Most of the competitors here are limos big enough to make a three-bedroom townhouse look small, but one or two of the most demure and desirable SUVs in the world do the same too.
If you want the ultimate in opulence, sophistication, sense of occasion and conferred status from your car choice, this is the niche you’ll be shopping for. There isn’t a car here that you can buy for less than a six-figure outlay, and one or two can even cost seven figures. After all, for regular super-luxury clientele, being denied the opportunity to double the cost of their car to make it their own would be the end of the road.
So if you like the idea of being driven around like Lord Sugar in a car special enough to make you feel ten feet tall and you can afford the best life has to offer, well, lucky you. Here is what your driver should ask for.
1. Rolls-Royce Phantom
The biggest and most luxurious motordom transport vehicle was replaced by the Rolls-Royce in 2017 and received a glowing five-star road test welcome by our road testers shortly thereafter.
Owners will love it, at least as much for the extravagant declaration of wealth and status it confers and the incomparable sense of occasion you enjoy when traveling in one. But while many never know so much, The Last Phantom is also an absolute joy and a rare pleasure to drive.
Its superbly comfortable and uniquely insulating driving comfort can be tasted from the rear seats, of course, and it’s unlike anything you’ll find in a car: gently leaning and deliciously indulgent, but also extremely quiet and smooth, despite the Rolls-Royce installation of the latest run-flat tire technology.
However, the sense of precision and perfect weight of the car’s wide-rim steering wheel is remarkable, as is the ease with which you can get such a big car onto the road; your tolerance for any rate of progress appropriate to your trip; the supreme refinement and flexibility of its V12 engine; and the progressiveness of the accelerator pedal in the shutdown step.
While it’s a nearly three-ton love song to splendid isolation, this car will accelerate from 0-100 mph and 30-70 mph in gears faster than the latest Ford Focus RS. The integrity of its engineering is simply breathtaking.
2. Rolls-Royce Ghost
Ghost was a line in the sand for Rolls-Royce when it appeared in 2009: the beginning of a transformation that took the company’s annual production volume from hundreds to several thousand cars a year.
Now in its second generation, the Phantom replacement has evolved substantially. Where Ghost’s mechanical bases were adapted from those of the BMW 7 Series, it now shares the same ‘Luxury Architecture’ platform as the Cullinan and the Phantom. There are also innovations like Rolls-Royce mass dampers for the front suspension and an active stabilizer bar for the rear axle, which help bring ride quality closer than ever to the Phantom.
However, while the Phantom is a car to drive, the Ghost was conceived as a car for the affluent driver, and its dynamic character reflects that. Lighter and more agile to drive than the Phantom (in part because of its more compact proportions), it lends itself more easily to the cut and thrust of everyday motoring on congested UK roads than its bigger brother.
And yet, in terms of interior space, luxurious ambience and overall material quality, the car is only the smallest rung below its bigger sibling, adopting as it does Rolls-Royce’s new ‘post-opulence’ design approach. both inside and out. It’s a neoclassical fortress on wheels, but usable.
3. Bentley Flying Spur
Bentley’s four-door “Continental” series limousine began its modern life as the Continental Flying Spur in 2006, just dropping the nomenclative prefix that links it to Crewe’s current two-door GT with its biggest model revision yet in 2014.
But the Flying Spur is now in its third generation – something that’s not hard to spot from the prouder, more muscular design, which draws heavily on the latest and most eye-catching Continental GT coupe. Crewe’s ‘junior’ sedan also benefits dramatically from a new platform, which was co-developed with Porsche and uses four-wheel steering and active stabilizer bars. It also better isolates the fantastically opulent cab from the road and provides the foundation for genuinely good driving dynamics. Grip, balance and steering have improved remarkably.
Of course, there’s the same calling card 6.0 liter twin-turbo W12, which produces 626bhp more torque with no bottomless and shoots the car to 62mph in comfortably less than four seconds and a top speed of more than 200mph. Versions of the Spur equipped with Bentley’s lighter, freer V8 and a six-cylinder hybrid power train are also required.
Never before has the Spur felt so complete and so capable of playing the role of supersonic and luxurious car for drivers. And a lot of that still depends on the cabin. As Bentley’s entry-level limo, the Flying Spur offers a genuinely luxurious ambience and feel interior, outfitted with soft, beautifully stitched leather, authentic natural veneers and an attractive, tactile metal finish.
4. Mercedes-Maybach Class S
The richest and most special car of what may be the most universally respected and admired line of limousines in the world, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is the modern flagship of Daimler’s super luxury brand Maybach.
Judging by appearances, you’d say it was at least as much S-Class as Maybach, and this is the result of Daimler’s strategic decision, taken a few years ago, to extend the reach of the Maybach brand by creating the ‘halo’ Maybach models in some of its more normal Mercedes passenger car lines. The ultra-rare Simon Cowell-spec, Maybach-only 57 and 62 limousines were at the same time relegated to history.
And so the fact that this car is “only” an S-Class could be both its greatest strength and its main vulnerability. Compared to a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, an S-Class may not cut through much mustard for a drool-worthy sidewalk appeal; but being an S-Class also makes this car the recipient of all those advanced technologies of active suspension and driver assistance and helps make it so brilliantly refined, rich and caring.
The flagship model S650 603bhp twin-turbocharged V12 petrol (although the UK also gets the 496bhp 4.0-litre S580 V8) is barely audible and its dedication to comfort and good manners is outstanding. With 18 cm longer than the standard S-Class long wheelbase version, you can guarantee that even passengers with longer legs will have plenty of room.
5. Bentley Mulsanne
A limousine that is uniquely aristocratic, whose presence announces itself hundreds of meters away, and whose agenda focuses on serving the interests of the passenger first and then the driver, might look attractive in theory. But if you suspect that the reality of car ownership might not be all that appealing, don’t worry, because the super-luxury class has something for you too: the Bentley Mulsanne.
Deliberately more modest and understated in appearance than a certain British limousine rival, the Mulsanne is a four-door luxury that’s big with a small g. It looks less formal than the Rolls-Royce Phantom, and its interior is more like the paneled smoking room of an old gentlemen’s club than the chandeliered ballroom of the Phantom. The quality of the material, the shine and natural appeal of its wood veneers and the tactile allure of many of its accessories are unrivaled.
Good help from the driver’s appeal has always been part of the motivating character of this great Bentley. And so, while the Mulsanne doesn’t ride as serenely as some of its closest competitors, it handles and responds with more vigor and vivacity, thanks not just to its gasoline-powered V8 turbo torque.
The result is a car that might not quite hit the high luxury marks of the best cars in the class, but one that you might end up using more often: not just for special occasions, but because it looks ready to enrich a travel range.
6. Rolls-Royce Cullinan
The addition of Goodwood’s Marmite to the super luxury segment arrived in 2018, in response to a significant amount of feedback from Rolls-Royce customers that a more family-friendly, everyday-use model with full surface capacity would be a very welcome way to increase the company’s showroom variety.
The Cullinan was met with enough criticism of its design, from all sides, to establish a sense that its maker took a significant risk by introducing a car that some described as weird and unpleasant and others hit even less sympathetic terms. But if Rolls-Royce’s market research is true, and a year of confirmed orders is a good sign that it will happen, the collective revulsion of those who wouldn’t have bought a Cullinan anyway will do little to prevent it from becoming one. commercial success.
Certainly there is as much to like about life on board this car as there can be as much to dislike about the idea or appearance of it. This is a true Rolls-Royce, and among its dynamic strengths are exceptional mechanical refinement, impeccable ride comfort and excellent handling.
The height-adjustable air suspension and BMW-derived all-wheel drive give the Cullinan all the off-road capability that many owners are likely to need, and while towing capacity is currently limited to 2.6 tonnes, it should be increased to 3, 5 tons. tons in no time. Which is probably enough for a speedboat considerably more expensive than the car.
7. Bentley Bentayga
The Bentayga had a busy passage through the Autocar road test evaluation process. Being the first in a flurry of over £100,000 super-SUVs to hit the market in 2016, we first ranked well, with a caveat or two, in W12-engined form, then we ranked even higher when Bentley launched a Audi V8 turbocharged diesel 4.0 liter with 429 hp in 2017, which produced exactly the same torque as a twelve-cylinder gasoline engine, but with more accessible crank speeds.
Then, in 2018, amid the spread of toxicity around diesel engines, Bentley withdrew the Bentayga Diesel from sale in Europe, and with it removed from view what we considered the definitive version of the car. A petrol V8 model expanded the model range in the same year, while a plug-in hybrid arrived in 2019. Now there’s also the Speed – a 626bhp, excess 182,000 pounds – before the entire range was upgraded to 2020.
The Bentayga’s wonderfully luxurious interior, its high performance with torque, and its uniquely immersive, commanding sense of luxury make it stand out even in this class, and these qualities might even be potent enough to win over a cynic who started off opposing the idea. of life in a blue-blooded SUV.
It’s not as comfortable to drive or isolate as the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, instead offering a slightly sportier driving experience that comes at the expense of the ultimate tone of ride comfort. But a shadow is all that Bentayga gives up – an occasional hint of headtoss and a mere fidgety restlessness because of certain bumps and bumps in speed. Even like a regular luxury car, there’s every chance you just don’t know what you’re missing.
8. Range Rover SVAutobiography
The high-end, long-wheelbase Range Rover has come a long way as a luxury car since the genesis days of the famous SUV it’s based on. The modern SVAutobiography, hand-finished as it is by Land Rover at its Special Operations base near Coventry, is a car that is now 5.2 meters long and weighing 2.6 tonnes at its heaviest point. It’s designed to make the most of the budding super-expensive SUV market and the high regard some hold for the Range Rover brand, and it does so very effectively.
Offering a choice of a petrol V8, a diesel V8 or a four-cylinder plug-in petrol hybrid powertrain, the SVAutobiography is a strict four-seat engine with ‘lounge’ rear seats around each of the which you can arrange a folding aluminum table tray, while a sliding panoramic sunroof contributes to the remarkable senses of light and space on board. Interior materials are also more tactile and expensive than those on the standard Range Rover.
Driving comfort and isolation also represent a step ahead of that car, although none are in the same category as the more refined cars in this niche; some sharper edges seem to test the structural limits of the car’s underbody, slightly affecting the ride’s composure.
9. Alpine B7
If exclusivity is what you want, don’t be fooled by the BMW emblem on the Alpina B7’s long hood. Of all the supremely special and rare cars on this list, perhaps only the Mercedes-Maybach is equally likely to show up on public roads, and the B7’s typical price of around £200,000 after options reflect this.
As always at Alpina, there are two sides to its version of a series-production BMW model. On paper, the 600bhp and 590lb ft numbers of the turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 suggest that the B7 works as a complete alternative to the M7 that BMW won’t build. And in terms of performance, maybe that’s the case – the B7 benefits from considerable modifications to its power train and suspension to make it not only faster than any other in the Series 7, but also better handling.
However, the true calling card of the B7 is a sublime rolling refinement to go along with its combination with almost sporty body control levels and a degree of agility totally out of line with the luxury saloon click. It’s an exceptionally well-rounded machine, and only Bentley’s Continental Flying Spur gets the better of it.
10. Mercedes-AMG S65
Although soon to be overhauled, with the new S-Class as the base car, the mechanical composition of the high-end performance version of the outgoing S-Class limousine hasn’t changed much in over a decade. Since this car has a twin-turbo-powered gasoline V12 leviathan that produces 621bhp and 738lb ft of torque, you could argue that it wasn’t necessary.
It’s an engine capable of sending a rear-wheel drive limo 5.3 meters long and 5.3 meters from 0-62 mph in just 4.2 seconds – and that’s before it really calms down, finds its legs and moves on. , do not forget.
And yet the S65 is still a luxury car, with uncompromising comfort and refinement, which is why it receives a mention at the end of our super luxury class ratings. It offers onboard comfort unheard of to anyone else at the same level of performance, and its huge reserves of torque make it so powerful to drive that it’s hard to believe how little you have to do to make something so big travel so fast.
The S65 isn’t a super sedan, though, and its chassis prefers wide, smooth roads to testing narrower roads, the latter giving its air suspension and stability control a lot to think about. Yet, when in its element, few existing cars manage to look both as mischievous and as wonderfully beautiful as this one.