Ford streamlined the manufacturing process, cars became cheaper and more realistic purchases for the growing auto-driving public. Still, as the selection of cars exploded, society’s elite demanded a class of vehicles to match their status. The Great Depression of the 1930s would soon nearly eliminate the luxury car market, with most brands not surviving to see the end of World War II. A small selection of companies including Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz preserved and continue to manufacture the best luxury car models in the world today.
In reality, most drivers will never be able to afford super luxury cars, with the best-case scenario involving riding in the backseat of one. Since even the least expensive top luxury cars can cost nearly $100,000, we might as well give ourselves an unlimited budget and see exactly what vehicle all the money in the world could buy. Modern luxury cars come in many flavors beyond the Limousine-inspired saloon and now span the categories of SUVs and sports cars. The following 10 ultra-luxury cars offer an unprecedented blend of style, comfort, and performance with sticker prices to match.
10 Genesis G90
Genesis may not be a brand that is instantly recognizable as a luxury manufacturer, but since 2017, the G90 has gradually changed that perception. The roots of the G90 are with the Hyundai Equus, but the G90 has been a flagship model for Genesis since it became its own brand.
The full-sized 2023 G90 is one of the best luxury cars from a value perspective, starting at around $88,000. Genesis has sacrificed little in exterior or interior quality compared to the competition, although the cargo space is slightly less than other full-sized luxury cars. In 2021, the G90 underwent some significant styling changes for its current generation, and now engine options max out at a supercharged 3.5 liter V6 with 409 hp.
9 Toyota Century
Since it launched in 1967, Japan’s iconic luxury car has undergone surprisingly few changes compared to its rivals. Even today, its straight lines cling to the classic Limousine mold, rejecting the more curvy and aerodynamic exteriors of sportier luxury cars. Mechanically, the Century has not remained completely static, introducing in 2018 a 5-liter hybrid V8 engine also used in a Lexus LS.
With an exceptionally stable and quiet ride, the Toyota Century is all about the experience of its passengers, rather than giving a thrilling drive. Toyota only hand-builds 50 or fewer of Japan’s top luxury cars in most months, and they are sold only to the most exclusive crop of CEOs and government officials.
8 Porsche Panamera
Luxury car shoppers looking for the sportiest option on the market can hardly go wrong with the Porsche Panamera. In the late 1980s, Porsche saw an opportunity to make a four-door sedan version of a V8 equipped 928, but the idea didn’t come to fruition until 2009. Now in its third generation, the Porsche Panamera has undergone several significant revisions, with a sculpted exterior that better matches Porsche’s legendary sports cars. The 2023 edition includes adaptive cruise control and as usual with the Panemera, there are a dizzying 11 trims to choose from. The Panamera Turbo S-Hybrid is the top-of-the-line option costing over $196,000, and with a twin-turbo 4-liter V8, it provides up to 690 hp.
7 Range Rover SV Carmel Edition
Today, luxury SUVs are steadily becoming more commonplace, but the Range Rover has provided a unique combination of comfort and off-road capabilities since the late 1960s. In 2023, both long-wheel-based and short-wheel-based versions are offered throughout the Range Rover lineup, but the SV starting at $193,000 has some unique design elements that separate it from other models. If the SV isn’t exclusive enough for drivers, Land Rover debuted an exclusive bronze Carmel Edition at a Pebble Beach event in 2022. Only 17 were built, but if by some miracle you have the chance to own one, be prepared to spend over $345,000 for one of the best luxury SUVs available.
6 Bentley Bentayga
Making luxury cars for over 100 years, British Bentley Motors Limited could no longer resist the SUV craze when they debuted the Bentayga in 2015. The SUV shares the same platform as the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, but its more premium construction compliments its higher sticker price.
Although Bentley added an extended-wheel-base trim for 2023, gearheads tend to focus on the Speed version’s twin-turbo W-12 engine which can propel the Bentayga with a heart-racing 626 hp. Considering those lofty specs, the Bentayga is the best luxury SUV on the market for anyone demanding top-tier performance.
5 BMW i7
The BMW 7 Series line has consisted of the most luxurious sedans ever designed by the German automaker after it replaced the 6 series in 1977. The company has embraced battery-powered luxury vehicles since it unveiled the i3 in 2013, so it was no surprise when the all-electric i7 entered the marketplace in 2022. The 2023 i7 has some of the most advanced technological features in the industry, including an enhanced iDrive connectivity system and a massive 31.3-inch 8k touchscreen for rear passengers. Dual electric motors give the i7 a power output of 536 hp, so performance remains on par or better than many gas-powered top luxury cars.
4 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Named after the largest diamond ever discovered, the Cullinan provides the sort of glitz and glamour buyers would expect with a $335,000 price tag. The Cullinan, which debuted as Rolls-Royce’s first SUV in 2018, is essentially a Phantom sedan with a shorter and higher exterior. As a result, it also has a space-age aluminum construction giving it a lighter weight and providing passengers with a smooth and quiet ride. The interior of the Cullinan is full of wood and leather trim and Rolls-Royce makes available a fixed glass partition to place between the backseats and the trunk. The SUV has a generous 6.75 liter V12 engine, making it one of the best luxury SUVs with a balance of power and extreme comfort.
3 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class
Mercedes-Benz stands for luxury as a brand on its own, but its Maybach cars take their extravagant sedans to yet another level. Mercedes originally purchased the German Maybach company in 1960, whose engineers are famous for designing the airship Zeppelin’s engine. The Maybach name was a perfect match for the Mercedes S-Class of cars, and the first Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedan appeared in 2015. The interior of the car has some unique amenities for a 4-door sedan including a mobile office and a refrigerator. The Maybach S-Class is undoubtedly one of the top luxury cars available, and it will cost buyers over $185,000 to experience its decadence.
2 Bentley Flying Spur
The history of the Bentley Flying Spur traces back to 1958 when the company created a luxury sedan to restore its reputation as the master of grand touring. The classic-era Flying Spur would only last until 1966, and it was not until 2005 that Bentley brought the name back to its Continental luxury cars. Living up to its moniker, the new V8-powered Flying Spur was the company’s fastest luxury car to date, clocking in at a top speed of 195 mph.
The most recent generation of the Flying Spur began in 2019, and the car is not only one of the most luxurious cars available, but also has supercar-worthy performance with a turbocharged W12 engine and a top speed of 207 mph.
1 Rolls-Royce Phantom
Considering the Phantom’s long history dating back to 1925, it’s somewhat surprising that there are only 7 generations of the ultra-luxury car. However, each new iteration of the Rolls-Royce Phantom brings with it a level of luxury unmatched by its competitors. The first Phantom cars had a “Magic Carpet Suspension”, which set a precedent for the whisper-quiet ride of the modern luxury saloon.
Recent editions possess cutting-edge features like night-vision with an infrared driver’s camera and a glass ceiling that can display artwork to wow passengers. The car manages to retain its near-silent profile even with a V12 engine and a power output of 571 hp. The Phantom has all the characteristics of the world’s best luxury car. However, the saloon demands an investment of at least $465,000, making the Phantom and fantasy for even some wealthy prospective buyers.