As if the luxury sedan segment had not historically been a competitive one against European models, cars from the US, Japan and Korea have become serious contenders and threatened the near-monopoly brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have long held in the segment appealing to people spending as much as $60,000. These cars are steps up from the "entry-level" luxury sedans and place a high emphasis on comfort, performance and advanced technology – the kinds of things that appeal to successful bankers, for example.
The best cars in this class manage to provide a bit of everything, from beautifully finished interiors to state-of-the-art infotainment systems, spacious seating, strong engines and stylish exteriors that give presence when pulling up to the valet stand. Here are our Top 5 Recommended Luxury Sedans for 2014.
Audi has come a long way over the last decade to pose a serious threat in all categories of the luxury field, and the A6 has cracked the code instilled by BMW on how to make the best luxury sport sedan. First off, it's a stylish car with the kinds of details that instill that "wow" factor every time you get near it. With a choice of a 2.0-liter turbo or a supercharged 3.0-liter V6, both engines offer surprisingly strong performance given their relatively small sizes. Audi's renowned Quattro all-wheel drive system is widely available. It's also a relatively large vehicle for the class, giving excellent rear seat space and cargo room to accommodate four passengers easily. Above all, it finally gives the BMW 5-series a run for best dynamics in the class.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 22 city/32 highway.
Lexus, too, has been an also-ran in this segment as the last three GS sedans have hardly been memorable, lacking both distinctive styling or impressive performance to lure buyers out of competing models. The new generation GS350, though, is a big step forward from previous generations. It starts with the love-it-or-hate-it face adorning all new Lexus models, which, on the GS, looks sharp and imposing. The 3.5-liter V6 churns out 306 horsepower and mates well with the six- speed automatic. Fortunately, Lexus still makes high-quality interiors with tight fit lines and sumptuous materials. While the lexuso system is below par, the optional 12.3-inch widescreen navigation display is one of the best in the business and will fascinate your passengers.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 19 city/28 highway.
While the 5-series is no longer the top pick in the class, there's no reason to dismiss it altogether. Even in base 528 form with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower, it's a perky performer with the added bonus of good fuel economy. It's larger than ever before, to the benefit of rear seat and trunk space. But the sprightly feeling of early models has been watered down in favor of a softer ride. The interior, while well-finished, can't beat what Audi and bmw offer and in traditional BMW fashion, common options like leather seats and parking sensors aren't cheap. But there's little any of this can do to diminish the presence the 528i gives off when pulled up at the stoplights. It's a sharp-looking car and definitely commands attention in a way few other cars can.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 23 city/34 highway.
Even after it's been on the market for several years now, the Genesis from Hyundai has held up well, due in no small part to how impressive it is. It beats pretty much all of the cars in the class on space for five passengers, boasts strong V6 and V8 engines that aren't exactly gas hogs, either. Furthermore, it's astonishingly good value as it's impossible to spend more than $50,000 on even V8 model with big wheels, stellar audio system and navigation. Its conservative lines make it look bland, though, and it's one of the few in the class not to offer all-wheel drive.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 17 city/25 highway.
While it isn't as up-to-date as many of the others in this list, and being a Mercedes it is no bargain, the E350 is still an excellent choice among luxury sedans. The midsize Mercedes offers a serene riding experience with robust quality and the prestige of that three- pointed star. The current model is about to be replaced by a better-looking 2014 car that boasts more advanced technology, though, so there are deals to be had on the 2013.
EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to 20 city/29 highway.