When it comes to the perfect blend of style and power, nothing beats a luxury car. Personalization options range from the obvious, like engine size, to creature comforts hitherto unimaged, like what color ambient lighting goes best with the car’s signature fragrance.
Luxury buyers also expect a bit more when it comes to performance. This is the segment that sees the biggest horsepower and sportiest suspension setups. Or, if you’d prefer, the most exclusive of active damping to isolate the cabin from road noise and vibration.
When it comes to midsize luxury cars, these are the best of the best for 2019.
Starting MSRP: $35,995
Lincoln’s midsize MKZ blends luxury and performance into one handsome package.
The five-seat MKZ received a new grille and headlights as part of a mild refresh for 2017. The base powerplant is the family 2.0-liter turbo four with 245 horsepower, paired with a paddle-shift six-speed automatic. If so desired, a hybrid drivetrain can be had in all grades, paired with an efficient continuously-variable transmission.
Them of course, there is the MKZ party trick: a available performance-oriented twin-turbo V6. Paired to the front wheels only, the engine makes 350 horses; in all-wheel drive form, it puts out 400 and opens up the option of the Driver’s Package ($2,950). It adds dynamic torque vectoring that optimizes power delivery to each wheel for added bite and precision during cornering; and sport-tuned adaptive suspension with continuously controlled dampers.
BMW 5 Series
Starting MSRP: $53,400
The BMW 5 Series delivers up the chassis dynamics and refined luxury that defined the brand. New semi-autonomous technologies bring the vehicle firmly into the 21st century
There are many reasons buyers love the imperious 5 Series. The interior is shrine to engineering pampering, with standard 16-way adjustable seats upholstered in BMW’s better-than-leather SensaTec leatherette. Should hides be required, there are five colors to choose from, along with heating, ventilation, and massage options.
As long as you’re perusing the menu, why not tick off either a Harman Kardon or Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system? How about a few items from the semi-autonomous list, like automatic parking, stop-and-go traffic following, or lane-keeping assist?
It’s a BMW though, so most drivers will prefer to keep the robots away from the wheel. Enthusiast can select the M550i model with a 456-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 under the hood. The company’s famed inline-six is offered in the 540i, mated to twin-turbos and producing 335 horses. Base models are equipped with a spirited 248-horsepower, 2.0-liter twin-turbo four.
Starting MSRP: $53,500
Mercedes-Benz has long been a standard bearer in the luxury car market, and the latest generation of E-Class makes it easy to see why.
The model is offered in a flavor for everyone: sedan, coupe, convertible, and even a wagon. Base E300 models are powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four making a respectable (and efficient) 241 horsepower. New for 2019 are the E450 variants with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 rated at 362 horsepower. All-wheel drive is an option across the range.
Even more than the mechanical engineering, it’s the interiors that make it a Mercedes. Personalization is the key to luxury, and the E Class does not disappoint. 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment screen is standard, mirrored by a 12.3-inch driver’s display in the instrument binnacle. Front leather seats are powered with four-way lumbar adjustment and memory, with the option of heating, cooling, and massage functions.
Starting MSRP: $42,050
The Genesis G80 spoils buyers with lavish interiors, meticulous engineering, and a variety of performance levels.
Models start with the 3.8L with a 311-horsepower V6, followed by a 3.3T with a twin-turbocharged, 365-horsepower V6. At the top of the heap is the 5.0-liter V8 with 420 horsepower on tap. All are available with rear- or all-wheel drive.
Even in base trim, the G80 is loaded with amenities like an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated leather seats, bi-Xenon HID headlights, and split-spoke alloy wheels. Selecting the Sport package adds an aggressive look to the exterior, sport pedals, and a sport steering wheel. Choosing the Ultimate adds every luxury imaginable, like a powered panoramic moonroof, heated and ventilated Nappa leather seats, 9.2-inch infotainment with navigation and premium 17-speaker sound, and a head-up display.
And we’re still at the base model.
All G80 come with standard advanced safety features: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and assist, smart cruise control with stop/start functionality, and blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert.
Starting MSRP: $58,900
The Audi A6 is all-new for 2019 and brings new power, driver assistance, and infotainment to the segment.
Replacing the previous supercharged engine is a new twin-turbo V6. The 3.0-liter generates 335 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, 44 lb-ft more than the previous generation. The A6 will now dispatch the zero-60 sprint in just 5.1 seconds.
Also new for 2019 is a standard 48-volt mild hybrid system, aimed at enhancing the stop/start system. A 10Ah battery supplies power to a belt alternator starter, only using the conventional starter on cold starts. The entire system is compact enough to fit under the rear cargo floor.
In the cabin, the A6 has Audi’s all-new multimedia interface with a more intuitive display and operating system. Up to seven users can store up to 400 personalization settings each. Improved language recognition allows vehicle functions like climate control to be voice-controlled.
In addition to standard city pre-collision braking, Audi now makes available traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, cross traffic assist, and an innovative turning assist that applies the brakes and keeps the A6 in its own lane if the system detects an oncoming vehicle during a left turn.
Starting MSRP: $46,610
The daring Lexus GS sports an aggressive stance, low ride height, and large character details that look like they were carved by a masterful swordsman.
Multiple drivetrains are offered, The base GS 300 uses a 241-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo and send the power to the rear wheels. The midrange GS 350 makes 311 horses from a 3.5-liter V6 and is available in either rear- or all-wheel drive form.
Drivers with a serious speed habit can choose the performance-oriented GS F with a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. A whopping 476 horsepower is sent to the rear wheels, giving the luxurious sedan a top speed of 168 mph
In the other direction is the 450h, a hybrid with a total powertrain output of 338 horsepower.
Ambient lighting is standard in all models, with heated and ventilated front seats in most. The leather upholstery is accented by an actual analogue clock, surrounded by real wood or aluminum trim.
An 8.0-inch infotainment system is standard in the 300, while 350 and 450h use a 12.3-inch display. An optional Mark Levinson surround audio system pairs nicely with the upgraded system, and uses 835 watts to power an incredible 17 speakers.
Starting MSRP: $48,100
The sensuous S90 is Stockholm’s four-door, five-seat flagship sedan. While clearly a Volvo luxury product, the latest generation has a long, low roofline that looks more sporting than previous models.
Three models are offered for 2019, each with its own powertrain, The base T5 uses a turbocharged four-cylinder to generate 250 horsepower from 2.0 liters, and is available as a front- or all-wheel drive. The T6 is all-wheel drive only and uses both turbocharging and supercharging to make 316 horsepower from its 2.0-liter block. The top-tier T8 is also all-wheel drive and uses the same super-turbo engine paired with an 87-horsepower electric motor for a total of 313 horsepower.
Base Momentum trim levels can be had with all three powertrains, while upper Inscription models come with T6 and T8 only.
Regardless of grade, the interior of every S90 drips with Scandinavian elegance and simplicity. Tightly stitched leather is standard, atmospherically lit by a sunroof. Second row headrests are power folding for better rear visibility. A large, central infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and other tech amenities ready to go.
Starting MSRP: $39,600
The dynamic sheetmetal of the all-new Lexus ES highlights the model’s increased focus on performance.
The new sedan rides on a wheelbase 2.0 inches longer than the previous generation, with a track increased 0.4 inches in the front and 1.5 inches in the rear for improved handling and comfort. Overall, the car is 1.8 inches wider and 2.6 inches longer than the outgoing model.
Under the hood is a purposeful aluminum-block V6 with 302 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, paired with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. Up 34 horsepower and 19 lb-ft from the previous model, the ES will scoot zero to 60 in 6.6 seconds, with a top track speed of 131 mph.
A hybrid version will also be on offer, pairing a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder with an efficient electric drive for a total system output of 215 horsepower and 163 lb-ft. Combined fuel economy is a budget-friendly 44 mpg.
Starting MSRP: $49,965
The sexy AF XF sedan is the quintessentially British automobile: refined, well-crafted, and with an eye for spirited driving.
Multiple rear- or all-wheel drive powertrains are offered. Life begins with a 247-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four, which can also be had in 296 horsepower form. A correctly-Jaguar supercharged six offered in the sporting S model, checking in at 380 horsepower and enough to send the XF to 60 in five seconds flat.
Should, for some reason, buyers prefer oxcart speeds, a diesel is also offered in lower trim levels.
The chassis and steering are set up with drivers in mind, providing an excellent balance of feedback, handling, and passenger comfort.
The interior of all models is as cool as a Savile Row suit, with taut lines, crisp stitching, and underrated but expensive-looking trim pieces. Base models memory functions, parking aids, and folding mirrors, while the top Portfolio trim gets 20-way heated and cooled front seats, 825-watt sound, and a head-up display.
Starting MSRP: $46,995
The Cadillac CTS aims to be an American driver’s sedan with balanced handling and multiple engine choices.
Horsepower starts at 268 from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four. The next step is the 335-horsepower turbo six-cylinder, priced more affordably than the Cadillac’s German counterparts. For those who want to stomp those counterparts at stoplights, a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 is available, pumping out a brutal 420 ponies.
In all trims, the CTS offers modern amenities like eight-way power seats, filtered cabin air, wireless charging, and Wi-Fi hotspotting. Eleven-speaker Bose audio is standard, a boon to users of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, also standard.