Luxury cars may represent the ultimate statement of their owner’s stature, but they’re more than that. A luxury car is oftentimes the most comfortable, refined, and technologically sound way of owning a vehicle. They come at a price though, which is the main reason only one in ten vehicles across the globe are luxury ones. It’s practically impossible to change such a trend – especially overnight – but improvements have been felt in recent years. They’ll be felt even more in the future, and in that light, we’ll now focus on the best upcoming 2021 luxury cars.
As mentioned above, the global luxury vehicle segment accounts for less than 10 percent of the entire car market. However, things are looking up for the more expensive brands as projections showcase a compound annual growth rate of 5.83 percent between 2019 and 2024. For starters, the luxury vehicle segment offering has been expanded in recent years, and increased disposable income of prospective buyers doesn’t hurt either.
Yet, some detrimental factors like newly imposed import tariffs go a long way in hindering the luxury segment’s expansion.
Mercedes-Benz stands out as a global leader on the luxury car market with a market share of some 16 percent. The Stuttgart-based car manufacturer is closely followed by its Munich-based arch rival, while the rest of the pack queues behind.
Let’s now take a look at some of the best luxury vehicles 2021 will have to offer. Both the conventional internal-combustion and electric cars have been taken into account, and so have both the passenger cars, and crossovers and SUVs.
08. 2021 Mercedes-Benz S Class
The S Class has been, is, and will be the epitome of luxury, refinement, and tech savviness for quite a while. The all-new seventh-generation Mercedes-Benz S Class is scheduled to make its debut during MY 2021 and prototypes are already busy driving around and testing the new platform and technology alike.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S Class will be built upon a new platform, but it’s still expected to retain its overall shape while receiving new frontal and rear fascias in the process. There’s one exterior detail that the outgoing models didn’t have – the retractable door handles.
Interior will be completely overhauled as well, with large display taking upon itself most of the new flagship model’s infotainment duties. There’s still no official confirmation, but the W223 S Class is expected to continue its predecessor’s proud tradition and propel at least one of the all-new advanced tech features once it finally arrives.
As far as its powertrain lineup is concerned, the next-gen S Class will start out slowly in 2021 and hit a full stride (read AMG) in 2022. The initial offering should consist of a 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six as a base and a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 as an improvement engine choice. The former pairs with a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist system and develops 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, while the latter produces 463 ponies and 516 lb-ft at the moment, but should be able to squeeze out more by then.
The W223’s camouflage is expected to drop in the coming months, while deliveries are expected to commence in late 2020 as 2021-year models. A slight increase in price shouldn’t come as a surprise, but entry-level models should still start from below the psychological $100,000 margin. The same can’t be said about any other model within the Mercedes-Benz S Class range, however.
07. 2021 BMW 7 Series
The flagship Mercedes-Benz wouldn’t have become what it is today hadn’t there been for the flagship BMW lineup of sedans. The BMW 7 Series has, unlike the flagship Merc, already undergone significant makeover and is available for order in its new state as of Fall 2019. However, this is still only a mid-term facelift albeit a rather significant one.
The 2021 BMW 7 Series carries over basically unchanged from 2020 as the next-gen models probably won’t arrive prior to 2022 or 2023 at the latest. The mentioned facelift has provided prospective BMW 7 Series owners with a huge new grill which takes no prisoners. Whoever sees you behind it, will know the story outright. Arching roofline and sharp but elegant lines give impression of sportiness, but don’t forget that the 7 Series weighs almost 5,000 pounds.
Inside, the redesigned BMW 7 Series resembles much more refined Rolls Royces, and it drives like one too. Its air suspension and adaptive dampers are as soft as they come. At the same time, the flagship BMW sedan also boasts a number of advanced driver’s aids – all standard from the get-go.
Three engines of different sizes have been selected to move the 5,000-pounder around. At the lower end of the lineup, the 740i models use a 3.0L twin-turbo straight-six with 322 horses and 332 pound-feet of rotational force. The 745e models combine a 3.0L turbocharged straight-six engine with an electric motor and a 12-kWh battery pack for a combined output of 389 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, it also provides up to 35 miles of range on electricity alone which is no mean feat for such a heavy and powerful car.
The more conventional BMW 7 Series models utilize either a heavily reworked 4.4L twin-turbo V8 (750i) or a good old 6.6L twin-turbo V12 (M760i). The former now makes 532 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque which is 80 ponies and 74 lb-ft more than before. The latter still makes 600 ponies and 627 pound-feet of twist but we won’t hold that against it.
The base BMW 740i starts from $87,500 and undercuts its biggest rival, while the plug-in hybrid 745e costs $96,500. The 750i xDrive requires $103,500 to begin with, while the range-topping BMW M760i costs a whopping $158,500.
06. 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed
The new fastest SUV in the world probably won’t be able to keep that title for long considering how the ultra-luxury performance SUV market is in rapid expansion at the moment. Still, there’s no reason not enjoy one of the best ultra-luxury SUVs while its still in its prime and MY 2021 represents just that for Bentley’s best-selling model.
Available since 2016, the large luxury SUV has transformed the way an automaker of Bentley’s caliber is operating. Although it’s probably time to think about a major makeover, the Bentayga is as fresh now as it was when it first came out. The Bentayga Speed doesn’t change that formula one bit, and why should it? The stylish crossover only gets a roof-mounted spoiler to differentiate it from the rest of the pack. Among the remainder of sporty cues typical for a high-performance luxury car. That, and revised suspension and different exhaust tuning.
Inside, the Bentayga Speed gets plenty of Alcantara leather and carbon fiber veneers which are both synonymous with performance cars. Other than that, it keeps the conventional model’s layout and arrangements which doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
The engine behind the fastest of Bentley SUVs is the same 6.0L twin-turbo W12 available in the most powerful conventional models, but not without revisions of its own. Compared to the regular W12-powered Bentayga, the Speed version develops 26 additional ponies, raising the total to 626 horsepower. Maximum torque remains unchanged at 664 pound-feet.
This is enough to skim two tenths of a second from the conventional model’s 4-second 0 to 60 mph sprint, while the Bentayga Speed also maxes out at 190 mph – 3 mph more than the non-Speed model.
All this comes at a price though, as the 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed costs almost $236,000 before extras, taxes, and mandatory destination charges. Whether it’s worthy of such an exorbitant price tag or not, the Bentayga Speed is one of the best 2021 luxury vehicles around.
05. 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
After the recent debut of the long-awaited Taycan sedan, all eyes turn to the Cross Turismo version of Porsche’s first ever all-electric car. The a-la-Panamera elevated version of the EV aims to complete the more conventional passenger car EV lineup for the iconic German brand before they switch to producing all-electric crossover in a mission of further electrifying their lineup.
The 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo will ride on the same J1 platform as its 4-door sedan sibling. A mixture of steel and aluminum, the underpinnings in question allow for a full integration of EV technology. Design-wise, the Cross Turismo, expectedly represents a blend of the Taycan sedan and oddball Panameras. In fact, the Panamera itself can be obtained in both the Sport Turismo wagon and more conventional liftback sedan forms.
Interior will be much like the one from already presented Porsche Taycan and more in-tune with the Porsche design language as exterior design somewhat wanders off in that regard. Unique to Taycan is the next-gen dashboard with multiple built-in touchscreen displays including a 16.8-inch gauge cluster. This setup will take the Porsche infotainment to a whole new level.
Much like it was the case with the regular Taycan, the Cross Turismo is also expected to start off with the most powerful Turbo and Turbo S forms. These use two electric motors (one upon each axle) and a 93.4-kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack neatly tucked away at the back in order to provide as much as 670 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque or 750 horses and 774 lb-ft respectively.
All subsequent models will offer less power and likely more range in the process. Speaking of which, the Turbo and Turbo S versions should be able to offer as much as 260 miles or a little below 250 miles of range on a single charge. The next-gen 800-volt ultra-fast charging is available as well.
The 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo will likely arrive in late 2020 as 2021-year model with prices starting from north of $150,000 for the Turbo models. Even the base units arriving later probably won’t be available for less than $100,000.
04. 2021 Audi A8
The flagship Audi sedan has been fully redesigned for MY 2018 and became available in the U.S. the following year. Although the four ring brand isn’t planning on giving it a mid-term refresh treatment in 2021, they will give it a whole new flagship sub-brand of its own – the Horch.
The fourth-generation Audi A8 doesn’t stand out from the crowd when exterior design is concerned. It’s barely distinguishable from its smaller A6 sibling but you’ll notice the difference once you take a peak inside.
Speaking of which, the next-gen A8 boasts an impressive amount of space for passengers and a corresponding level of interior refinement. Perhaps not as lavish as its Mercedes-Benz S Class counterpart, the A8 still manages to find a middle ground between refinement and technology that’ll undoubtedly pleas even the most demanding of luxury car buyers.
The forthcoming ultra-luxury 2021 Audi A8 Horch is expected to take the flagship sedan’s refinement to a whole new level – one the four ring brand has never yet experienced. Aside from a number of optional goodies like rear seat screens and/or even massaging seats becoming standard, the newest addition to the A8 lineup will also boast more lavish materials and some unique details of its own.
The engine lineup behind the largest of Audi sedans consists of a standard 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 engine with a mild-hybrid assist and an optional 4.0L twin-turbo V8 for extra grunt. The former makes 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, while the latter produces 454 hp and 442 pound-feet. Both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive systems.
The upcoming A8 Horch could adopt the VW Group’s 6.0L twin-turbo W12 engine with around 600 horsepower but that’s still an uncharted territory. The regular A8 sedans start from just under $84,000 prior to extras and destination fees, while the ultra-luxury models are expected to warrant twice as much once they finally arrive in 2021.
03. 2021 Genesis GV80
The first-ever SUV from the South Korean luxury brand will be available in 2020 with 2021 models following up without significant changes. Although it represents only the beginning of Hyundai premium division’s push into the SUV segment, the GV80 will remain the largest and most refined of their crossovers.
Already presented as a concept car and caught testing in the wild, the GV80 is expected to be built on the G80 sedan’s platform in order to accommodate rear-wheel drive architecture and distance itself from the front-wheel drive Hyundai SUVs like Santa Fe and the all-new Palisade. The production model should resemble the concept car to some extent, but in a more adequate form. It should adopt a more angular and streamlined design than the concept, first and foremost.
Although it won’t be as lavish as its German counterparts, the Genesis GV80 will still offer a sound interior with high quality materials all over the place. The same goes for advanced technology, end especially the advanced driving aids which should be available in abundance.
Much like the platform, the G80 sedan and GV80 crossover will share powertrains as well. Expect the base engine to be a 3.8L V6 with 311 horsepower and a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 to serve as an optional unit. The latter produces 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. This is all a mid-size luxury crossover could ever want, but there’s also a possibility the Koreans will stuff a 5.0L V8 in it. The brawny V8 generates 408 ponies but doesn’t go hand in hand with the improved fuel efficiency strategy every automaker strives to achieve nowadays.
Although all GV80’s will be standard with the rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive will be available as an option across the range. Expect the Genesis GV80 to make its debut in late 2019 with its sales commencing sometime in 2020. It will also undercut its direct competitors by a few thousands at the very least, making it one of the most affordable luxury cars in its class. This it must do if it wants to successfully compete with some of the best 2021 luxury cars.
02. 2021 Rolls Royce Ghost
The ultimate luxury brand doesn’t really have the pressure of updating its portfolio on a consistent basis considering it competes in a league of its own. In that retrospect, the 4-door entry-level Rolls Royce Ghost hasn’t been properly updated since 2010 but all that is about to change during MY 2021 when the next-gen model is scheduled to arrive.
The 2021 Rolls Royce Ghost will retain its predecessor’s overall shape, albeit with a few more curves in its body. It’s also lower and wider than the outgoing model which gives it a more imposing stance. The most important bit in this makeover is the sedan’s platform, however. The aluminum spaceframe has already been seen in the new Phantom and Cullinan models, and should serve the new Ghost well for years to come.
Inside, the next-gen Rolls Royce Ghost also adopts the Phantom’s and Cullinan’s design. A fully digital instrument and a widescreen infotainment clusters are only a part of that strategy. The new Ghost should also adopt the next-gen connectivity and driving aid features which is the least one can expect from such an expensive car.
Power still comes from a 6.75L twin-turbocharged V12 mill which cranks up 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox which routes all that power to the rear, the new Ghost should be able to hit 60 mph from a standstill in under 5 seconds in spite of its 5,500 pounds of weight.
The next-gen Rolls Royce Ghost is expected to be presented at one of the major auto shows in 2020 with sales commencing later in the year. The new entry-level Rolls Royce sedan probably won’t be available for anything less than $325,000, but almost every Rolls owner is expected to splash out much more than that on extras and custom upgrades. Quite a lot even for the ultimate luxury car, but the new Ghost won’t be one of the best 2021 luxury vehicles for nothing.
01. 2021 Cadillac Escalade
The largest luxury vehicle from GM has large shoes to fill since Lincoln has really upped the ante with the new Navigator. The fifth-generation models are coming to address that apparent issue, and they’re coming in 2021.
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will ride on an aluminum-rich T1XX body-on-frame platform which is underpinning the remainder of the GM full-size fleet which are also going through a significant makeover process. Aside from weight savings, the next-gen model will incorporate an independent rear suspension setup for improved ride comfort and handling alike. Again, this is the case across the entire body-on-frame SUV lineup within GM’s portfolio.
Interior will be as refined as ever, but take a more modernist approach from now on. All infotainment duties will from now on be sourced through a large curved display sitting atop the dashboard. Expect all the latest connectivity features standard from the get-go, and an abundance of advanced safety gear available as well. Also, a shifter has been relocated from the column to the center console where it belongs.
The next-gen Escalade’s powertrain lineup is arguably the full-size luxury SUV’s most interesting segment. It would appear that the luxury SUV will offer more than just a 6.2L V8 in 2021. The mentioned engine currently makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, and although it’s expected to carry over, it should also be joined by a 4.2L twin-turbo V8 with more than 500 ponies on tap. What’s more, GM seems to be preparing a hybrid variation of the Escalade, but that one probably won’t be ready in time for model year 2021.
All Escalades are mated to contemporary 10-speed automatics and feature a choice between rear and all-wheel drive. The fifth-gen models should come from under their wraps at one of the major North American auto shows in 2020 with sales commencing later the same year, and prices starting from somewhere under $80,000.