American luxury cars used to embody huge interiors, acres of sheet metal, and comfortable suspensions that floated down the highway like a magic carpet behind a huge eight-cylinder engine. Fast-forward to the modern era and you'll find that American luxury cars have undergone a transformation that has seen them regain their competitive footing with the rest of the world's premium without sacrificing too much of their individual character. There are now luxury cars hailing from the U.S. in almost every conceivable niche, giving buyers at various price points and driving preferences the chance to get in on the domestic game.
Let's take a look at 10 American luxury cars that help to define the segment.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS updates the American luxury car concept by combining full-size comfort and style with the high tech features that modern premium buyers have come to expect. The Cadillac XTS is an all-new entry to the Cadillac lineup, and it brings with it the CUE entertainment and communications interface, an extensive list of available safety features, and a 3.6-liter, 304 horsepower V-6 engine. The XTS also gains GM's HiPer front strut technology that allows the front-wheel drive car to deliver better handling than its bulk might initially suggest, and it can also be had with the option of all-wheel drive for snow-bound northern customers.
American Luxury Cars - 02 - 2013 Buick Regal GS
The 2013 Buick Regal GS revives a vaunted name from the automaker's past and doesn't disappoint when it comes to following in the footsteps of its muscle car progenitor. The Buick Regal GS has been tuned to offer some of the best driving dynamics of any vehicle in its class, and it counts a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine as its power plant. With 270 horses and 295 lb-ft of twist on tap - and the availability of both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions - the Regal GS tempts sport sedan buyers looking to step outside the Acura or BMW paradigm.
American Luxury Cars - 03 - 2013 Lincoln MKS
The 2013 Lincoln MKS has been completely redesigned for the current model year in an effort to attract fresh blood to the brand's showrooms. The full-size Lincoln MKS offers styling that is unmistakable and it also provides the choice between a pair of V-6 drivetrains, with the EcoBoost model offering 365 horsepower and standard all-wheel drive (optional with the base model). The MKS is also notable for its extensive list of equipment even when ordered in base form, which is heavy on tech goodies and comfort gear. Spending more money on the Lincoln can see the installation of features such as an automatic parking system, massaging seats, and adaptive cruise control.
American Luxury Cars - 04 - 2013 Chrysler 300C
The 2013 Chrysler 300C offers V-8 rumble to go with its full-size sedan luxury. The Chrysler 300C harkens back to the letter cars of Chrysler's past, and opting for the Luxury Series edition of the car includes features such as nicer leather seats and Berber floor mats (for those who look for that level of detail in their daily driver). The best part of the 300C - apart from its super spacious cabin - is its 363 horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi eight-cylinder engine. Also capable of generating 394 lb-ft of torque, and found in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive editions, this mill allows the 300C to deliver excellent passing power.
American Luxury Cars - 05 - 2013 Cadillac CTS-V
The 2013 Cadillac CTS-V is by far the performance standout of the American luxury car scene. The Cadillac CTS-V takes the mid-size premium platform and beefs it up with a track-ready suspension system and the availability of Recaro seats to hug driver and passenger through the turns, and under the hood rests a whopping 6.2-liter, supercharged V-8 engine. The 556 horsepower and 551 lb-ft of torque it produces allows the CTS-V to reach 60-mph in just 4.3 seconds (when equipped with its six-speed manual transmission), which is quick enough to successfully face off against its AMG and BMW M rivals.
American Luxury Cars - 06 - 2013 Buick LaCrosse
The 2013 Buick LaCrosse might share its platform with the Cadillac XTS but it offers unique styling and a distinctly Buick interior that helps to differentiate it from its corporate stable mate. Also of interest to eco-conscious luxury buyers is the eAssist hybrid version of the car that serves as its base trim, delivering 182 horsepower and 36-mpg on the highway by way of a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine combined with a battery-fed electric motor. The LaCrosse can also be had with a more robust 303 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 that gives the car the guts needed to line up alongside large Japanese and Korean premium sedans.
American Luxury Cars - 07 - 2013 Lincoln MKZ
The 2013 Lincoln MKZ is another redesigned effort from Lincoln, this time aimed at capturing buyers new to the luxury car segment. The entry-level sedan wows with the MyLincoln Touch system and Sync, both of which make it a snap to interact with wireless mobile devices, and it also offers the availability of navigation, adaptive cruise control, collisions warning, and a host of other advanced features not always found at its price point. Power is provided by either a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder (240 ponies and 270 lb-ft of torque) or a 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated V-6 (300 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque). All-wheel drive is also in the cards as an option with either engine.
American Luxury Cars - 08 - 2012 Tesla Model S
The 2012 Tesla Model S isn't just a strikingly attractive mid-size luxury sedan - it's also a fully electric vehicle that finally offers the kind of real-world range that should make shoppers sit up and take notice. Priced at just under $60,000, the Tesla Model S can travel over 100 miles on a single battery charge, and it's available in a number of different configurations that deliver anywhere from 302 horsepower to 416 horsepower. The latter editions of the Model S are very quick, sprinting to 60-mph in roughly the same amount of time required by the CTS-V, but the Cadillac doesn't offer the option of a third row of rear-facing seating to increase its total passenger capacity to seven.
American Luxury Cars - 09 - 2012 Fisker Karma
The 2012 Fisker Karma is priced at over $100,000, which makes it one of the most expensive American luxury cars available. The Fisker Karma is intended to offer a coddling ride mixed with the kind of fuel economy that only a plug-in hybrid can deliver, but it also throws in lively performance to go with its exotic looks. The Karma's 32-mile electric-only range is complemented by a gas-powered four-cylinder engine that extends its operating radius once its batteries have been drained. Altogether, the gas engine and pair of electric motors that make up the sedan's drivetrain push out 403 horsepower and just under 1,000 lb-ft of torque.
American Luxury Cars - 10 - 2013 Buick Verano Turbo
The 2013 Buick Verano Turbo confounds expectations about small, front-wheel drive premium cars by offering an ultra-quiet ride, responsive handling, and the grunt that goes with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Buick Verano Turbo serves up 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, and while it might be a stretch to call it a sports sedan there's no question that the Turbo is much more engaging to drive than the entry-level version of the car. Interior styling is restrained, yet tasteful, and a navigation system can be added to the vehicle as an option.