Some well-known luxury cars have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that sneaks in under $100,000 (the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, for example), but by the time a few options have been added, then we’re safely into six figures. So let’s say 100 grand is the absolute ceiling and coming in well under that is preferable. But we still want style, technology, space and class. It can be done. And we will show you how, right now, with this lineup of 10 best luxury cars under $100k.
10 Best Luxury Cars under 100k
Photo Credit: Acura
2016 Acura RLX
How’s this for irony? Acura as a brand tends to be understated. It’s not the default choice for “look at me” types. But the most intriguing variant of the RLX (Acura’s flagship sedan) is the Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive version. Yes, this is a hybrid, with a V6 engine powering the front wheels while two electric motors motivate the rears. On top of that, rear-wheel steering brings extra agility at high speed and extra maneuverability at low speed. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that this model of the RLX redefines what a hybrid can be. The interior is also cleverly laid out to achieve optimum roominess. It starts at around $52,000.
Photo Credit: Audi
2017 Audi A6
When shopping for luxury cars under $100,000, a smart move is to downsize. Most folks really don’t need all the space a flagship sedan offers. Going for something like the A6 means still having plenty of room for people and things, gadgets aplenty, fairly nimble handling, and a gorgeous cabin, as well. All for $49,000 (or so) plus options. This top-rated sedan has been updated for the 2017 model year with tweaks to the styling and the infotainment systems, as well as launching a new sporty 3.0T Competition model with 340 horsepower and all-wheel drive as standard. The A6 is such a well-rounded and attractive car that anything bigger starts to look like a mere extravagance.
Photo Credit: BMW
2017 BMW 5 Series
The 5 Series always used to be more of a sport sedan, but the last couple of generations have seen it become more sophisticated and arguably softer (gasp) around the edges, handling-wise. A dynamic character remains; it just means being a bit more deliberate in getting to it. The seventh generation debuts as a 2017 model and it’s going to be special, partly because it’s based on the excellent new 7 Series platform — which uses aluminum and carbon fiber in its body shell. Pricing will be announced nearer launch time toward the end of 2016, but the current model starts in the low 50s, so expect something similar. This should be a car well worth waiting for.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2017 Cadillac CT6
This sedan doesn’t play the same size game as the Germans. The CT6 straddles the area between the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series, or Audi A6 and A8. Nevertheless, the packaging is sufficiently smart to provide plenty of passenger space; there’s even room for an optional Bose 34-speaker sound system (well worth it if you’re an audiophile). And it starts at a lower price than those larger rivals, making some option bundles more affordable. For example, the Active Chassis Package with a magnetic suspension, Night Vision, and the auto-dimming rearview mirror that becomes a widescreen monitor for the reversing camera look even more affordable. Pricing starts at around $54,500.
Photo Credit: Genesis
2017 Genesis G90
A big, well-stocked luxury car for relatively little cash, that’s the G90. As Lexus is to Toyota, Genesis is to Hyundai. Before now, there were the Hyundai Genesis cars, but now the brand stands apart with brand-new models built on dedicated platforms with 100,000-mile warranties for the drivetrain. Starting in the $69,000 range, standard kit is still generous even on the entry level model: heated/ventilated front seats, 22-way power adjustment for the driver, cameras covering every direction, parking sensors front and rear, wireless phone charging, and a Lexicon audio system. Don’t worry about any skimping on quality — either in the cabin or the engineering as a whole — because there is none.
Photo Credit: Jaguar Land Rover
2016 Jaguar XJ
It’s possible to get into a new Jaguar XJ for roughly $76,000. And that will be the only rough thing about driving this fullsize Jaguar sedan. At this rarefied level, every contender has a smooth ride and some can even get sporty to a degree. But the Jaguar has something extra special about its chassis. It can be utterly civilized, yet surprisingly fun when the occasion arises. In between those times, there’s always some new technology (digital instruments, touchscreen with swipe/pinch/zoom functions, adaptive cruise control, heated/cooled seats) to enjoy. Or just luxuriate in the quiet, good-looking cabin. Sales are only a fraction of what the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can manage, but that makes the XJ more noteworthy.
Photo Credit: Lexus
2016 Lexus LS 460
This generation of LS is becoming a little long in the grille, but it’s still a stalwart machine and a well-built, well-equipped, fullsize luxury conveyance. Here is a huge helping of comfort and convenience. It sounds almost like a put-down, but the LS is a car you don’t have to think about. Anyone who can afford around $73,500 for personal transport probably has a demanding career and would love a car that starts when it has to, stops when it has to, and does some cosseting in between. Having some appeal as a status symbol doesn’t hurt, either. The long-wheelbase version offers even more rear legroom and massaging seats.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
2017 Lincoln Continental
Toward the end of 2016, an all-new Continental (not derived from any pre-existing Ford model) will arise. The competition will be midsize premium cars like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series. Pretty intimidating, huh? But the Continental has some gadgetry available that could sway a buyer away from the European side. Such as a powered driver’s seat with 30-way adjustability. And self-opening doors; just grab the handle and little motors do the donkey work. Naturally, there are also features like adaptive cruise control and self-parking to go with the usual luxury appointments. No V8 engine option, but a twin-turbo V6 should be more than up to the job. The bottom line starts in the mid-40s.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Throughout its several generations, the E-Class has often been a highlight of the car world because it’s such a complete package. Engineering, safety, style, luxury, space and technology all hit the right notes to form a rich, lush chorus of automotive music. The fifth generation, completely new for 2017, continues this tradition by being one of the most technologically advanced cars available today. The company has gone even further down the road of autonomous driving, being able to “read” the condition of the road, and reacting accordingly. So around $53,000 for the introductory E300 model doesn’t seem too excessive. It comes with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that provides 241 horsepower. Not the usual luxury setup, but efficient and capable nonetheless.
Photo Credit: Volvo
2017 Volvo S90
Here’s another luxury sedan that occupies an area between the accepted midsize and fullsize dimensions. The tranquil S90 is based on the same platform as the well-regarded XC90 SUV and is therefore another product of the rejuvenated Swedish marque. The lines inside and out are clean and unfussy, yet still elegant and classy. Along with options like a crystal glass shift knob, the S90 offers (as standard equipment) Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous driving function, as part of an array of advanced safety features. Front-wheel drive is the basic setup, which starts at around $49,000, but all-wheel drive is available, as well as a 316-horsepower engine that deploys both a turbocharger and a supercharger.