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The luxury vehicle class encompasses any vehicle that emphasizes comfort and convenience features. While luxury cars may boast a high-performance engine, the ultimate focus is on offering a refined driving environment with a series of high-end devices, materials and features. Ultimately, placement in the class can be highly subjective and may vary depending on a particular automaker's specific definition and overall marketing strategy.

Common Features of a Luxury Car

In general, a car must meet three criteria in order to be classified as a luxury vehicle – high expense, superior comfort and increased prestige. As a necessity, luxury cars are substantially more expensive than non-luxury vehicles. This is largely a result of the refined features and vehicle technologies, but is at least partly due to the intangible increase in prestige that the vehicle affords. While no base price serves as an official boundary into the luxury vehicle class, the least expensive models tend to carry a base MSRP of at least $30,000. Common comfort features included in a luxury vehicle include leather seats, woodgrain accents and high-tech electronics. New technology innovations often debut on luxury vehicles prior to inclusion on non-luxury vehicles. For example, GPS navigation, keyless entry and driver memory systems all debuted on luxury vehicles before trickling down to less expensive vehicle models.

Luxury Vehicle Class Segments

Luxury vehicles vary dramatically in terms of price, comfort and prestige. As such, several luxury subcategories have emerged. Though each category is vaguely defined, they can roughly be described as the following: Entry-level luxury vehicles carry a price tag between $30,000 and $36,000. Examples include the Acura TL, BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G35. Mid-level luxury vehicles incorporate V8 or high-end 6-cylinder engines and cost between $36,000 and $60,000. Examples include the BMW 5 Series[,[ Audi A6]] and Jaguar S-Type. High-end luxury vehicles feature an MSRP between $60,000 and $100,000. Examples include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series. Ultra luxury vehicles typically cost more than $100,000. Examples include any Rolls-Royce or Maserati vehicle.

Luxury Automakers

The majority of luxury vehicles are manufactured by automakers who specialize in luxury cars and SUVs. Virtually any vehicle manufactured by the following automakers is considered a luxury vehicle: Acura Audi BMW Cadillac Infiniti Jaguar Land Rover Lexus Lincoln Maserati Mercedes-Benz Rolls-Royce Saab Volvo