We’ve driven them all. Now it’s time to choose the best! The 2017 Digital Trends Car Awards pit the year’s strongest contenders in five different categories against each other, and crown an overall Car of the Year.
The best luxury cars in the world aren’t just cars, they’re aspirations. They serve to ferry people in comfort, yes, but they’re also status symbols, technology showcases, and catalysts for neighborhood jealousy. But what makes a great luxury car? It’s that blend of style, tech, and opulence in a singular package, and we’ve picked three vehicles that emphasize that to a T.
Volvo has gone through a staggering transformation in the last seven years. Now free from Ford’s shadow, Volvo has carved out a new identity in the luxury car space, one where it can compete with Germans head-on and actually win.
The S90 is the perfect example of that. Handsome and refined from every angle, the S90 really gets everything right, from its incredible interior, to its comfortable seats, to its quiet ride, to its intuitive technology and impressive engine power. Volvo is a trend-setter in the safety realm as well, having added animal detection with automatic braking to the S90’s list of features. In one of the most competitive segments in the industry, the Volvo stands out in a big way.
Porsche Panamera Turbo
On the other end of the spectrum lies the Porsche Panamera Turbo, a luxury car that’s also a sports car. With a 550-horsepower twin-turbo V8 onboard, the Panamera was able to lap the Lime Rock track almost as impressively as our Performance candidates could, and yet, it’s one of the most tech-forward vehicles on sale today. Inside, you’ll find a customizable 12.3-inch touchscreen that houses a connectivity system called Porsche Communication Management, which controls Google Earth navigation, smartphone integration, traffic, news, flight information, and just about everything else you could want in a luxury car. There’s also night vision and a variety of safety aids on hand, so it’s no surprise the Panamera features more lines of code than a Boeing passenger jet. The future is now.
BMW 5 Series
While the S90 emphasizes comfort and the Porsche packs plenty of muscle, the BMW splits the difference to become our most well-rounded luxury player. The 5 Series simply does everything well, with agile handling, a comfortable ride, intuitive features, and a smooth powertrain coming together to offer a stellar all-around package. Specifically, the 540i has a mix of precision and elegance that is simply to die for, and the result is a vehicle that will undoubtedly make the 5 Series a luxury titan once again.
And the winner is…
The Volvo S90 wowed us at every turn this year. It doesn’t have incredible driving dynamics or a flashy personality, but rather the opposite, and we mean that as a compliment. The S90 does luxury in a classy, understated, and decidedly Scandinavian way, one where the stresses of daily life melt away as you climb inside and run your fingers over the open grain wood trim. It’s easily the best-looking of the bunch as well, so in terms of pure luxury and comfort, it was no contest.