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 8-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 US 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.
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1) 2016 Cadillac XTS
The 2016 Cadillac XTS updates the American luxury car concept by combining fullsize comfort and style with the high tech features that modern premium buyers have come to expect. The Cadillac XTS brings with it the CUE entertainment and communications interface, an extensive list of available safety features, and a 3.6-liter, 304-horsepower V6 engine. A twin-turbo version of that same engine is also available, boosting horsepower up to 410. 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.
Photo Credit: Buick
2) 2016 Buick Regal GS
The 2016 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 4-cylinder engine as its powerplant. With 259 horses and 295 lb-ft of twist on tap — and the availability of both 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions, as well as optional all-wheel drive — the Regal GS tempts sport sedan buyers looking to step outside the Acura or BMW paradigm.
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3) 2016 Lincoln MKS
The 2016 Lincoln MKS is a fullsize sedan that offers unmistakable styling and it also provides the choice between a pair of V6 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.
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4) 2016 Chrysler 300
The 2016 Chrysler 300 comes with a 3.6-liter V6 in base form, but this upscale American sedan also offers V8 rumble to go with its fullsize luxury. The best part of the 300 — aside from its super-spacious cabin — is its 363-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi 8-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 300 to deliver excellent passing power.
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5) 2016 Cadillac CTS-V
The 2016 Cadillac CTS-V is by far the performance standout of the American luxury car scene. The Cadillac CTS-V takes the midsize 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 V8 engine. The 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque it produces makes the CTS-V quick enough to successfully face off against its AMG and BMW M rivals.
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6) 2016 Buick LaCrosse
The 2016 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 stablemate. 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, 4-cylinder engine combined with a battery-fed electric motor. The LaCrosse can also be had with a more robust 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 that gives the car the guts needed to line up alongside large Japanese and Korean premium sedans.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
7) 2016 Lincoln MKZ
The 2016 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 4-cylinder (240 ponies and 270 lb-ft of torque) or a 3.7-liter naturally-aspirated V6 (300 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque). All-wheel drive is also in the cards as an option with either engine.
Photo Credit: Tesla
8) 2016 Tesla Model S
The 2016 Tesla Model S isn't just a strikingly attractive midsize 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 $70,000 to start, the Tesla Model S can travel over 240 miles on a single battery charge, and it's available in a number of different configurations that deliver anywhere from 315 horsepower to 532 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.
9) 2016 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe
While the Cadillac ATS Coupe was introduced last year, the high-end CTS-V trim is all new for the 2016 model year. It’s based on the ATS compact sedan, which offers a lot of luxury packed into a small package with great handling. Power comes from a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine, which can be paired with either an 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. Output is a hearty 464 horsepower and 445 lb-ft of torque.
10) 2015 Buick Verano Turbo
The 2015 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.