| 28th April 2011
If you were to ask somebody who doesn’t know too much about cars what car they’d most like to own, they’d probably panic and say a Rolls-Royce. Maybe even a Bentley.
Despite the default nature of such an answer, the hypothetical reply tells us one thing – luxury cars are the cars that grab most people’s attention.
If a top of the range Suzuki Swift drove past – despite its rave reviews inside motoring circles – it probably wouldn’t draw many admiring glances, but if a lovely Bentley Continental Flying Spur coasted past everyone would have a bit of a look.
Askaprice.com has decided to make a list of the top five luxury models available at the car-quotation website.
Maybach isn’t as obvious a name in luxury transportation unless you’re wealthy enough to own one or knowledgeable enough to have heard of them.
The 627 from the outside looks a lot like the Mercedes S-Class with the addition of about six foot in length. That may be an exaggeration but the Maybach is absolutely massive and can probably be credited with limousines and luxury models being classed as boats.
What its size translates into is a wealth of interior space in both the front and rear of the car which allows for an incredibly comfortable space to travel in. That theme of comfort is also translated to the drive of the car.
It takes speed bumps and pot holes in its stride without as much as a tremor or a vibration on the inside. Unfortunately that means it doesn’t handle brilliantly – not aided by size either – but those capable of owning a 62 will probably not be interested in testing it out at high speeds.
Another string to the Maybach’s bow is what Askaprice.com is calling its ‘bespoke-ability’. Almost every feature on the car is made to fit the owner’s needs and requirements making it a truly unique car.
Unfortunately it gets around 8mpg.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the epitome of British luxury and the chosen car or many a millionaire or oligarch.
That’s because it manages to combine comfort, size and performance like no other model on the market, setting it way out in front of its rivals in terms of all round package and blowing the likes of the Maybach out of the water and contention.
Again the Phantom is a huge model and is available in a long wheelbase version. Even on the shorter version space and room is as much as you could ever expect of something on four wheels and the high quality materials and finishes in the interior allow for a supremely comfortable cabin.
At low speeds that comfort is translated to the Phantom’s ride with bumps and holes in the road irrelevant. At high speed and around corners is where the Phantom comes into its own.
Despite its size and despite its weight (around 2.5 tonnes) the Phantom is brilliant on the road with neat, accurate steering and brilliant levels of performance courtesy of Rolls-Royce’s fabled engines, in this case a 6.8-litre V12.
Again, bespoke-ability is incredible on the Phantom with the Gaydon-based manufacturer’s bespoke fittings achieving legendary status thanks to in-built champagne hampers for example.
Bentley Continental Flying Spur
The Continental Flying Spur currently holds the title of the world’s fastest saloon with a top speed of around 200mph in the Speed variant, which is where it is head of the segment.
In terms of performance, the Bentley is the best luxury saloon on the market. Under its stunning bonnet sits a massive and potent 552bhp 6.0litre W12 engine which negates the size and weight of the model and makes it a true rival of some of the quickest cars on the road today.
However, that’s not why you’d buy a prestigious saloon, and the Flying Spur ticks the other boxes pretty emphatically too.
It is unfortunate to fall in the same segment as the Aston Martin Rapide and the Jaguar XJ as they are both slightly better looking than the Bentley, however in terms of performance and comfort it is a fantastic car.
The Jaguar XJ is something of an oddity in the big cat’s range.
Where the other models like the XF and XK are sleek and aggressive looking, the XJ looks quite sedate and lacks the slim front-end of its stablemates, favouring the long, deep snouts of its luxury segment competitors.
From the outside the XJ looks extremely refined however its engine range smacks more of performance cars than stately cruisers.
Two 5.0-litre V8 petrol units are available at the top of the range offering a massive 508bhp at the sharp end while even the smallest 3.0-litre unit can clear 0-62mph in six seconds.
The engine feedback from the interior however is basically non-existent with road and wind noise easy to miss completely. Fortunately that doesn’t translate into a dull and uninvolved drive. Instead the ride and handling of the car is more befitting of a much smaller model than the five metre behemoth you’re actually behind the wheel of.
Inside the XJ is equipped with some of the most high-tech equipment imaginable and boasts some brilliant LCD screens and graphics.
Aston Martin Rapide
The Aston Martin Rapide is probably more coupe than saloon however its four door, four seat make-up has allowed Askaprice.com to squeeze the brilliant model in through the back door.
Without question, the Rapide is the best looking luxury saloon in the segment and it boasts typical Aston styling features.
That means a sleek, low slung profile with a wide split grille at the front-end and iconic headlight shape.
One downside in comparison with the other luxury saloon entrants is size; it’s nowhere near as vacuous as the Maybach or the Rolls-Royce but it is still brilliantly laid out in the interior with one magazine describing it as snug.
That’s a brilliant description as the model is not noticeably small but it is more constrained than its alternatives. Fortunately that doesn’t detract from comfort with four passengers easily able to inhabit the brilliant British model.
It comes with a large V12 6.0-litre engine and a six-speed automatic transmission which sets the Aston up for comfortable high-speed cruising as opposed to raw power and performance as is the case on other models.