2018 Lexus LC ・ Photo by Lexus
Our definition of "hot" is somewhat flexible, depending on the car. Some are hot sellers, and some are hot lookers. Of course, there are more than just ten coming onto the market — we could have gone nuts and mentioned cars like the new generations of Bentley Continental and Rolls-Royce Phantom, but we decided to keep things within reach of more buyers. (Love that Bentley, though.) You're bound to have your own favorites, but this is our eclectic selection within the parameters of “luxury cars.”
Enjoy our list of the 10 hottest luxury cars for 2018.
The avid automotive tech-heads are no doubt waiting for the 2019 Audi A8 to come out, but this new twist on the A4 sedan should sell like crazy. Just as the A7 is a kind of sleek hatchback based on the midsize A6, the A5 Sportback scales that idea down to the premium compact realm.
Even though a marketing man’s nose grows half an inch every time he uses the term “four-door coupe” the A5 Sportback is handsome enough to rise above such jargon. The regular A5 has a perfectly willing 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but the devilishly tempting S5 has a 354-hp turbocharged V6. Both versions have a versatile yet refined interior.
Photo by Audi
The CT6 is not completely new for 2018, but this model year offers some cutting-edge technology: Super Cruise. It’s the feature that allows a driver to (temporarily) let go of the wheel and relax the right foot while driving on a freeway. It uses sensors, radar, GPS, and a memory bank full of maps to work out where the car is and where it’s heading. It can move the steering in sync with the gentle curve of the lane.
Super Cruise is an option (bundled in with an adaptive suspension) in the mid-level Premium Luxury trim or included as part of the range-topping, bells-and-whistles Platinum trim. Beyond this semi-autonomous technology, the CT6 is a well-rounded luxury sedan.
Photo by General Motors
Last month, the G80 out-sold the larger Genesis G90 by about three to one. That’s kind of expected, since the G80 is the less expensive of the two. Being a mid-size premium sedan, it also has dimensions more convenient for a greater number of buyers.
But both cars have a superb equipment-to-cost ratio, including a full array of advanced safety features as standard. Then there are perks like the free service valet for three years (or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first). Try going for something German and then attacking the options list to the same level as a G80 and you might need a new calculator. And a better-paying job.
Photo by Genesis
To be honest, the all-new 2018 Jaguar E-PACE subcompact crossover will probably be the hotter seller between these two. But the Sportbrake is a new variant on the XF compact premium sedan. The name is a play on the term “shooting brake” which is an old-fashioned (but usually high-class) word for wagon.
Perhaps the reason why Americans turned their backs on wagons is that they didn’t look so special. The attractive XF Sportbrake appears capable of flipping that script. As well as a hot 380-hp supercharged V6, the Sportbrake has all-wheel drive as standard and a self-leveling air suspension at the rear.
Photo by Jaguar
Yes, technically the Velar is not a car, it’s a crossover. But despite all the off-roading hardware Land Rover puts into each of its products, most Velars will no doubt only be tackling the kind of terrain that wouldn’t challenge a Mazda MX-5 Miata. So if it’s going to be used as a car, we’ll call it one.
It’s also a brand-new model from Range Rover, competing in the premium compact class. The Velar is big and spacious for its category. It uses the same foundation as the excellent Jaguar F-PACE, which is also cleverly packaged for the footprint. Tastes will vary, but a strong point is the overall design, both inside and out.
Photo by Jaguar Land Rover
After languishing in the luxury car backwaters for several years, the LS flagship sedan enters an all-new generation for 2018. And it’s really moving the game on. Attention to detail is the kind of attribute that separates luxury cars from mainstream offerings. In the LS, this attention becomes an art form. The interplay of lines, shapes, and textures is something more likely to be found in a high-end architect’s office than a car.
A hybrid version, the LS 500h, also goes beyond what the motoring public has seen from Toyota/Lexus. It includes a complex (but no doubt efficient and durable) transmission that combines a conventional automatic with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) more often found in hybrids.
Photo by Lexus
Double entry for Lexus, but a large coupe based on the new LS that looks this hot is surely sufficient justification. The Lexus approach to styling is often greeted with careful descriptions like “distinctive” and “polarizing.” But the LC is arguably the most successful outcome of that approach so far.
Driving-wise, the regular version has a 471-hp 5.0-liter V8 with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which sounds like it should be quick. (There’s also a hybrid variant.) But this is a flagship coupe, better suited to relaxed cruising than frenetic corner-carving. So that power is more along the lines of authoritative thrust for overtaking lesser vehicles. And plenty of vehicles will feel “lesser” by comparison.
Photo by Lexus
No matter what the year is, the S-Class is always hot. It tends to outsell all its rivals combined, even when it’s approaching the end of a generation. Updates for 2018 endow the so-called entry-level engine — a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 — with 362 hp (in the S450, a new name badge for 2018). And there are new more powerful engines going up the range.
The rest of the car remains a showcase of automotive technology, including a “health and wellness” feature that combats driver fatigue. The S-Class encompasses sedan, coupe, and convertible (Cabriolet) body styles, including some high-performance AMG variants. So there should be something for everyone who can afford it.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz Media
The regular Panamera is one thing, the new-for-2018 Sport Turismo is another. Instead of the usual hatchback style to the rear end, this version manages to do two things: It enhances the car’s practicality while simultaneously adding to its visual impact. It might even be argued that this is the most handsome of the two styles. That rear aperture is made all the more useful by a low floor, for ease of loading.
Naturally, the Panamera Sport Turismo still has driving abilities worthy of the famed Porsche badge, and it also offers a high-power hybrid drivetrain in the 680-hp Turbo S E-Hybrid model. This looks like an exclusive car, even among Porches.
Photo by Porsche
It hasn’t been intentional, but there’s something of a theme weaving through this list of 10 hot luxury cars for 2018. Think about it: Audi A5, Jaguar XF Sportbrake, Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, and this. Yes, wagons, a style of car that has often been the very opposite of hot.
Not here, though. Every wagon-like car mentioned has the talent to amuse, delight and perform many duties. The regular V90 is a treat for the eyes and other senses (the cabin is simply sumptuous), but we thought we’d focus on the Cross Country version since it offers all-wheel drive as standard, extra ground clearance, a slightly raised driving position, and a degree of SUV attitude.
Photo by Volvo