2017 Jaguar XJ front grille ・ Photo by Jaguar Land Rover
What makes a car impressive? Is it the impact it has on the outside world—or the feelings it stirs within the people who own it and drive it? We feel the answer is a bit of both. Here are 10 cars that will impress both the people who drive them and the people they drive by.
Few cars ooze prestige like a big, stately Mercedes-Benz, and when a big S-Class glides up to the curb, all eyes that happen to be gazing in that direction are bound to wonder what VIP will emerge from its leather-lined cabin. Mercedes makes the S-Class in sedan, coupe and convertible forms, and its hard to say which is the most impressive—they all look fantastic. And the image is not just skin deep: All S-Class variants are lavishly appointed and offer the latest technology Mercedes has to offer, everything from night-vision cameras to perfumers that scent the interior. No question, this is one of the most impressive cars you can buy.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
James Bond was supposed to be a secret agent, but if he really intended to keep his identity concealed, he should not have driven an Aston Martin. These classic British sports cars are visually stunning, and even a person who doesn't know anything at all about automobiles is bound to stop, turn, and admire the beauty of their sheet metal. Though it's hard to pick the most impressive Aston, we'll go with the new DB11, a stunning sports coupe that is beautiful both outside and in. The leather-wrapped interior makes even the most humble occupants feel special, and the engine note and exhilarating driving experience turn every trip into an adventure.
Photo by Aston Martin
If you still think of Hyundai as a cut-rate car manufacturer, you're going to be seriously impressed by the new Genesis G90. Flagship of the company's new Genesis sub-brand, the Genesis is a big, leather-lined luxury yacht that envelops its occupants in a cocoon of luxury and silence and wafts them along in gentle comfort. As an option, the G90 offers reclining rear seats, which add an element of luxury rarely found in sedans. There's only one clear reminder of the G90's South Korean roots, and that's the price: The Genesis G90 lists for tens of thousands of dollars less than its German competitors. If you haven't seen what Hyundai is doing lately, we think you're going to be incredibly impressed by this new luxury car.
Photo by Genesis
Large and in charge: That's the Cadillac Escalade ESV, an extended-length version of Caddy's fullsize Escalade ESV (and, if one wants to be a bit more crass about it, a glorified Chevrolet Suburban). This is the big SUV in which elected officials and high-up corporate execs ride, while their armed guards flank them in more modest Chevrolet Suburbans. The Escalade certainly looks the part, with its imposing stance and big chrome grille, and the leather-lined interior impresses occupants as much as the exterior impresses passers-by. And its work ethic is equally impressive: If you need a luxury suv to tow a big boat or a heavy travel trailer, the Escalade ESV is the one you want.
Photo by General Motors
Alfa Romeo is just now making its return to the United States, and the brand is probably unknown to a large number of Americans—but to those who know cars, the Alfa badge is legendary. The new Giulia remains true to the brand as the Alfisti (as brand fans are called) remember it: Memorable styling inside and out, and a thrilling, sharply-honed driving experience that will be equally impressive to anyone lucky enough to sit behind the wheel. The Giula is quick, agile, and a lot of fun to drive. Even those who aren't among the Alfisti are bound to be impressed by this handsome 4-door.
Photo by Alfa Romeo
Hollywood stars, sports heroes, and the day-to-day well-to-do love the Range Rover, and why wouldn't they? This is one of the most impressive SUVs you can buy, and for many reasons. The Range Rover impresses from first sight, with its elegant lines and dreamy interior. It drives beautifully, with a quiet demeanor and surprising agility given its large size and heavy weight. And should you choose to venture past where the pavement ends, you will be seriously impressed by its off-road abilities—this is one of the most capable SUVs on the market, with electronic driving aids that turn off-roading into child’s play. Even more impressive is the overall feeling one gets behind the wheel: This is a vehicle that is more than the sum of its parts.
Photo by Land Rover
With so many high-powered cars on the market today—we're talking about horsepower levels that far exceed the muscle cars of the 1960s—it's pretty hard to impress today's die-hard gearheads. But the Dodge Challenger Hellcat does it, with a massive 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 707 horsepower, a number that is unmatched in all of the automotive industry, including many purpose-built racing cars. The Hellcat is a serious car best suited to experienced drivers; rubber tires simply cannot maintain their grip on the road with so much power coming through the rear axle. But if you get the chance to drive one, we'll guarantee you'll be impressed... and probably terrified, as well.
Photo by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
The Jaguar XJ is a luxury car for those looking to impress themselves rather than the outside world. The lines of the sheet metal are smooth but understated, so that the Jag can slip through traffic with just the briefest of admiring glances from fellow motorists. But from the inside, the driver is bound to be impressed by the cabin's visual design, which has an organic flow more often seen in architecture than moving vehicles. Material quality is top notch; the Jag doesn't have that assembly-line-commodity feel of some of its Asian competitors. And the driving experience is lovely: The XJ seems to glide along in unobtrusive silence. The XJ lacks some of the high-end tech features of its German and Asian competitors, but it also lacks the astronomical price. If you're shopping for a big luxury car, the XJ is a must-see—it's bound to impress.
Photo by Jaguar Land Rover
This big 2-door coupe is one of the most exclusive cars on the planet, and well worth its outrageous price. Even the doors of this huge car are impressive—they hinge at the rear, and a Wraith with its doors open looks like nothing else. (Of course, they close electrically at the touch of a button—we couldn't have milady reaching too far, now could we?) And should there be precipitation outside, you'll find an umbrella concealed in the forward edge of the door. (Pesky English weather!) Inside, the Wraith is lavishly decked out in leather and wood, with a celestial pattern on the headliner. The Wraith drives smoothly and majestically, and is bound to draw stares from passers-by who may only see a Wraith once in their entire life. Impressive? The Wraith elevates the concept to a whole new level.
Photo by Rolls Royce
Lamborghinis are among the most recognized sports cars in the world, and anyone who had a Countach, Diablo, or Murcielago poster on their walls growing up will instantly recognize the design DNA in the new Huracán. This is a proper Lamborghini through-and-through (albeit one imbued with Audi DNA): Its 5.2-liter V10 engine develops up to 602 horsepower, and it is deceptively fast—this car will jet to 100 km/h (62 MPH) in less than 3.5 seconds, and yet it feels as if it's barely moving. And the sound? Oh, man, there's nothing like it. If you can deal with the Huracán's tight cabin and astronomic price, this is a car that is bound to make an impression.
Photo by Lamborghini