Luxury has had many definitions over the ages. Comfort has been part of the equation to be sure, but there’s always been something more. Style, elegance, and a sense of class have all come together to create something’s that just’ objectively better than what’s available on the standard market. It should come as no surprise, then, that the best luxury cars have often been presented as a cut above the rest.
Given the amount of time people spend in their cars, it should really come as no shock that the luxury car market continues to thrive. No matter the economics of driving, some people will always want a better car. Coming up with an all-time list is difficult, but there are certainly at least ten vehicles that stand out above their peers and stand out as the best luxury cars.
An Overview of the Best Luxury Cars
What does it take for a car to takes its place on the list of all-time best luxury cars? There are a few criteria by which each vehicle can be judged, and together they make a car that’s more than worth driving. This is a list of the things that make a car not just worth driving, but worth admiring even long after the vehicle’s heyday.
The first factor that has to be considered is, of course, the style. A great luxury vehicle needs to stand out from the crowd. Everything from the lines of the vehicle to the styling of the interior count towards this goal. Some of the cars feature opulent interiors, while others feature clean lines that wouldn’t be out of place on a race track. Something about these vehicles must make them indefinably different from the rest of the market.
Next, price does matter. While this is not a list of the most expensive cars ever made, there’s no doubt that luxury cars exist as a particular automotive segment. A car should be defined as a luxury vehicle, even if it also maintains classification elsewhere. In many cases, it’s not the production cost of the car that’s as importance as its later value. Luxury and later appreciation for the vehicle can make even a reasonably-priced car into one of the best luxury cars.
How well the car drives is another important factor when considering this list. There are plenty of good-looking cars out there that can barely be driven, and they don’t deserve a spot on this list. The truly great luxury cars are a pleasure to drive, even if they spend more time in the garage than out on the open road. While most of these cars probably don’t feature record-setting horsepower or the the world’s fastest lap times, they are well-made and handle well.
Finally, there should be an ineffable something about these cars that makes them stand out. It’s something more than looks or performance or even quality of build. This special something makes people want to buy the car even if there’s flaws, even if it is overpriced, and even if it’s years out of date. The factors above all work together the inform this factor, creating cars that are far more than the sum of their parts. While there are many cars that might be more opulent, better made, and even better looking, the ten cars that make this list are all vehicles that simply epitomize luxury better than the competition. Without further ado, here are the ten best luxury cars of all time.
10 Most Interesting Luxury Cars of All Time
1. The Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
There are exactly two of the cars on the planet. While not quite the rarest vehicle in the world, it is perhaps one of the most impressive. Valued at a cool forty million, this 1930s relic is almost impossible to come by even if you are fabulously wealthy. Its rarity would be enough to earn it a place on the list in and of itself, but it offers so much more than mere looks.
It’s fair to say that the Atlantic’s design was a little out of the norm for the 1930s, but it’s just as fair to say that it’s out of the norm for any time period. This vehicle is part luxury, part Batmobile, and the unique design makes it so much more than it otherwise would be. This car screams opulence.
2. The McLaren F1
Unlike the other cars on this list, the McLaren F1 is all about speed. It held the speed record for a decade after its introduction, and it’s still one of the fastest cars on the market. With a monster of an engine under the hood, the F1 was something truly special. While there are several vehicles that have overtaken the car’s record, nothing has ever quite come close to matching the style with with the F1 operated.
What earns the F1 a spot on the list is the fact that it is, despite its gearhead credentials, still very much a luxury vehicle. Not as stripped down as some of its competitors, the vehicle is a lovely drive and has many of the same features you’d expect out of a high-end luxury sedan. There’s something thrilling about knowing that you can blow away almost anything else on the road while on a comfortable drive. The F1 is now, and always will be, a rockstar among the best luxury cars.
3. The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost
In 1906, Rolls Royce showed off the vehicle that would net them their vehicles the title of the best cars in the world. No small claim, the Silver Ghost was definitive luxury vehicle around the turn of the 20th Century. Indeed, one can argue that it was the first true luxury car, something meant to be enjoyed more than just driven. This was a vehicle that deserved all the hype, and then some.
If you can get your hands on a Silver Ghost today, you’ll notice that it’s far more comfortable than a hundred-plus year old car has a right to be. While it’s missing some of the modern bells and whistles, you can tell that this was not a car meant for just anyone. The Silver Ghost begat a legacy that still lasts to this day.
4. Land Rover Range Rover LWB Overfinch
The Overfinch is not a beautiful car. It is not an elegant car. It is not even a car that particularly deserves to be in the same garage as some of the other beauties on this list. It is, however, a powerful beast of a vehicle that absolutely screams wealth. The tail-end of the obsession with bigger and better vehicles, this is what you drive when you want to dominate the road in complete comfort.
While it may not look like it on the outside, this is as close to flying first class as one will get on the road. A truly comfortable luxury vehicle, there’s more room in the back half of this car than in the entirety of the cabins of most other cars on this list. It’s an amazing treat to sit inside and watch the countryside go by.
5. Rolls Royce Phantom LWB Bespoke
Does anything quite scream luxury like a bespoke vehicle. While the Phantom chassis is probably enough to earn the car a spot on this list, there’s something opulent about having a car built to your precise specifications. This car can truly be anything, so long as you have the money. There’s rare, and then there’s one of a kind – and that’s what this car has the potential to be. While there are highs and lows that come with customization, there’s nothing quite as luxurious as having exactly what you want.
6. Mercedes 600 Pullman
From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, luxury could be defined by Mercedes-Benz. The manufacturer put out a limited run of 59 vehicles, so heavy that they had to design a completely new engine to get it moving. With a state-of-the-art hydraulic system and all the little touches that car owners love, this vehicle was an amazing beast to behold.
More amazing, though, were the people who actually rode in the Pullman. This was a car for heads of states. This was a car for popes. This was a car that screamed importance and wealth. Even today, it’s one of the best luxury vehicles ever made.
7. Aston Martin DB5
There are better cars on the market than the Aston Martin DB5. There are, perhaps, even better Aston Martins on the market than the DB5. With that said, there are few vehicles out there that have quite the pop culture cache of this humble vehicle, which is still a pleasure to drive in its own right. While all the other cars on the list have their own very reasonable pedigrees and have been driven by kings and heads of state, only this vehicle has been driven by the one and only James Bond. Luxury can, and should, be about more than what’s under the hood – and the DB5 proves that in spades.
Do not sell this car short, though. Like all the best luxury cars, there’s quite a bit under the hood and inside the cabin here. While the car may earn more from its general association with the silver screen, that doesn’t make it any less of a joy to have in your garage. This is one piece of Hollywood that deserves its star status.
8. Ferrari 250 GT Lusso
Lusso means luxury, and this car has it in spades. While it’s richly appointed inside, it’s what’s under the hood that matters. This is a luxury vehicle for people who actually love cars, and the little Ferrari could move like no other car on the market. While it might not have been setting any land-speed records, it was unmistakably fun to drive.
It was also a beautiful car, one that stood out on the road. This was a car lover’s dream luxury vehicle, as comfortable as it was powerful. If you’re looking for something that any auto enthusiast would want to take out for a Sunday drive, this is the car to beat.
9. Bentley State Limousine
The phrase ‘fit for a queen’ is used to describe many luxury vehicles, but this limo was actually designed specifically for a monarch. Made to suit her majesty’s tastes back in 2002, this one-of-a-kind vehicle exhibited a special kind of luxury all its own. This is a car that takes Bentley’s usual high craftsmanship and kicks things up a few more notches.
10. Audi A8
Audi is a fine manufacturer most of the time, but it outdid itself when the A8 rolled off the production lines. This car can be considered the pinnacle of the luxury sedan class – something special in all regards, coming at the end of a long lineage that deserves more respect than it has gotten. While there’s plenty to say about the fine lines and what you’ll find under the hood, the A8 stands out more because of its realization of potential.
Simply put, the A8 feels like the definition of luxury. If there’s a car out there that has the special something that means perfection, it’s the A8. There are arguably more classic luxury cars out there, but nothing quite stands up expectations of the best luxury cars like this car.
The best luxury cars run the gamut from the rare vehicles of yesterday to today’s production jewels. There are arguably other vehicles that deserve to be on this list of best luxury cars, but these ten each bring somethign special to the table. Whether it’s a sense of style or just a fantastic sense of personality, each of these cars earns its place as one of the best luxury cars ever produced.
Images from depositphotos.com.