Looking at luxury cars is fun no matter who you are. Even if you're not in the market for a luxury sedan yourself, there's plenty to get excited over just looking at these beauties. And even if you don't care about horsepower numbers, the luxury features of today are the standard features of tomorrow, so you can start looking now at what to expect if you plan to buy a car a year or two down the road.
The Cadillac CTS has been a popular favorite for awhile now. The CTS starts at $45,560, which gets you a 268-hp turbo four, but you can upgrade to a 335-hp V6 or even a 420-hp twin-turbo V-6. The base model gets 22mpg city/30mpg highway, but reviewers have found it a bit lacking compared to other cars, or even the CTS's other engines. Still, the car handles extraordinarily well at any trim level, and comes with features like an 11-speaker Bose system, a rear camera "mirror," and wireless phone charging. Options include tech like a massive 12.3-inch display, a heads-up display that projects information onto the windshield, and "Magnetic Ride Control" that adjusts the suspension according to road and whether conditions.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class isn't a sporty car by any stretch of the imagination. But that's alright. Sportiness can be left to the likes of the CTS; the E-Class is all about comfort. The sedan model starts at $52,150. For that you get a 2.0L turbo 4 with 241hp that reviewers say is smooth and powerful. You also get natural grain brown ash wood trim (with the option to pick other woods), crosswind assist, PRE-SAFE Sound that protects your ears with pink noise in a collision, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and what Mercedes refers to as "sensual purity of design." That sounds a little pretentious, but it's also sort of hard to argue with. Blind spot monitoring, evasive steering assist and other semi-autonomous driving features are available.
A favored midsize of U.S. News and World Report, the base model Volvo S90 has an MSRP of $46,950 and packs a 2.0L turbocharged inline-4 with 250hp that gets 22mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway. Like the E-Class, the S90 is built for comfort, rather than sport. Reviewers indicate that the steering is troublingly heavy at times, but the ride is smooth and the brakes are stellar. The seats are among the best in its class, and its Sensus technology interface is unparalleled. The S90 is a stylistic upgrade from the outgoing S80, and the new car absolutely makes more of a statement than its forebear. Safety features like adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation come standard, as does a semi-autonomous drive system called "Pilot Assist" that works at speeds up to 80mph.
The Audi A6 is a Car and Driver editor's choice, an A-rated Edmund's pick, and just an all-around fantastic luxury car. A 252-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four comes standard at the base MSRP of $47,600, with the option to upgrade to a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. Both give a good balance of power and fuel economy - the base model gets 23mpg city/34mpg highway. The interior is roomy and finely-crafted, even compared to last year's model. Optional safety features like adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking can be added on. There's plenty of tech to go around, but if there's one drawback to the Audi, it's that some of that tech - like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto - is optional in this car, despite being standard at this point in a lot of other cars of this class.
Hyundai Genesis G80
With a base-model MSRP of $41,400, the Genesis G80 (formerly the Hyundai Genesis) will initially draw eyes from those who want the feel of a luxury car at a price they can afford. But once those bargain hunters see this car's spacious, quiet interior, they'll be glad they took a look. Leather seats offer three levels of heating and cooling. A 3.8-liter V6 delivers 311 horsepower to carry you along, and a suite of standard safety features - like lane keep assist, blind spot detection, a smart cruise control radar, and automatic emergency braking - keeps you secure while it carries you. Options include a 9.2-inch HD navigation display and a 7.1 surround sound audio system, and honestly, by the time you've decked out the G80, you're in the neighborhood as the base model for other luxury midsize cars. The big drawback is the weight, which detracts from both the acceleration and the fuel economy. This isn't necessarily the top performer, but you get an incredible amount of car for the price.