2017 Mercedes Benz CLS CLASS COUPE profile ・ Photo by Mercedes-Benz
The sedan is the Platonic Ideal of cars. When I ask you to picture a car in your head, you’re almost certainly seeing a sedan – a long hood, followed by a cabin with four doors and a trunk. It’s not the flashiest layout – that distinction goes to the coupe – but it is practical and can be quite beautiful in the right hands. Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, and you may not agree with our choices. But we see a lot of cars, and these are the ones that catch our eyes on a regular basis.
Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 of the best looking sedans of 2017.
The newest sedan on our list, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, has arrived in the US with a big splash. It all starts with that snout. The Alfa Romeo “Trilobo” triangular grille opening is distinctive and attractive, rising as it does above the big horizontal air intakes. The arrangement of the grille and air intakes, along with the headlights, create a very expressive face for the Giulia. The low roofline swoops down to a short flat trunk lid, and big taillights bleed from the trunk along the outer quarter panel. Twin round exhaust pipes peek out through the rear fascia. Giulia drips with cool, Italian style and promises a snorting good time.
Photo by Alfa Romeo
Audi design has long been influenced by Bauhaus, a German school of art and industrial design that emphasizes “total work.” This clean, crisp aesthetic permeates the 2017 Audi S6. From the big open frame grille at the front along the crisply lined side body to the tidy rear end, S6 is all business. Signature LED daytime running lights can elicit gasps of admiration when they are switched on. S6 conveys a sense of competence and drive through its powerful appearance. Though it’s not politically correct to distinguish automotive designs as male or female, S6 reads decidedly masculine, could be considered as a handsome sedan, and is certainly one of the best looking sedans of 2017.
Photo by Audi
Bentley has made some of the best-looking sedans of all time during its long history. The 2017 Bentley Mulsanne represents the latest in the big sedan family. The big upright signature grille is flanked by big round headlights and topped with a sculpted flying “B” hood ornament. An impossibly long hood leads to a raked windshield. Big wheels fill the arches, and a flat snub trunk finishes the picture. Mulsanne rises higher on the wings of Bentley’s superior fit and finish, with lustrous paint and brightwork and deliciously smooth body panels with perfect gaps. This is automotive construction at its highest levels, and that makes Mulsanne one of the best-looking sedans on the planet.
Photo by Bentley
The latest expression of Cadillac’s sophisticated, angular design language, the 2017 Cadillac CT6 is an audacious and gorgeous sedan that takes bold chances and hits it big. Starting right up front, one of the biggest Cadillac crests ever proudly announces the CT6’s arrival at the center of the big grille opening. Boomerang-shaped LED headlights are highlighted by big, bright, linear LED daytime running lights. A bulging hood with three creased speed lines give a sense of muscularity. A rising shoulder line leads from the front fender all the way back to the taillights, lending an impression of forward motion in opposition to the rearward slope of the back glass. A flat deck lid with integrated spoiler finishes off the rear of the car.
Photo by Cadillac
If we were only examining the silhouette of our subject sedans, the 2017 Dodge Charger would still be in the running for best looking sedan. A model of Retro-Futurist design, which has as its hallmark the updating of classic design cues to modern uses, the Charger hearkens back to the height of the muscle car era of the mid-1960s. It literally oozes strength and power, and promises roaring performance by virtue of its shape and design. With the right powertrain, Charger delivers. What elevates the sedan even further is its signature LED lighting, which outlines the headlights and taillights to dramatic, attractive effect. Follow a Charger at night, and we dare you not to utter the single syllable of highest praise: “Cool.”
Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Design Director, and his team have remade the company’s lineup over the past few years. They’ve done such great work that we could have chosen any one of the three sedans in the lineup for this list, but we chose the flagship 2017 Jaguar XJ because of its gorgeous daylight opening. The daylight opening, or DLO in design-speak, is the area defined by the side glass on a sedan. XJ’s long dome-shaped DLO is crisply defined by a chrome surround that makes it look like the roof floats above the car with no visible support. It’s a gorgeous feature on a gorgeous car, and just one of the many rewarding design features on this premium fullsize sedan.
Photo by Jaguar Land Rover
The compact 2017 Lexus IS is hands-down the best looking sedan in the Lexus lineup, and a bold expression of Lexus’s design language. The controversial “Spindle Grille,” which has now been appended to the whole lineup, really fits the IS perfectly, giving it a face that seems eager to devour the road. IS’s body bends and creases are extremely crisp, directing your eye along the body and allowing the light to give dimension and depth to body panels. The effect fools the eye into perceiving bulging, muscular wheel arches. The hood slopes and matches the curve of the grille, further enhancing the integration of the parts. Lexus’s high levels of fit and finish impress, even from a distance.
Photo by Lexus
Mazda’s flagship sedan represents the full expression of the company’s KODO: Soul of Motion design language. More than any other sedan on our list, the 2017 Mazda6 captures the essence of movement in solid form, even when standing still. It is easy to imagine that the body panels and lines have been formed by the movement of wind across the surfaces. The Mazda6 flows smoothly back from the company’s signature open-mouth grille, up to the peak of the roof and back down toward the tail section of the vehicle. Mazda6 rewards with great proportions, a sporting stance and tasteful ornamentation. The most striking body line runs from the top of the front fender into the front door, a complex feature that is pure motion and grace.
Photo by Mazda
Don’t be fooled by Mercedes-Benz’s claim that the CLS is a “Coupe,” because it isn’t. It is by definition a sedan, with four doors and a trunk. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class borrows traditional coupe styling cues, like frameless doors and a sweeping profile. It has a very muscular stance, hinting at power and performance with assertive fenders and wheel arches. The low sloping roof gives the feeling of stability and compactness, while the top-of-the line Mercedes-Benz touches like LED headlights, a diamond-block grille and 18” or 19” wheels, exude elegance and sophistication from end to end. Add a special “designo” paint color, and CLS becomes not only one of the best looking sedans of 2017, but a personal expression of its owner’s personality and soul.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
Volvo vehicles flirt with the line between popular and premium vehicles, and the new 2017 Volvo S90 sedan is a gorgeous flagship that makes an argument for the premium designation. S90 has a great face, with a concave grille that bears the Volvo Iron Mark emblem proudly at its center. LED headlights are bisected by a very cool LED signature daytime running light that Volvo calls “Thor’s Hammer,” a clever nod to the brand’s Scandinavian heritage. Sleek side body styling and big wheels make S90 look powerful and fast. A gorgeous premium paint color, Mussel Blue Metallic ($595) looks best on the S90, bringing a cool Swedish blue tone to the fullsize sedan.
Photo by Volvo