Automakers are rolling out some impressive new luxury cars and SUVs for the 2018 model year. Most will be available before 2017 ends. Some provide sumptuous comfort and the latest driving technology, while others offer legitimate luxury for less than $45,000—or in one case, a near-luxury experience for just a little more than $25,000.
Here’s a look at eight compelling luxury cars and SUVs that are debuting as part of the 2018 model year or that have been completely redesigned for 2018, plus one luxury car that reached showrooms earlier this year as a late addition to the 2017 model year…
New Luxury Cars
Luxury-like experience for less than $30,000: Buick Regal. The Regal has been completely redesigned for 2018, and the results are impressive. Two body styles are offered—the Sportback (pictured), which walks the line between hatchback and midsize sedan, and the TourX, which is essentially a wagon, even though Buick has tried to label it a crossover. Don’t be put off by the utilitarian labels “hatchback” and “wagon”—the new Regal is decidedly upscale. Its ride is smooth and refined the way luxury-car buyers like it. Its styling is sleek and handsome—the Regal looks right at home parked among Audis and Volvos. Its turbocharged two-liter, four-cylinder, 250-horsepower (hp) base engine rivals the base engines of much more expensive competitors such as the Audi A4. There’s a healthy amount of cargo and passenger space, particularly in the TourX, which is available with optional all-wheel drive. The 2018 Regal, which will reach showrooms this autumn, is a lot of car for the money. Starting price: $25,915 for the Sportback…$29,995 for the TourX.
Rival to the BMW 3 series from an unexpected source: Kia Stinger. The BMW 3 series has long been the obvious choice for car buyers who want a small sedan offering both luxury and stellar rear-wheel-drive handling. But now the famed BMW 3 might finally have been caught—and surpassed in value—by Kia, which up to now has been known for economy cars, not luxury sports sedans. The all-new Stinger looks like a German luxury sports sedan inside and out, and it handles like one, too. The base two-liter, four-cylinder engine delivers 255 hp, while an optional 3.3-liter V6 produces 365 hp. Pricing has yet to be announced but is expected to be thousands less than that of comparably equipped BMW 3s or Audi A4s. Cost of ownership should be lower, too, thanks to Kia’s excellent warranty and build quality—Kia recently ranked first among all automakers in JD Power’s Initial Quality Study. The Stinger comes up short in only one significant way—its Kia badge might not impress your neighbors. The Stinger should reach showrooms by the end of 2017. Starting price: Expected to be between $30,000 and $35,000.
All-wheel-drive luxury sedan with the handling of a classic rear-wheel-drive sports sedan: BMW 5 series. A completely redesigned version of the iconic BMW 5 series luxury sedan reached showrooms in February as a late addition to BMW’s 2017 lineup. If you’re looking for a midsize luxury sport sedan that’s responsive and engaging to drive, this latest 5 series is once again the car to beat. Particularly notable is that the new 5 series is available in all-wheel drive in addition to the traditional rear-wheel drive—and incredibly, the all-wheel-drive version manages to effectively mimic the 5-series’ famed rear-wheel-drive driving dynamics. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants the 5-series experience but also all-wheel drive for when the roads are slick. It’s fast enough with its base 248-hp, two-liter, four-cylinder engine…and even more so with the optional 335-hp six-cylinder. It’s well-equipped with the latest tech, including “gesture control,” which lets drivers do things such as adjust the stereo volume and answer phone calls by making hand gestures in the air. Starting price: $52,195. (20 mpg city/31 highway)
All-wheel-drive luxury convertible: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet. The new convertible version of the Mercedes E-Class sedan offers an impressive amount of comfort and technology. It also avoids some common convertible complaints. Unlike most drop tops, wind buffeting is a virtual nonissue…there’s plenty of room for two adults in the back seat…and the top opens and closes quietly and quickly—in less than 20 seconds. Also, unlike most convertibles, it will be offered with all-wheel drive in addition to the standard rear-wheel drive. Like the other cars in Mercedes’ fabulous E-Class line, it’s loaded with the latest tech, including an excellent 12.3-inch optional touch screen and a vibrant, easy-to-read digital gauge cluster. The twin-turbocharged three-liter V6 delivers 329 hp. It should reach showrooms by the end of August 2017. Starting price: Expected to be between $60,000 and $65,000.
Head-turningly beautiful luxury coupe: Lexus LC 500. Lexus has long been known for making luxury cars that are reliable, comfortable, refined—and boring. The automaker has been working hard to shed that boring image, and the two-door LC 500 coupe is a leap in the right direction. This car inspires passion when you drive it or even when you glimpse it—pedestrians often pull out their phones and snap its picture when it pulls up to a light. Combine that sex appeal with the interior refinement, reliability, quiet cabin and smooth-as-silk drivetrain for which Lexus is known, and the result is a tremendously good car. This is a powerful car, too—the base 471-hp, five-liter V8 can launch the LC 500 to 60 miles per hour in less than 4.5 seconds. It’s already available. Starting price: $92,995. (16 mpg city/26 highway)
New Luxury SUVs
Latest safety tech in a compact luxury SUV: Volvo XC60. The XC60, Volvo’s top seller, has been completely remade for 2018 with bolder styling, more refined handling and more interior space. It also offers the best standard high-tech features of any car in its class. In keeping with Volvo’s reputation, much of this tech is safety-related. This includes the “City Safety” system, which does more than just automatically engage the brakes when it senses a potential collision—it can automatically steer you to safety as well. What is a bit surprising for a Volvo SUV is that the XC60 offers fun-to-drive handling. The base two-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 250 hp, and optional larger engines can produce up to 400 hp. All-wheel drive is standard. The new XC60 should reach showrooms this autumn. Starting price: $41,945.
Sexy Italian compact luxury SUV: Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The all-new Stelvio doesn’t have the Volvo XC60’s safety technology or the Audi Q5’s class-leading refinement—but what it does have is plenty of Italian flair inside and out. It’s worth considering if you’re looking for a compact luxury SUV that’s distinctive, eye-catching and extremely engaging to drive. Being behind the wheel of the Stelvio is more like driving an Italian sports coupe than an SUV—its light weight and low center of gravity contribute to some of the best handling in the category. The Stelvio’s base two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine supplies 280 hp. Deep-pocketed buyers can upgrade to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which features a Ferrari-developed 2.9-liter, 505-hp V6. Starting price with base engine: $42,990. (Pricing has not been announced for the Quadrifoglio version, but expect it to cost tens of thousands of dollars more than the base model.)
Full-size SUV that sets a new standard for luxury: Lincoln Navigator. The completely redesigned 2018 Lincoln Navigator has an interior so roomy, comfortable and sophisticated in its styling that it sets a new standard for SUV luxury. Its restyled exterior is aggressive, flamboyant and decidedly upscale. The 3.5-liter, 450-hp EcoBoost engine provides plenty of power. Starting price: Around $73,000.