Ever since the world’s finest luxury ships competed to set trans-Atlantic sailing records, luxury and speed have been inextricably intertwined, and some of the fastest cars you can buy hail from luxury marques. Here are 10 cars that combine equal parts of speed and grace.
10 of the Fastest Luxury Cars
Photo Credit: Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Italian marque Alfa Romeo is just now making their return to the United States, and they’re making a big splash with the sexy new Giulia. All Giulia versions are quick, but if you want serious speed, you’ll want to check out the Giulia Quadrifoglio: 505 horsepower from a twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, capable of getting to 60 mph in well under four seconds and accelerating to a top speed of 190 mph. And the Giulia Quadrifoglio is fast in the turns, as well, with incredibly responsive quick-ratio steering. This Italian beauty is perfect for those in a serious hurry.
Photo Credit: Audi
Audi RS 7
We love the profile of Audi’s A7, S7 and RS 7 series: Its long, low lines remind us of European touring cars of the 1960s. We could sit and just stare at the car for hours. But this list isn’t about cars that sit; it’s about cars that go, and that’s what the RS 7 does. The new Performance version packs a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that puts out 605 hp and propels this sexy hatchback to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (that’s Audi’s claim; we expect the car will prove to be quicker in the real world) and on to a top speed of 190 mph. And as for luxury, yep, there’s plenty of that. The RS 7 is packed with useful high-tech gadgetry that sets Audi apart from other luxury brands.
Photo Credit: BMW
BMW Alpina B7 xDrive
Many know of BMW’s M-Series, but it seems only hardcore Bimmer fans know about the B7 Alpina, the fastest derivative of their big 7-Series sedan. The latest version gets a 600 hp version of BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 and the xDrive all-wheel drive system, which is enough power to get this big sedan to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. With enough pavement stretched out in front of it, the Alpina B7 will reach 193 mph. And yet it retains all the dignity one expects of a 7-Series, with a posh interior that provides space and comfort suitable for royalty and heads of state.
Photo Credit: Cadillac Media
Ever since the first version came out in 2004, we’ve been big fans of the Cadillac CTS-V. Some cars on this list are luxury cars with big engines; the CTS-V is really a fast car with some luxury attributes, with performance always taking priority. The latest version, introduced just last year, is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that puts out 640 horsepower and launches the CTS-V to 60 mph in just over 3.5 seconds. Top speed is an even 200 mph. The CTS-V is loud, brash, and a force to be reckoned with both on the track and on the street. Now, we don’t want you to get the idea that the CTS-V is devoid of luxury trappings; it is nicely and elegantly appointed, but its primary mission is to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible—and preferably on a route with lots of challenging curves.
Photo Credit: Jaguar
Jaguar F-TYPE SVR
The F-TYPE is another car we fell in love with at first drive. Imagine a car that jets like a Ferrari, bellows like a Corvette and coddles you like a proper Jaguar, and, well, that’s the F-TYPE. The top-performing model is the new SVR, which gets a 575-horsepower version of the F-TYPE’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8. Jag claims a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph for the coupe version, and if you want to feel the wind in your hair, the convertible version of the SVR will let you do that at 195 mph. Best yet, the F-TYPE delivers all of this performance while you literally sit in the lap of British luxury, in a leather-lined cabin that practically reeks of pedigree and refinement.
Photo Credit: Lexus
Lexus LC 500
One of the newest cars on this list is the Lexus LC 500, a stunning coupe that is just now reaching dealerships. We love the show-car looks of the LC 500, but this is also a serious performance car, with a 5.0-liter V8 that delivers 471 horsepower to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. Lexus claims a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 168 mph. We’re also intrigued by the hybrid—despite having just 295 hp under the hood, it makes the 0-60 sprint in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph. It uses a high-tech hybrid transmission that emulates the 5.0-liter car’s 10-speed transmission and delivers a soundtrack that would do a Formula One racing simulation proud.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
What the heck is a big, stodgy Lincoln doing on this list? Well, there’s no question that the all-new Continental is a proper luxury car, albeit one cast in the in the old-school, pillow-soft, wood-and-leather mold. And yes, it’s fast—in fact, if you opt for the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, it’s ridiculously quick. Lincoln calls it “Effortless power,” and they aren’t kidding: This engine puts out an even 400 hp and 400 lb-ft, enough to launch the big Connie to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds. But what really generates grins is the right-now nature of this engine’s power delivery: It cruises smoothly and quietly, but the second you prod the accelerator, it takes off like the proverbial startled rabbit. Imagine strapping a couple of jet engines to your living room, and you’ll know what it’s like to drive the new Continental.
Photo Credit: Maserati
Power is best when it’s accompanied by sound and fury, and that’s what the Ghibli delivers. Its 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 is assembled by Ferrari, and they must have had something to do with the acoustics, because the noise that comes from this engine is an aria to a gearhead’s ears. And along with that sound is plenty of fury: The Ghibli S Q4 jets to 60 mph in around 4.7 seconds, but we bet most buyers will want to paddle-shift down to second gear and listen to the bellow of the engine. And as for luxury, the Ghibli delivers that, too: Its leather-swathed interior is uniquely Italian.
Photo Credit: Land Rover Media
Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
This list is about fast luxury cars, but we had to include one fast luxury suv—and it is indeed very fast and very luxurious. The Range Rover Sport SVR shares its supercharged 5.0-liter V8 with the aforementioned Jaguar F-TYPE SVR; the engine is tuned for 550 horsepower, which is enough to get this big 4x4 to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. And yes, this is a proper 4-wheel-drive Range Rover, with the ability to conquer terrain that mortal SUVs could not take on. Range Rover demonstrated this to us by having us drive through a challenging off-road course, then on to a ramp to hose off the mud, then straight onto a racetrack for a couple of fast laps. We never left the driver’s seat. Incredible!
Photo Credit: Volvo
Volvo S60/V60 Polestar
Before reading this article, you had probably heard of BMW’s M-Series cars, Audi’s RS models, and Mercedes’ AMG division, but we bet few people are familiar with Polestar, a performance company that specializes in tuning Volvos and was purchased by the Swedish automaker in 2015. The 60-series Polestar cars—S60 sedan and V60 wagon—have been around for a while, but Volvo has just revamped them with a unique version of its Drive-E engine. This 2.0-liter 4-cylinder superhero uses a turbocharger and a supercharger to deliver 362 hp, enough to get the S60 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds with the wagon just 0.1 seconds behind. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. Naturally, these fast Swedes are best enjoyed in Polestar blue paint.