By on January 15, 2020

We’ve finally made it to the top. Today marks the last entry in the QOTD sedan series, in which we discuss the few options available to the large luxury sedan buyer in 2020.

Pick a best all-rounder, even if you can’t afford it.

Cars on the list below are sourced via U.S. News and other places, and all fall in the large luxury car class. Limiters placed on the list include a luxury or premium badge, doors numbering four, and a real trunk (sorry, Audi A7). Let’s have a look:

Acura RLX
Audi A8
BMW 7 Series
Cadillac CT6
Genesis G90
Lexus LS
Lincoln Continental
Maserati Quattroporte
Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Notably absent from this list are the Jaguar XJ and Infiniti’s Q70L, both of which were executed after the 2019 model year. The XJ will be back, the long-wheelbase Q70 (and soon the regular one) are likely finished in this market. Checking out the 11 remaining entries, the clear all-round winner couldn’t be more obvious.

Genesis

It’s the Genesis G90. Reworked for the 2020 model year, this large sedan does things the traditional way. Power delivered to the rear, and six or eight cylinders at the front. All-wheel drive is an option, but the best way to go is with the 5.0-liter Ultimate trim in rear-drive. It’ll set you back $75,700, which is a relative bargain among the real luxury contenders in this segment. There’s no long wheelbase available domestically, and its 204.7 inches of length falls mid-pack among competitors. The big engine provides 419 naturally aspirated horses and 383 pound-feet of torque. Other highlights of this revised version include excellent lace alloys and an LED heckblende around the back.

What’s your pick for best all-round luxury full-sizer?

[Images: Audi, Genesis]

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148 Comments on “QOTD: The Best All-round Large Luxury Sedan in 2020?...”


  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    The CT6 and Continental both seem to have finally- after how many decades?- almost caught up with the competition. Just in time to be axed because sedans are “dead”.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      What exactly has the continental “caught up” to? I’ve seen a number of them down around my rental properties, and they certainly seem to share the 300c demographic. Used ones seem to fall off a cliff in terms of resale.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You’ve seen MY18+ Contis among the poors? Last I checked those things were still pulling high 20s low 30s.

        MY18 Lincoln Continental FWD

        4/18/19 $31,250* 3,633 4.9 6GT/A White Regular Southwest Omaha
        5/8/19 $35,400* 3,723 4.5 6GT/A White Factory Southeast Tampa
        3/13/19 $37,500* 3,894 5.0 6GT/A White Factory Southeast Tampa
        4/18/19 $30,100* 6,908 4.2 6GT/A Black Lease Southwest Texas Hobby
        8/7/19 $38,000* 7,553 4.6 6GT/A Beige Lease Southwest Texas Hobby
        2/13/19 $35,000* 10,194 4.7 6GT/A White Factory Southwest Dallas-Fort Worth
        11/21/19 $27,600* 15,885 4.4 6GT/A Red Lease Midwest Detroit

        “they certainly seem to share the 300c demographic”

        The late D186 Conti owners at this point aspire to be 300C owners. An MY00 Conti at this point is worth about $500-1000 dollars. The 300C RWD in MY06 can still pull 3,8-4,2 in clean condition.

        • 0 avatar
          The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

          Not “poor”. I was aiming more for the “Flexible credit situation” types. Not exactly your secure mortgage sorts. Let’s say I’ve seen contis replacing 300cs outside of properties with the same exterior styling accoutrements.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m truly surprised to hear this. I would have expected those type in higher end used Nissans, Hyundais, maybe Cadillacs. Typically the kind of stuff that’s known to be problematic and wholesales less than 10K OR stuff lacking prestige i.e. Hyundai Genesis.

          • 0 avatar

            This commenter profile has established a reputation for hyperbolic observational judgements, and falls into Grain of Salt territory.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            How does Grango feel about this?

          • 0 avatar

            Freind;

            Once and a while you will come across one who makes these “snaps judges” of their fellow driver’s !

            To them it’s wise a word to remember the saying “For not judge the book by the (car) cover, ” ha ha !

            And then, happier times intervene, inevitabel for most.

            Best–

            G.r.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            2020 is off to the right start, Corey.

      • 0 avatar
        spookiness

        In my parts the Continental seems to have similar buyers to the old Town Car, or maybe the Town Car as it was in the 90’s. 1) Still a few bought by elderly with some money who insist on a new car every few years. 2) Bargain hunters who use the deep depreciation in their favor, gizmos+space 3) people who drive them for a living.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “2) Bargain hunters who use the deep depreciation in their favor, gizmos+space”

          I am that guy and still pulling near 30K is no bargain. I guess the few buyers who want these are willing to overpay because this should be low 20s by now.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I agree with 28-Cars. I actually looked at CPO Continentals while car shopping last summer. Ones that were in my price range were all naturally aspirated V6 – FWD bottom feeders.

            I would have wanted 2.7TT and AWD minimum.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @PrincipalDan

            That’s actually the only one I would buy but then I recall the Water Pump of Death. I also say to myself, who is buying this from me? Dealers will always f*** you below wholesale so when it came time to go I have to unload it myself… but to whom?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Is the Water Pump of Death still a thing on these cars?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Meh I’m buying with a warranty and dumping after car is paid off and said warranty has expired.

            That’s not the financial guru way but for a career minded enthusiast with two kids who always buys cars under what he could afford there are many perks to living that way.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            AFAIK its any Coyote motor being used in transverse application. I’m not as up on Ford so their new 3.0/2.7T etc may be a new generation and lack this problem.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      The Continental has had YEARS to catch on sales-wise. It was the whole “Ah, Lincoln is BACK” savior vehicle. Nobody cared.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        @28-cars,

        I’m with you on the Conti…. would need to get it loaded with the great seats, Revel stereo and 2.7T. And even then, unless you’re planning on owning it for a decade, you’re going to get shelacked when you attempt to sell it on or trade it.

        The only way to get that car is to get it in the low-mid 20’s fully loaded – otherwise you’re going to take a bath on depreciation.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @jkross22

          You’re taking a bath on any Lincoln unfortunately. The vaunted MY10-12 MKZ which was universally recommended by the members of The Church of 3800 as a buy pulls like 3K these days, and its like maybe ten years old. That’s really sad, I don’t even think the Townies dropped that bad… maybe the Contis/LS did but those were basket cases.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Damn, the MKZ took a beating. Then again, that’s an awful lot of car for $3k.

            I just looked on cars.com and most MKZs are priced between 8-12k for the MY you mentioned.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @jkross

            We were taught you make 80% of your profits in 20% of your product. One of these for $8K even if it was super clean… come the F on.

            MY10 Lincoln MKZ FWD

            12/18/19 $5,600 56,998 3.1 6G/A Green Regular Northeast New Jersey
            12/23/19 $2,600 74,059 3.5 6G/A White Lease Southeast North Carolina
            12/17/19 $4,400 100,051 3.0 6G/A Black Lease Northeast Philadelphia
            12/30/19 $3,600 102,112 1.9 6G/A Gray Regular Southeast Fort Myers
            1/9/20 $3,250 110,274 3.4 6G/A Red Regular West Coast Nevada
            12/19/19 $4,000 120,551 4.5 6G/A Red Regular West Coast Southern California
            1/2/20 $2,800 123,920 1.9 6G/A Gray Lease West Coast Phoenix
            1/8/20 $1,600 126,123 2.0 6G/A Gold Regular Southeast Charlotte
            1/8/20 $2,900 158,310 4.7 6G/A White Regular Southwest San Antonio
            12/17/19 $600 207,215 1.7 6G/A Red Lease Northeast Baltimore-Washington
            12/24/19 $1,800 207,491 – – 6G/- – Silver Regular Midwest Chicago

            AWD

            11/19/19 $3,000 82,453 3.4 6G/A Black Lease Southeast Georgia
            12/12/19 $3,500 82,470 4.0 6G/A Black Regular Southeast Atlanta
            12/12/19 $3,700 124,789 – – 6G/- – Black Regular Midwest Chicago
            12/26/19 $950 136,948 2.8 6G/A Black Lease Midwest Cincinnati
            1/7/20 $2,150 152,041 – – 6G/- – Red Regular Northeast NY Metro Skyline
            11/14/19 $900 170,660 2.3 6G/A Gray Lease Midwest Chicago

            MY12 V6 FWD

            12/18/19 $3,600 68,182 4.4 6G/A Red Lease Southeast Lakeland
            1/8/20 $7,000 70,038 3.7 6G/A Black Lease Northeast Harrisonburg
            1/8/20 $4,900 73,459 3.8 6G/A White Lease Southeast Lakeland
            1/13/20 $5,900 73,815 – – 6G/- – Black Regular Southeast North Carolina
            1/8/20 $4,700 86,382 3.2 6G/A Black Regular Northeast New Jersey
            12/30/19 $2,700 96,389 2.4 6G/A White Lease Midwest Kansas City
            1/4/20 $4,000 111,061 – – 6CY/A Gray Regular Northeast Albany
            1/10/20 $5,200 115,213 4.4 6G/A White Regular Southeast Fort Lauderdale
            12/19/19 $2,400 120,303 2.6 6G/A Black Regular Southeast Darlington
            12/31/19 $5,800 127,255 4.1 6G/A Black Lease Northeast Philadelphia
            12/30/19 $1,500 177,168 – – 6G/A Burgundy Regular Southeast North Carolin

            Looks like AWD is somehow desirable specifically in MY12 (whereas 10 not so much)

            MY12 AWD V6

            1/10/20 $8,600 60,389 4.0 6G/A Blue Regular Southwest Dallas
            12/17/19 $8,000 65,925 4.3 6G/A Silver Regular Southeast Statesville
            12/17/19 $5,900 72,545 2.6 6G/A White Lease Northeast Philadelphia
            12/18/19 $3,400* 76,345 1.7 6G/A Silver Lease Northeast New Jersey
            12/28/19 $6,500 78,340 – – 6G/A Black Regular Midwest St Louis
            12/17/19 $6,500 80,884 – – 6G/- – White Regular Northeast NY Metro Skyline
            1/9/20 $5,250 107,281 3.7 6G/A Gray Lease Southwest Dallas-Fort Worth

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          You don’t say. I bought a “CPO” 2014 MKS in Feb 2017 for $21,900. It only had 30,000 miles, and while it was the base 3.7-liter N/A V6 and FWD powertrain, it was well-equipped, with navigation, the pano sunroof, the Elite package, etc.

          I totaled it in Dec 2017 with 45,000 miles on the odometer. I had to beg my insurance company to give me $16K for it. They originally tried to give me $14K. I thought I was safe buying a used luxury car, but that’s really the same kind of depreciation I’d have gotten if I’d have bought a new base-model Sonata and totaled it within a year and with just 15,000 more miles on the clock.

          The Lincoln depreciation curve is steep and lasts a helluva lot longer than it does for most other brands.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I visited the last MY of the MKS in I think the 2017 auto show because I have a sickness. I thought wow Ford you really screwed up the ergonomics and the visibility of this thing. I find this sad and ironic since it was derived from the Volvo P2 and the S80 has excellent seating, ergonomics, and visibility. I was in the back seat checking to see if I could remove the third brake light in the ceiling because its seriously 1/5 to 1/4 of the rear window and was driving me nuts just sitting in the thing. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

            “The Lincoln depreciation curve is steep and lasts a helluva lot longer than it does for most other brands.”

            I’d say its a few points within Chev/Buick car, Cadillac car, Ford car, and KIA/Hyundai. As we are seeing with the Conti, its still holding upper 20s 2 years in so that’s sort of good for them I was expecting bargain basement by now.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            The last model year of the MKS was 2016. It and the Continental did not co-exist.

            I agree. The ergonomics were bad. Ford went ahead and targeted a really tall H-point for the sedans on the D platform. Possibly because of their demographic, which consisted of older people. Either way, it meant the Five Hundred/Taurus, Montego/Sable and MKS were far taller than they needed to be. The earlier cars were at least easy to see out of, but starting with the MKS and 2010 Taurus, that went out the window, too.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            It’s a universal hazard among luxury sedans these days. The value of my low-mile Lexus LS 460 fell by nearly half in the two and a half years I owned it — and those were years 8, 9, and half of 10.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        To be fair, the buyers who cared about Lincoln being BACK were dead by then.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The CT6 was never meant to be a proper flagship sedan and unless things have changed, Cadillac is working on the production version of the Escala.

      The CT6 was also meant to go on a temporary hiatus until the next gen CT6 was ready, but again, plans may have changed.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I need to drive these Genesis sedans. Is Hyundai pulling off the “Lexus does Mercedes-Benz” playbook successfully? Sure looks like it from the outside.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      The internet has a weird hard on for them because the early equus/k900s have the resale value of a used Kleenex and you can look like you’re balling out for $15k. They look nice in pictures until you sit in one and realize it’s got an early 2000s American luxury car interior and the driving dynamics of a town car. The G70 seems to be taking over where the g35 sedan left off, a 3 series for the kid who got his first big boy job but couldn’t swing the $419/month lease on the 3 series. They look great on paper until you drive one.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Just so much flatout wrong information in every one of your comments. Did you hit your head and not realize it’s 2020 or something?

        • 0 avatar
          The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

          Aw look, the 600 FICO brigade logged on.

          Yes, I’ve driven the Genesis line. They’re “fine”. Not good, and frankly not remotely competitive to the Europeans. They’ll be good buys with 10k of incentives, even if you still have to explain that they’re the “good” Hyundai.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            KIA K900 the same despite it being pretty impressive on paper.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            I can’t give any insight on Genesis ownership, but I can on European cars. They drive great, but after 60k miles, they begin living on financial life support.

            We need to be honest about Euro cars – they’re overall not engineered well. Each brand cheaps out in different ways, but the net net is that the days of 1980s Mercedes reliability and BMW simplicity are long gone. In their place are cars with way too much tech that’s not been tested, cheap mechanicals that wear prematurely and warranties that don’t cover most of those items.

          • 0 avatar

            Reminder that personal insults are against the rules, and are not tolerated.

            Buckshot, this is warning #1.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        That’s b/c they were branded Hyundais and Kias and were on an (old) platform that didn’t offer AWD (which is a major omission these days).

        Used pre-F/L G90s have been holding their value pretty well (better than similarly aged Germans).

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          That’s because people a lot of people lease 7 Series’ and S-Classes, which floods the market with them every year. Also, you’ll notice that they take a sharp dive in value right around 48K miles, when all of those four-figure maintenance issues crop up.

          They also suffer from a phenomenon called “If I Can Afford To Buy It New, I Will.” There’s not much of a market for lightly used ones at reasonable prices. The people that can buy them new…do. Thus, even the lightly used ones have to come down in price considerably, to meet the point where people looking for a bargain will bite. You see this to an even higher extreme with Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, which can drop as much as $100K in value during the first year.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The answer to this has been the S class for decades, and will continue to be until someone builds something unquestionably better.

    Easiest one so far.

    • 0 avatar
      AA610

      Never driven one because I can’t afford one, but I love the look of the current S Class. It screams class to me, and has that “I’ve arrived” look to it.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      When was the last time you drove an S-Class? I was shocked how poor the ride quality is compared to the BMW (in Comfort Plus mode.) The A8 is probably best in terms of ride and feature content. But a lot of my A8 esteem is based on Audi offering a $10k discount on the $10k executive package so you can get a fully loaded A8 for $20k off MSRP with the all the various discounts.

      A note to keep in mind when reading car reviews. The 7 Series in Comfort Plus mode rides like its Rolls Royce platform mate. But every reviewer gets in and immediately it in Sport and then says, “The ride is kinda firm.” No sh*t Sherlock.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I have not driven a current sedan, just the coupe.

        The last S sedan I drove was a 2012 or 13, near the end of the previous generation. I remember preferring it to the contemporary BMW 7 I drove back to back, but that was more about seat comfort and engine response than ride quality.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I had a 2019 750d rental when I was in Munich. For those not in the know, that is a short-wheelbase quad-turbo 3.0-liter diesel I6 model. It was equal parts cushy and well-balanced. But I was in its homeland.

        BMW no longer sells the SWB 7 Series here, and they certainly don’t sell it here with any quad-turbo diesel, either.

  • avatar
    The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

    “The Genesis G90”. HahahahahHahahaha haha

    Good Lord kiddo. Why even bother reading after that?

    No, like not even close, no. S class without even a second thought, follow it up with the 7 series since the M760 still exists, and then the LS. Everything else is a non factor unless you’re looking at a fleet of hire cars.

    Genesis competes nicely against a 10 year old S class with 100k on it you find on a buy here, pay here lot. It’s a nice value leader in the “want to appear wealthy” class at $54k. Sadly, it starts in the upper 70s. Anyone that puts anything Genesis in the same breath as the Europeans or Lexus has never driven or even seen one outside of the internet.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Based on the time I’ve spent in the back of these things (which is what actually matters):

    Tie for first: A8 or G90. Have not been in the newest version of the A8, but I liked the previous one.

    3rd: S-Class.

    If the K9 is anything like previous Equus, that’s #4.

    I think the CT6 is a good looking car, but I’ve never been in one.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, if it’s a price-no-object thing, I’m going with the S-class, and I’m not even driving anything else. Good-looking, fast and SOLID. It’s the gold standard for a reason.

    Price-dependent: Continental. I have an entirely irrational love for this car.

    (Sorry, that new grill on the G90 is no-sale for me.)

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The diamond shaped grille? I didn’t realize they finally brought that to the US. It looks much better in person than in photos, in my opinion. The new tail light treatment is a step down, however. The lights all the way across the trunk have too much in common with the Hyundais they sell (not that the new Sonata and Grandeur aren’t nice cars).

  • avatar
    Lokki

    I have to agree with Buckshot’s opinion. Overall there’s no substitute for an S-class. If you want to show you’re a carefree rebel, you lease a 7-Series. If you’re a modern thinker you go for the Audi. The Maserati is tempting but only as an occasional driver; most of the time you take the Audi.

    The Lexus marks you as old and stodgy. The Caddy marks you as not too-bright, and the Lincoln, while very nice, is second-tier. Same with the Acura. No one will really believe that you chose one of them over an S-class. You simply couldn’t afford an S-Class and that’s the end of it. Don’t tell me about how rich you are; maybe you have money but you don’t have liquidity.

    Now, the Genesis. Objectively it is a very nice car. However, let’s face facts. As VW learned with the Phaeton (which was essentially a rebadged Bentley) status matters. Yeah, maybe it shouldn’t but it does. I am reminded of my biology class in college in which we studied the Krebs cycle by which ATP is generated to power the body at a cellular level. I remember very little of it except that, when it comes to nourishing your body, my study partner and I concluded that “ounce for ounce” you can’t beat grease. It’s by far the most bang for the buck. All your frou-frou spices and sauces do nothing towards fulfilling the fundamental task at hand. Still, it’s unappealing and you can try to explain the wisdom of your choice to your friends all you want, but ain’t nobody believing you; you’re being cheap.

  • avatar
    micko4472

    The only two possibilities are the Acura RL and the Lexus LS. I don’t
    do German and I don’t do Korean and I don’t do Lincoln’s and Caddies
    that are simply glorified Fords or Chevys.

    If I were to buy a largeish sedan, it would likely be an Avalon.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Acura will be thrilled to know that at least one person might want an RLX. Not one person on this article, one person in the world.

      But I joke, they actually sold 1,019 of those in 2019. Still I feel like some of those might have been accidents.

      Acura Dealer: Sir, we’ll pull your new vehicle up to the front.
      Buyer: Wait, where’s my new SUV?
      Acura Dealer: Sir, that’s the rDx.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Pity Acura doesn’t take its RLX seriously.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          I know because they used to take the Legend and RL seriously as their top sedan. I saw a RLX the other day and you have to do a double take to realize it’s not a previous generation Accord.
          A new RLX could be successful with their new styling theme.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The RLX continued as the Honda Legend which was/is sold in Japan. From their point of view, the RLX exists solely to sell additional Legends imported from Japan.

            The Legend also used to be the premier Acura sedan before it was decided to slightly remake Accord as an Acura in the late 90s. Since the current purpose of Acura is to sell a Honda with different sheet metal and styling, why bother building a serious offering?

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      Wow. That’s…depressing.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      For what it’s worth, the CT6 is on the Omega platform, which isn’t shared with any other GM vehicle. That said, the interior quality is not in keeping with anything from Germany or Japan in that class, and even the new K900 and G90 do it better.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        You can say that about every Cadillac model. Actually, most GM vehicles are several years behind in the interiors and layouts.

        My older cousin likes to rent Impalas because the instrument panel layout is pretty much like his 2000MY Impala that he loved. The rest of the interior appointments are more of the same.

        It should be no surprise that GM’s top of the line marque does the same thing. Even the materials used are the same as 5-8 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The RLX is seen more as a competitor to the likes of the 5 Series, E Class, A6, G80, GS, Q70, etc. these days than the flagship segment.

      And aside from the abysmal sales, also has abysmal residual value.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    “Limiters placed on the list include a luxury or premium badge, doors numbering four, and a real trunk”

    Why is the KIA K900 on this list then? Regardless of the merits of the car itself, there is no way KIA can be considered “a luxury or premium badge”. Quite the opposite in fact – this quote from a non automotive blog illustrates how KIA is currently perceived among the general public:

    “Above all, live quietly among the masses. Consider driving a Kia. Yes, that bad.”

    source: https://www.greaterfool.ca/2020/01/13/the-gig/

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      Don’t laugh, I know a number of people with k900s, and have looked at pre-owned ones myself for this very reason. Absolutely *zero* brand image or badge issues. People just think it’s a $17k optima or whatever. Perfect for street parking or your standard passive aggressive Midwest office complex.

    • 0 avatar

      K900 removed.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Don’t see why the K900 should be removed when the RLX is on the list.

        Arguably, the K900 is a “tweener” (splits the diff. in size btwn the G80 and G90 despite sharing the same WB as the G90), but the RLX is most compared to the mid-size lux segment (as FWD/transverse models are).

        The K900 is more luxurious than the RLX (both interior, tech/amenities and the layout/powertrain) and is priced higher.

        And in other markets, the RLX is branded as a Honda.

        Would the NSX be dismissed from being considered a supercar on the basis that it is branded as the Honda NSX for most markets?

        Guess the Century wouldn’t be considered for the ultra-lux sedan segment since it’s branded a Toyota despite being the automaker’s flagship sedan (the LS 500 slots underneath the Century).

        • 0 avatar

          Kia is not a premium marque, it is thus disqualified. If the Genesis were still a Hyundai, it wouldn’t be here either.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Got that, but like I had stated, seems to be a bit of s superficial requirement.

            As the K900 is more “luxury” than the RXL, which in other markets is sold as a Honda.

            The most expensive model by far in Nissan/Infiniti’s stable is the GT-R, and they’re all Nissans in Japan.

            Seems silly if someone imported a Legend or Fuga from Japan – that they wouldn’t meet the req. despite being the same model/vehicle as the RLX and Q70.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    No substitute for S-Class I guess.
    The older I get the more I like LS, although I like earlier models better than the current one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    We’re the wrong people to ask due to the fact that most of us don’t give two shakes about the badge on the hood.

    In fact as I get older and see more and more A-class MB with lighted three pointed stars on the grille the less I want anything to do with MB.

    Of what is listed I’d only really consider:

    Acura RLX
    Genesis G90 (I’d rather have G80)
    Kia K900 (can’t actually picture buying one new)
    Lincoln Continental

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The thing about Mercedes is that their cheaper stuff (A-class, CLA, etc) is kind of a joke, but the expensive stuff is amazing. BMW and Audi are sort of opposite – I think their lower-priced sedans are actually better than their “master of the universe” models.

      So, yeah, we can snicker all we want at Mercedes for charging $45,000 for a built-at-a-Nissan-plant-in-Mexico FWD compact sedan that can’t outrun a Mazda3, but the prestige game is about aspiration, and there’s plenty to aspire to in any Mercedes showroom.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Right. I was considering getting a cheap C 300 Sedan lease, as my local M-B dealership has a bunch of ex-loaner C 300s that they can’t get rid of. So my good friend, who works there, called me, and I test-drove one. I didn’t buy it…but that’s because I would really rather just have the Coupe or Convertible. It is an impressively built car, and the 2.0T isn’t a big bag of misery like the one in my ’19 Tiguan.

        Even the A-Class and new CLA-Class look impressive on paper and present well. I imagine for buyers who aren’t all that discerning, they’ll be just fine. But the C definitely moved upmarket.

  • avatar
    volvo

    I am not an electric fan but how did the Tesla S not make the list? Here in the SF Bay area it is the go to purchase where price is not a deterrent and people want a luxury vehicle that makes a statement.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The G90 is far and away ahead at checking off my rational checkboxes. Right wheel drive, conservative styling, NA V8, less insultingly priced, none of that rich Corinthian sway bar idiocy.

    That said, even the most rational money car is a thoroughly irrational purchase and irrationally a 75K Hyundai is a LOL.

    I drove a friend’s BMW 750 and was pretty impressed. But, irrationally again, the ultimate a-hole machine years pretty well ruined the brand for me.

    I’ve never driven any S class and never even been in the current one but from the outside looking in their marketing (read: stratospheric pricing) worked as intended on me. It still says plutocrat. Isn’t that the point here?

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’d be a bit different and go for the CT-6 even as it’s supposedly being phased out. In GM fashion make a really good technologically advanced car and then drop it. CT-6 V Blackwing built in Bowling Green must have some heavy discounts from its $90k base.

  • avatar
    Dale Houston

    Shouldn’t the Tesla Model S be here – and also be the obvious choice?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I’ve only driven an A8 and an LS on this list. Drove similarly, both very nice, but the seats and stereo in the LS F sport won me over. And the idea that I’d be spending much less in repairs on the Lexus.

    I drove an XJ around the same time, and that car was head and shoulders better/more fun than the Audi or Lexus. And had a nicer interior. And looked like there was an attempt at style. The ‘cockpit’ feel made the car feel smaller, something I’d image large sedan buyers don’t want.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’d put the Continental, S90, CT6, RLX and departed Q70L in the pseudo-flagship class. They happen to be the nicest sedans in their respective automakers’ portfolios and are very nice; however, they don’t reach the levels of actual premier large luxury cars. The CT6 is particularly disappointing. I test-drove a used Platinum model recently. It’s got all the right stuff on paper and is even on a unique platform, but really the materials quality and presentation are such that it mostly comes off as feeling like an XL 2014-2019 CTS. And the Q70L literally *was* a long-wheelbase Q70.

    And then you have the G90 and K900. These cars really *do* have most, if not all, of the content of their more-desirable counterparts, but lack the badge cachet. The K900 is particularly troubled because it comes from a non-luxury brand historically synonymous with subprime credit and awful dealership experiences. But it exists in a vacuum for Kia. It’s mostly a domestic product and they only use it here to prop up the brand, not to compare against other luxury cars.

    I’d say the now-departed XJ and LS are in a category unto themselves. They’ve got the right badge and customer experience, but are still unlikely to keep up with the German trio, who just do it *better*.

    And that German Power Trio consists of the S-Class and in a distant second and third place, the 7 Series and A8.

    For my money, the happy middle ground would probably be the G90. It’s fast, it’s luxurious, it’s subtle (even with the 2020 facelift) and it’s unlikely to have as many problems as the European stuff. I like the LS for different reasons, mainly because its styling really bucks the norm and looks distinctly Japanese. Even though the engines are all-new, I can’t imagine Toyota didn’t spend a ton of money making sure they were reliable.

    If money is no object, then the S-Class. There’s a reason it’s the gold standard.

    • 0 avatar
      CarGazer

      I think you nailed it with how the cars should be grouped. MB, BMW and Audi at the top of the pyramid. I own a Lexus LS and it doesn’t have all the high tech gizmos that MB, BMW and Audi are putting into their flagship sedans (they just added Carplay to the LS in 2019!) I think the G90 is probably on par with the Lexus in terms of ride and interior quality, but I can’t imagine having to service my car at Hyundai dealership.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I have no dog in this fight, I’ll take a 1992 Town Car in white with blue leather interior or a Holden Caprice-V Grange with the 6.2L.

    None of the full-size luxury cars listed here do anything for me, and I’m a full-size buyer.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      If someone could build a modern variant of that Town Car I would be all ears.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        The last gen Avalon is crying out to you.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          If we’re ordering cars from the past, make mine a Jack Nicklaus Edition Town Car, emerald exterior, tan interior.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Avalon is front drive and V6, yuck. I’ll take an LS430 though.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Yeah, I don’t get this. The days of torque steer, terrible fwd dynamics and the other things that made fwd bad are gone.

            Recently drove the Jetta GLI and was reminded how good a fwd car can be.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            RWD is just wonderful though. Like completely amazing and it’s my favorite thing about my last two vehicles and I can’t believe I lived so long without it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            You can feel the different between push and pull, torque steer is only on the most egregious examples of FWD architecture. Your never going to have the same driving dynamics, throwing off weight distribution and then you have the odd design of all Front drivers, and the horrible engine placement in the engine bay.

            And lastly it’s just cheap, nothing feels cheaper than a front drive vehicle, not only does it feel cheap when you drive them but the idea that I’m going to spend money on a front drive car at the Avalon’s cost is a hard no.

            This article is about luxe cars, unitizing the entire engine/trans setup to the drive wheels is not luxurious.

            Front drive is fine in a cheap economy car that’s purpose is to get from point A to B but it’s incredibly insulting in a car that costs over $25k.

            The only reason in 2020 to put front drive on expensive cars is either due to budget constraints or lack of engineering skills.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think, Hummer, that your ideal car would be a B-body with a modern SBC engine and new sheetmetal.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’ve never had a huge affinity for B bodies, I’m sure if the right one came along I could get interested, the vast majority that I’ve seen on the road – and they have managed to keep a decent presence for all these years – are almost always clapped out.

        The early 90s town car just drips with all American luxury and in my own personal opinion I think it has aged very well. Certainly better than its immediate successor managed to do.

        My biggest issue is that I remember them being somewhat finicky new, and the one my buddy bought several years back never seemed to be right, both electrical issue and separate issues in the steering column that required ridiculous hours to correct.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          True. I saw a 1992 Town Car with white leather that was just to die for. The final boxy TC lost some of its appeal when they did the interior refresh, and yes, the curvy one just paled in comparison.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    Maybe the G90 is it? I haven’t driven one yet.

    Since cost and long term reliability are no object, the A8 and S class are almost the obvious choice for me, although I would never actually buy one unless my life conditions changed significantly. I generally lean towards Japanese cars, probably due to my age and zip code. I have always been impressed by the Lexus LS, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the Acura RLX, but I don’t consider the LS to be on par with the S class (though it’s better in many ways that are important to me), and the RLX really can’t compete in this group.

    When I think of the best all-around large luxury cars, my mind goes to the past. While the barges of the 60s and 70s didn’t have the performance capabilities of today’s lowliest car, that is what I think of when I think of large luxury cars. Something that can cruise down the interstate and not feel expansion joints. Something that you can steer with one finger and make someone carsick by rocking the wheel back and forth a little bit. Something that requires no thought about how to work things, aside from not being able to park straight because the parking lot isles are too narrow.

    The reality is that the large sedan has been replaced by the largish SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      “requires no thought about how to work things”

      That would be true luxury. Unfortunately, the more luxurious the car, the more gimmicks and gadgets get stuffed into it. And ain’t none of it free.

  • avatar
    Fred

    You are not going to impress anyone with a upscale Hyundai. Try an upscale Toyota at least people will think you bought a reliable luxury car. For maximum status it’s the big S-class. Reliability be damned because you are only leasing this bad boy.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The current Avalon has many reviewers saying how much it reminds them of a Lexus, but saying it in a tone that indicates they can figure out why they would spend more for an ES350 when the Avalon exists.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        I don’t disagree, but in the this class (expense) of car, value has nothing to do with it. For those of us who struggle with 60g+ cars we can find many cars that offer about 90% of the luxury for about half the cost.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      For people who know cars (actual enthusiasts) – would impress them more w/ an “upscale Hyundai” (Genesis) than an “upscale Toyota” (Lexus) – as all of Genesis’ models have the proper lux RWD/longitudinal layout whereas the biggest sellers for Lexus are “tarted up” FWD/transverse Toyotas.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “the proper lux RWD/longitudinal layout”

        Just because it isn’t a “biggest seller” for Lexus doesn’t you still can’t buy one from them.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Lexus doesn’t do RWD CUVs and in all likelihood the GS will be discontinued.

          And according to the latest report, Lexus is stretching out the life of the current IS (like they did w/ the LS460) and doing a 2nd refresh.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I feel like the S and 7 have gotten… baroque, for lack of a better word. The interiors are sumptuous but really easy to make Too Damn Much.

    The A8 wins on interior but loses points for not having RWD proportions. The G90 loses on top-end tech (nifty third-person camera views, for example) and configurability (no picking from fifty shades of leather and paint) but wins on proportions, value, lux-mission-focus, and being a simultaneous middle finger to people poorer than you *and* people richer than you, which I figure has got to be worth something.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “The Best All-round Large Luxury Sedan in 2020?”

    ANY premium trim pickup from Ford, GM or Ram.

    Oh, they aren’t on the list.

    Sales volume indicates that the public has chosen!

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    “The Best All-round Large Luxury Sedan in 2020?”

    The GMC 1500 Denali CrewCab Shortbed 4X4 halfton pickup truck.

    Close second?

    The RAM 1500 4dr 4×4 two top line trims with the 5.7L V8 and air suspension.

    The one to buy?

    For me, personally, that would be the Tundra 4dr 4×4 Platinum or 1794 with the 5.7L V8. I don’t mind dated. I like comfort with an overabundance of smooth V8 grunt.

    Gawd! Who buys sedans anymore. This is 2020.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I love this talk… helps drive down the used car pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        jkross22, now that the Phase 1 trade deal with China has been signed, I expect the used-car market to raise pricing as demand will increase because of economic optimism (as reflected by the stock markets passing 29K and the VIC going up).

        If in need of a four door sedan, it is my belief that the 2020 Camry LE is the best all-around deal in my area as reflected by pricing at vescovotoyota.com.

        Lotta happy campers at those prices.

        Of course the Camry LE is not a luxo barge, but it is decent transportation.

        Maybe there are some great deals in your own area so that you don’t have to buy USED and get something brand new with a decent factory warranty.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “expect the used-car market to raise pricing as demand will increase because of economic optimism”

          Oh Lord no, last thing which is needed is to squeeze the proles with more inflation. Wholesale is at least 30% overvalued on average, now.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later: “Wholesale is at least 30% overvalued on average, now.”

            As usual your industry knowledge is outstandingly accurate. You really are a car guru.

            Now that the USMCA has become law (for the US) the local dealerships are expecting just that – an even greater demand for used cars, much of it driven by the demand of Mexican Nationals to buy late model used cars to take back to Mexico.

            Today I received a letter from a local super large dealership in the mail asking me if I had a less-than-ten-year-old vehicle I wanted to sell, and I was promised top dollar for it.

            I didn’t have any.

            Prices are going to go up higher. Some dealerships in my area are even reaching out to other dealerships in other states to buy some of their select (slow moving) stock.

            Lotsa money to be made, especially in the border lands.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @HDC – the Ram air ride sucks in cold weather. It freezes up rather frequently.

      But yes, who buys cars anymore?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Lou_BC, I didn’t know that ” the Ram air ride sucks in cold weather. It freezes up rather frequently.”

        My #2 son in San Diego, CA, just bought a brand new one while on a trip through Colo Sprgs, CA, after returning from Aspen/Vail, CO. The emissions requirements in CO are even stricter than those in CA so registration and licensing was not a problem. Taxes were. Much higher in CA where he is a resident.

        I forwarded your comment to his email but don’t think temps will be a problem since San Diego, CA, usually stays in the 70-depree range, year ’round.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Too bad the whole truck feels like it was designed *in* 1794.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      You’re joking, but just know that yesterday Cars.com named the 2020 Ram 1500 “Luxury Car of the Year.”

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    I just don’t get the Genesis love. Every single time I see most Hyundai/Kia products, I have this image in my mind of a design room filled with a wall of other cars, and the designers pick and choose parts of designs from other cars and make a car out of it. There isn’t anything original or daring about most of their designs, and when they push the envelope, you get the Veloster.
    If I’m in that price range, I don’t want washed out photocopies of other cars, I want the real deal. I don’t want to see a Lincoln profile with Volvo taillights, and Audi switchgear. I say the same thing about the Telluride – how that is getting gobs of love for being a Bangkok market full of stolen ideas and knockoffs.
    I get it – you can get a lot of car with a lot of features for less. But there are some serious heavy hitters in that list, like the Maserati, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, and they are the original, real-deal cars, not a design and technology knockoff. Until I see something original and daring from Hyundai/Kia, I’ll never understand the accolades and awards heaped on them.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “I don’t want washed out photocopies of other cars, I want the real deal”

      Assuming you are correct about H/K designs (with which I totally disagree), you’ve implicated yourself as a badge shopper, not a content shopper.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      You are either into the badge or you’re not and if you are, you think it’s worth it.

      Example: Look at the technology (which is what is now passing as luxury) in the Telluride and compare it to any of the German equivalents. Do you think the badge is worth double the price?

      I’m not making a judgement on what you value. There are a lot of people who agree with you plunking down large monthly payments to drive luxury vehicles. They seem to value the badge much more than I do and they’re willing to pay for it.

      Choice is a great thing.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      H/K/G have the most accomplished stable of auto designers, so highly doubt that they have to “photocopy.”

      Over the past decade, Kia has won more automotive design awards than any other brand.

      And what’s hilarious is that the head of design for all 3 brands (Luc Donkerwolke) and the head of Hyundai design (SangYup Lee) were both at Bentley when they called out Lincoln for “photocopying.”

      Only other time a lux marque has been publicly called out like that was Lexus (by Mercedes) for the LS430.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Sorry to disagree, but the Telluride is highly distinctive in design. And I bet many of their buyers like the upright, honed-block design that lacks the swoops and swirls that has permeated the industry in the last decade. The driving sight-lines are quite remarkable.

      Kia has it going on with a strong consistency in their family resemblance throughout their product line.

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        My comment had nothing to do with the badge on the hood. It has everything to do with an original idea and design. I criticize H/K/G not for what they stand for, but for what they do. In my eyes, they are always playing copy the leader. If Lexus and Audi put a large gaping maw on the front of their SUVs, well, so shall we, and in the same shape! I see flagrant copies of the Audi switchgear in the Genesis. There’s a lot of Lincoln and Volvo in that sedan shape and design.
        They CAN do something original. Yes, the Veloster, while original, can be as polarizing as a Civic, it shows that they can take a chance. The swoopy Sonata from 10 years ago. Even the Optima doesn’t look too much like a carbon copy of other vehicles. The current Sonata finally takes some chances with the strange strips down the hood. But their CUVs and especially their luxury vehicles look too much like other cars.
        The Europeans have their own language – you will not mistake a Land Rover or a Mercedes or an Audi or an Alfa Romeo for anything else. They have used that look for generations and fine tune it. Same with Jeep. Hell, even in the sad shape Nissan is in, they still gave up something as original as the Juke and the GT-R.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Money be damned, why bother with these boring sedans? Show your devil-may-care attitude towards life with a Range Rover Autobiography, equipped with accessory Stiletti & Atwell custom strap on hamper for that champagne picnic with milady in a remote forest glade. Just be sure to file a flight plan with the authorities prior to departure. The interior of that beast makes these pedestrian luxury cars feel like a Nissan Kicks — synthetic.

    If one is pedantically forced to choose a sedan in the beached whale class, a black BMW Siebener would be my choice in the screw the proles stakes. One can don a uniform and pretend to be a chauffeur for the ultimate in style, and use the huge back seat as a place to deposit one’s grocery purchases. Because one can. The 4.4 V8 twin turbo is imperious for the dash to Wholefoods or the country club and rich women love the uniform. As you would discover. A Hyundai Genesis or a classless Cadillac or Lincoln cannot set the tone, an Audi A8 is so rimless glasses Technik, and the Mercedes is merely ostentatious old man. Nobody buys the Lexus LS these days since it is an Akio flight of spindle fancy which few can claim to understand, let alone purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      conundrum: “Nobody buys the Lexus LS these days”

      An old guy on my block is on his THIRD LS (it’s his wife’s car and she is my wife’s AVON lady), so he must be “Mr. Nobody.”

      Way back when, he traded in his Olds Aurora in on a LS400. Keeps comin’ back for more. Lexus must be doin’ something right.

      But his own personal transportation is, you guessed it, a 2019 RAM Laramie 4dr. And that is only because he has turned his back on anything GM since it died in 2009, including the GMC Denali.

    • 0 avatar
      thomasbeagle

      “…an Audi A8 is so rimless glasses Technik, and the Mercedes is merely ostentatious old man.”

      Perfect!

  • avatar
    NeilM

    A couple of years ago I’d booked us a black car airport pickup in Europe that turned out to be a very current S Class. It had been years since I’d ridden in one, and it was flat out glorious. Comfy, quiet, smooth, quick enough (can be made more than quick enough with AMG), bank vault build quality, lovely interior. I have no idea which engine was in it, probably a diesel — but you couldn’t tell from the noise, because there wasn’t any. Nothing says Class with a capital C like an MB S class. It’s *the* way to arrive in discreet style.

    That said, once of the nicest car interiors I’ve ever seen was in a friend’s Panamera.

  • avatar
    vvk

    I have not driven a G90 but a few years ago I test drove a Hyundai Equus. It was a very windy day. I drove my BMW 550i to the dealership and there was almost no wind noise. On my test drive I was shocked by the amount of wind noise I was hearing in the Equus. Night and day difference.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    No question: Alpina B7 in that beautiful blue paint, with the large classic Alpina wheels. I don’t care what else is in that category, were I to have the funds I’d head straight to the nearest BMW dealer for a custom order on a B7.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Tesla Model S. Let’s be real.

    • 0 avatar

      S class Benz. You are either a Captain of Industry or World Leader. Nothing else has that presence.
      Caddy and Lincoln will be in the better burbs, but as short leases, and you never see the last generation model, unless the kid took it to school.
      Big BMW or A8 ? Do you live in Austria ? Is the import business doing well ?
      Korean cars ? Close, but not yet.
      Tesla ? You are a kool aid drinker, and hopefully got a good one, or you will tell everyone you did…despite the car’s merits.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        I live adjacent to possibly the nation’s wealthiest suburb. You’re on the money, for 2012.

        It used to be like so. Old money had an S-class. Smart money had an LS4something. Grandpa who just retired here from the management class in Detroit had an American boat. Euro expats miiiight have an Audi or BMW if an S-class made them frown and mutter about being too “conspicuous.” That one guy with the chain of Korean restaurants drove a Genesis. And their wives all had Range Rovers.

        All those guys have a Model S instead now. Well, not all. Grandpa’s dead, that one muttery European found something German and turbodiesel, the smart money figures it would be prudent to wring one more year out of the LS4something, and that one prick from the oil business switched to a Denali to make sure you’re aware he’s choosing to burn dinosaurs. But all the rest: Model S.

        And their wives still have Range Rovers. The Model X whitechocolatespaceegg was too soft and maternal for the haute haughty hotties.

        • 0 avatar
          volvo

          Yep! it really matters where you live.

          Certainly in the SF bay area the current luxury car du jour is the Tesla S. If you have a mountain cabin then there may be a Sequoia in the garage.

          If they don’t want to be ostentatious then I have seen this demographic driving a high trim Camry or Avalon hybrid.

  • avatar
    Fleuger99

    The Genesis G90 looks terrible. The headlights look like Volvo copies, the rear looks like the old Infiniti Q45 and we won’t mention the 90’s wheels design. No way I’d ever pay $70K plus on this.

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