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Choosing a luxury car

By raccars Published

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Comfort, style and performance are the essentials, but what else do you expect from a luxury car?

Luxury car buyers are prepared to spend a lot of money to get the best that the automotive market can offer. The cabin must be opulent and cosseting with plenty of modern technology to play with, while the engine should whisk you past lowlier motors in a whisper quiet, silky smooth manner.

The following should be the default choices for anyone who's looking for something a bit special, but who is more interested in their own comfort than drawing attention. They are the epitome of restrained luxury, splendid but without ostentation.

The best luxury cars:

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The self-styled 'best car in the world' sets a very high standard for other luxury cars to follow. The S-Class has long provided niche brand luxury in the mainstream market, adding an extra level of polish to Mercedes' famous build quality. In addition to the standard saloon format, there is a long wheelbase limousine and a Maybach halo model. The interior is as dignified and sumptuous as a Royal palace and the whole thing is a paean to quality and luxury. Prices start at £68,870.

BMW 7 Series

Always chasing the crown traditionally worn by the S-Class, BMW has thrown all of its considerable experience and resources at making the 7 Series the highest quality and most luxurious car in its class - and BMW is very good at what it does. It's a strong but efficient performer with wonderful driving dynamics for a car of its size, but from a passenger's point of view it's probably not as smooth as the S-Class. A luxury car to drive rather than be driven in. Prices start at £65,430.

Audi A8

A lower profile contender in the luxury sector, the A8 may not shout as loudly as its German rivals but still has plenty to say. There aren't many of them around but the A8 is a wonderfully elegant beast. Its cabin is a very relaxing place to be and it makes an excellent compromise between the driving entertainment of the 7 Series and the stately luxury of the S-Class. There's plenty of modern tech on display and a beautiful finish. Standard and long wheelbase versions are available and prices start at £60,235. The only drawback might be that residual values are poor and the used market for these is very quiet.

Bentley Mulsanne

There's a big jump in price between the premium German brands and the next tier in luxury. The name Bentley, as with Rolls-Royce, is synonymous with expensive, extravagant motoring and there's little to match the feel of riding in one. The Mulsanne's styling doesn't appeal to everyone but it's got the strong engine and opulent interior that are the hallmarks of a luxury car. It's actually phenomenally fast if you care to put it to the test, but under normal driving circumstances the Mulsanne belies its size and is a surprisingly laid back drive.

Rolls-Royce Ghost

The average Rolls-Royce is designed as a passenger car, for VIPs to lounge in the back while a chauffeur takes the reins. By contrast, the Ghost is a Rolls-Royce you want to drive. The car shares a number of components with the BMW 7 Series and there's a superb V12 under the bonnet, but passengers can still enjoy the ride with an excellent infotainment package available in a sumptuous rear cabin. The standard model is roomy enough to throw a small dinner party in but there's also a cavernous extended wheelbase version available. Prices start at £250,272.

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