The Audi A8, BMW 7 series, Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJ are the top of the range luxury cars from the mainstream car makers. But for car buyers who want a four-door saloon that’s a step up from those, dripping with class, what are the options?
Let’s take a quick look at the really high-end saloons – which one’s your favourite?
Unashamedly brutal in its looks, Maserati has offered a four-door performance saloon, unlike Porsche and Aston Martin.Ferrari-developed engines deliver performance and sound superb but the Quattroporte has fallen behind a little in terms of space and comfort.
Aston Martin Rapide
The iconic British manufacturer’s first four-door saloon since 1989 is probably the best looking of all the ‘stretched’ performance luxury cars. Despite other manufacturers’ attempts, it is still the brand most associated with James Bond.Blisteringly fast, it’s perhaps lagging behind the competition in that there’s only one engine on offer, with no diesel or hybrid choices.
As you’d expect from any Porsche, the original Panamera was quick and handled superbly, but it did look rather ungainly, like a badly stretched Carrera.The new model released last year has been re-styled, particularly at the rear, and is a lot more attractive. It also has beaten the Rapide and Quattroporte in most car magazine comparisons of 4-door luxury cars.
Stepping up a gear, Rolls-Royce has been touted as the “best car in the world” for over a hundred years, although there were some hiccups in the Seventies and Eighties.BMW engineering and English craftsmanship have returned the brand to the top, with imposing yet graceful looks and monumental performance.
The second of the two undisputed top luxury car brands in the world, most reviewers consider Bentley’s Mulsanne to be the best sporting saloon in the world. A 6.75l turbocharged V8 based on the original Rolls-Royce V8 of 1959 delivers astonishing power and torque and the Speed variant even tops that. It’s also significantly more expensive than the Rolls so Bentley are currently winning that battle too.