In a year of chaos caused by supply chain woes, luxury vehicle sales took an unsurprising slide. BMW and Mercedes-Benz both saw overall sales decline, while Tesla took the crown as the most popular luxury marque with US consumers, driven by the popularity of the compact Model 3 and Model Y.
Crossovers, meanwhile, dominated this list. Of all the vehicles on our list of 2022 best sellers, only two were traditional cars. Representation was strong internationally, of course, with Cadillac and Tesla representing the stars and stripes, while Lexus, Acura, BMW, and Mercedes rounded out the grouping. Read on for more on the top selling luxury vehicles from 2022.
The Lexus RX is the top dog for 2022. It outsold competitors from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and all others with a whopping 96,041 units last year. This figure does combine both the standard gas model and the hybrid, with the hybrid version alone accounting for just over 17,000 units. The RX remains the best-selling luxury SUV of all time and still one of the automaker’s most successful products.
The X5 was BMW’s best-seller for 2022 with more than 82,000 units moved last year. Given that the X5 offers a healthy mixture of powertrain and trim options – ranging from the base six-cylinder and the V8-powered M model to a fancy, fuel-sipping PHEV – it’s no surprise that buyers snapped up the mid-size luxury crossover in droves.
Just behind its big brother the X5, BMW moved more than 65,000 examples of the X3 crossover in 2022. It too has several different engine and trim options, including the top-of-the-line X3 M. The base X3 sDrive30i produces 248 horsepower from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine while the M model offers a robust 503 hp.
Mercedes-Benz’s X3 alternative was nearly as successful as BMW’s compact crossover last year. Benz moved 65,531 examples of the GLC-Class in the 2022 calendar year despite the imminent arrival of a new and improved version this year. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLC starts at $44,900 for the base 300 model while the AMG GLC 43 costs $60,950 and the raging AMG GLC 63 demands $75,950 to start.
Like the smaller GLC, the GLE mid-size crossover is due for an update. We’ve already seen spy photos suggesting that the facelifted 2023 model is on the way sooner than later. But Mercedes still sold more than 65,000 examples of the GLE in 2022, which includes both the standard body and the sleek “coupe” model, in addition to fire-breathing AMG variants.
Audi’s best-selling model, the Q5, remains a popular choice for consumers. In addition to the popular SQ5 performance model, there’s a flashy Sportback body and a plug-in-hybrid powertrain. That variety has helped the Q5 to nearly 63,000 units sold in 2022. Still, it trails its competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Aside from the Tesla Model 3, the full-size Lexus ES is the lone car to crack the rankings for best selling luxury products last year. And it does so with the same simple formula that’s kept it in production as other large, affordable luxury sedans have faded away: it’s comfortable, nice to look at, inoffensive to drive, and pretty thrifty in hybrid form.
The new Lexus NX is all about variety, offering both naturally aspirated and turbocharged four-cylinders, a traditional hybrid, and for the first time, a plug-in hybrid. In addition to a more mature design and tech that finally matches the German competition, the redesigned NX’s sales success in its first year is a promising sign for the compact crossover’s future.
Fresh off a redesign in 2021, the fourth-generation Acura MDX had a strong showing in 2022, with 46,425 customers taking the three-row crossover home. Available with either a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 or with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 in the new-for-2022 Type S, Acura’s largest product ticked all the boxes in our testing.
The biggest car on the list, the Cadillac Escalade gets in by the skin of its teeth with 40,247 units sold in 2022. In our grouping, though, it’s among the most expensive, the only vehicle with hands-free driving capability, and the only vehicle available with diesel power, making it a standout in more ways than its sales figures might indicate. That it’s both Cadillac’s most expensive vehicle – at least till the Celestiq arrives – and its best-selling is a testament to the Escalade’s reputation among luxury buyers.
- 2022 Sales: 1,247,146 Units
Tesla’s smallest EVs are the overwhelming sales champs… sort of. The Californian automaker combines sales for the Model 3 and Model Y globally, but it doesn’t provide region-specific figures. The folks at Good Car Bad Car claim Tesla moved 195,698 Model 3s in 2022, which would put the compact electric sedan at the top of the chart (not even GCBC has Model Y stats), but without numbers from the automaker itself, we can’t say for certain where it lands.
- Lexus RX: 96,041
- BMW X5: 82,372
- BMW X3: 65,799
- Mercedes-Benz GLC: 65,531
- Mercedes-Benz GLE: 63,050
- Audi Q5: 62,912
- Lexus NX: 49,002
- Acura MDX: 46,425
- Lexus ES: 41,735
- Cadillac Escalade: 40,247
- Tesla Model 3/Y: 1,247,146