Luxury cars and sedans provide the broadest look at what’s possible on the modern automotive market. Here in Detroit you’ll find anything from ultra-affordable compacts designed to please your budget all the way up to regal full-size four-doors suitable for hauling around royalty. The only real limit when it comes to luxury is how deep you’re willing to dig into your pockets, but even inexpensive offerings now come with a level of technology that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.
Let’s take a look at Detroit’s most intriguing and important luxury cars and sedans.
Remember the AMC Eagle? Or more recently, the Subaru Legacy Outback sedan from the 1990s? The 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country offers the same kind of rugged-looking, jacked-up styling and all-wheel drive capability as the Volvo XC70 Cross Country wagon, only without the added practicality of an extended cargo area. If this sounds a bit like a product niche no one was asking for, we tend to agree with you – although the argument could be made that the S60 Cross Country sedan is Volvo’s answer to the four-door crossover ‘coupes’ that have been emerging from Germany. Power is derived from the same 2.5-liter, 250 horsepower five-cylinder turbo engine that motivates the standard S60 sedan.
Photo by Megan Green
Jaguar’s newest entry in the midsize luxury market, the 2016 XE sedan, is making its North American debut in Detroit after a global reveal this summer. Wearing the skin of a scaled-down XF sedan, the XE will be an important model for Jaguar if the brand is serious about chasing volume. The reveal is noteworthy because the XE will be Jaguar’s latest attempt at capturing buyers of the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class since the ill-fated X-type of the last decade. The XE will be offered with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, some from the current XF, as well as manual and automatic transmission options.
The entire 2016 BMW 6 Series lineup—coupe, convertible and four-door “Gran Coupe”—gets a robust mid-cycle refresh for the new selling season, but continues to offer impeccable lux credentials as well as, in the new M6, performance ratings that include 560 hp and a 4.2-second 0-60 time.
Having replaced the G37 sedan with the technological tour de force that is the Q50, Infiniti’s next move is to inject style into its midsize luxury offerings. The two-door Q60 Concept is designed to give Infiniti passionate styling language to boot. This concept coupe has a low, wide stance, as well as a grille reminiscent of the one on the recent Q80 Inspiration concept car. We like the shapely surfacing and flowing lines, and want not for any hard, flat surfaces on its exterior. The interior is equally stunning, featuring diamond-pattern stitching on the leather interior and the full suite of InTuition technology that debuted in the Q50. Models like the Q60 Concept are part of the brand’s plan to reshape its identity by 2018.
The 2015 Hyundai Genesis marks a big step forward in the evolution of Hyundai's stab at luxury sedan credibility. The full-size Genesis has not just the styling but also the poise to make a legitimate claim on would-be Mercedes-Benz and Lexus customers, and it packs a significant technological punch when it comes to features and equipment. You can choose between either a 311 horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 or a 420 horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 when ordering the Hyundai, and the six-cylinder model also offers the option of all-wheel drive.
A more modest four-door from Hyundai is the Sonata, which has also been given a thorough going-over for 2015. The Hyundai Sonata's styling might be more muted than it was in the previous generation, but interior quality has been notched up, hand-in-hand with improved ride comfort. Under the hood there are a trio of four-cylinder options for the Sonata: a 2.4-liter, 185 horsepower unit, a 2.0-liter turbocharged motor good for 245 horsepower, and a 177 horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that pairs with a special seven-speed automated manual transmission for enhanced fuel efficiency.
The 2015 Kia K900 dares to ask what would happen if value was as important in a flagship sedan as performance, style, and luxury? Despite being priced at tens of thousands less than most of its rivals, the Kia K900's high quotient of comfort gear, enormous cabin, and powerful 420 horsepower, 5.0-liter V-8 engine hit all of the right notes for premium shoppers. There's also a six-cylinder version of the K900 on the way with a 3.8-liter mill that will produce 311 horsepower for those interested in better fuel mileage. Overall, the K900 looks and drives like a much more expensive automobile.
The 2015 Subaru Legacy indicates just how serious the automaker is about moving past niche status in the mid-size sedan segment. In addition to re-styling the Legacy, Subaru has invested in the automobile's interior to the point where its infotainment systems and trim now feel on par with those of its competitors. All-wheel drive of course remains the focal point for the sedan, but the Legacy goes all-CVT for 2015 for both its 175 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and its 3.6-liter, 256 horsepower six-cylinder upgrade. The result is better fuel mileage across the board.
The 2015 Toyota Camry goes all-in on style, providing us with the most aggressive-looking edition of the best-selling sedan in North America to date. Comfort and quality are still the catchwords for the Camry, which means it's not quite as sporty to drive as it looks. Fortunately, its legions of repeat buyers aren't looking for adrenaline but rather practicality, efficiency, and value, and that's also part of what the Toyota delivers. Power remains steady in the Camry, with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder offering 178 horsepower and an available 3.5-liter V-6 contributing 268 horsepower.
The 2016 Audi A6 looks similar to the model that precedes it, but that's because most of the changes made to the mid-size luxury sedan have to do with its mechanical bits. Aside from a mild styling refresh, the Audi A6 benefits from a more powerful range of engines, including a 252 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, a 333 horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6, and a 450 horsepower, turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 in the sporty S6 (a TDI turbodiesel model remains available, too). Audi has also enhanced the car's complement of safety and high tech equipment, and you can get all-wheel drive with all models.