Buy/Drive/Burn: Large Luxury Sedans of Compromise in 2018
Three large and luxurious sedans compete for around $70,000 of your hard-earned and imaginary Internet dollars. Surely this is a segment where compromise will not be a concern, right?
Today we proceed in order of engine displacement, largest to smallest:
The Genesis brand’s largest vehicle debuted as the G90 for the 2017 model year, when the new sedan replaced the prior, unloved Hyundai Equus offering. At 204.7 inches in length, the G90 resides right between the smaller Cadillac CT6 and larger Lexus LS 500 in size, but it contains the largest engine. Entry-level Premium trims start with the turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine you’ll find in other Hyundai and Kia cars. But stepping up to the Ultimate trim nets the full-fat 5.0-liter V8. 420 naturally aspirated horses shift this 4,905-pound sedan. Power travels to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic. The ask is $75,350, and the compromise is the badge.
Lexus LS 500
The LS model has always been the flagship sedan for the Lexus brand. A brand new fifth generation debuted for the 2018 model year, when Lexus decided it was time to shed the model’s conservative and quiet image. More in-your-face than ever before, the gigantic grille takes up nearly the entire frontage of this 206.1-inch sedan. Beneath the hood, the people at Lexus moved with the times and culled some cylinders. A 3.5-liter V6 powers the LS 500 in twin-turbo or hybrid arrangements. Today’s selection is the twin-turbo all-wheel drive version. The 4,905-pound LS is motivated by 416 horsepower and a 10-speed automatic. You’ll pay $78,420, and the compromise is the new cylinder count and some unfortunate styling decisions.
The aluminum Cadillac CT6 has wowed North America’s relatively sparse large sedan crowd since the 2016 model year. Cadillac wanted a flagship sedan at its dealers, having been without one since the demise of the DTS at the end of 2011. CT6 rides on a unique Omega platform shared only with the Buick Avenir concept. Unfortunately, GM’s recent plant closure announcement included Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, where the CT6 is built. But CT6 will still be around for 2018 and 2019, at least. Base versions of the CT6 previously received a sad 2.0-liter Ecotec engine, but we’re not interested in that today. We’re shopping the 3.0-liter twin-turbo Sport version, which motivates a lightweight 4,217-pound CT6 with 404 horsepower. All four wheels get power, delivered via an eight-speed automatic. CT6 is a bargain at $66,595, and the compromise is a little bit of badge and a lot of discontinued car.
Even luxury sedan buyers have to compromise. Which of these three gets the Buy?
[Images: GM, Toyota, Hyundai]
Bd2 on Dec 17, 2018
Buy - G90, but would wait until the refreshed model which has more interesting sheetmetal (albeit, some aspects are a bit polarizing). Drive - CT6, already the best handler of the group and should be an even more fun drive w/ the new TTV8; also, like the G90, it's refreshed sheetmetal is an improvement. Burn - L500, ugly as sin, but what makes it worse it that the new sheetmetal/body-style takes away from the purpose of a flagship sedan - passenger comfort at the rear (the sloping roofline compromises headroom).
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