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Battle of the Luxury Brands: Who’s Looking the Best for 2016?

2016 is still quite a ways away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start previewing some of the top brand’s new vehicles for the model year. If we’re going to start previewing 2016 vehicles, why not start with everyone’s dream vehicle: the luxury sedan.

Many of the 2016 vehicles haven’t been released yet, but we’ve slowly been getting reports regarding the vehicles’ specs, exterior design and interior features. That helps give us a basic idea of the car’s features and capabilities, and that subsequently means we can sort them into arbitrary categories!

There’s not enough information to crown one of the vehicles below the king of the 2016 class of luxury sedans. However, we can at least start to get an idea about which cars will be turning heads in the next couple of months. As you head down to your local Pennsylvania Lexus dealer, keep some of the cars below in the back of your mind. Maybe you’ll come across a vehicle that we should be adding to our list…

New Features: Cadillac CT6

2016 Cadillac CT6

The full-size sedan is the newest member of the Cadillac line, and the company has made sure that each part of their vehicle is “new.” Utilizing the brand new model-designation nomenclature (as described by Laura Burstein of RobbReport.com), the exterior will feature “a softer interpretation of the brand’s signature angles and strong vertical lines.” Cadillac has also included a new chassis and aluminum body, as well as new LED accent lights near the headlights.

The CT6 also stands out for it’s specs, especially it’s class-leading 3,700-pound curb weight. There’s the option of three different engines: the 2-liter turbochagred 4-cylinder (capable of 265 horsepower), a 3.6-liter V-6 (capable of 335 horsepower) and the 3-liter twin-turbo V6 (capable of 400 horsepower). There’s also whispers that the brand will add a plug-in hybrid that will “be sufficient for most daily commutes.”

Finally, the interior is exactly what you’d expect from a luxury vehicle. There’s massaging seats (seriously), a whopping 34-speaker Bose Panaray audio system, and a video system that records both the front and back of the car while driving.

Coming out early next year, the estimated starting price is around $70,000.

Comfort: Audi A8

A8

Despite being one of the lightest luxury sedans, the Audi A8 is also one of the powerful. How is that possible?

The exterior is made of aluminum, making the car significantly lighter. Combine the low curb weight with any Audi’s two engines (the 3.0-liter V6 that delivers 333 horsepower, 328 ft-lbs of torque and a 19/29 miles per gallon city/highway or the 4.0-liter V8 that delivers 435 horsepower, 444 ft-lbs of torque, and a 18/30 miles per gallon city highway), and you’ve got a fast, powerful car.

The longer body also makes for a much more comfortable ride. An abundance of leg room and head room means you and your passengers will never be uncomfortable. Of course, the luxurious interior doesn’t hurt, either. There are heated and massaging seats, an automatic climate control system, a rear seat entertainment system and a 19-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system.

Add those features to the navigation and entertainment system (which relies on the company’s MMI system), and you’re looking at one of the most luxurious, comfortable rides on the market.

Style: Mercedes-Benz S-class

Benz

This car was marketed to “customers for whom status is important” (as MotorTrend.com pointed out), and I think that target group will recognize their car-of-the-future when they lay their eyes on the 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600. If you compared the standard S-Class to a speed boat, imagine the Maybach S600 being a yacht. That’s not to discredit the standard vehicle, which is still an excellent luxury car. Instead, it’s to highlight how good their variation actually is.

The car has been stretched out a bit (7.9 inches to the wheelbase, to be exact) and that’s increased the legroom from 6.5 inches to 12.8. It appears that most of the exterior is composed of chrome (which is partly true), and the body sits on top of exclusive 20-inch “Maybach-like” wheels. This is truly a car that makes heads turn.

Of course, as the Maybach S600 shows off what it’s truly capable, you’ll likely get some additional head turns. The car is equipped with a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine that produces 523 horsepower and 612 ft-lbs of torque. There’s also the standard seven-speed automatic transmission, and the car is estimated to accelerate to 60 mph in five seconds.

And of course, the interior is as high-tech as you could hope. MotorTrend.com describes the inside as an “extravagant living room,” including “copious amounts of wood and chrome,” Nappa leather, and an IWC analog clock. There’s also the Burmester high-end 3D surround sound system, the Agarwood perfume-spraying air-balance system, and (believe it or not) handcrafted champagne flutes.

Speed/Handling: BMW 7-series

BMW

When the 2016 model was introduced in early June, BMW focused on the vehicle’s incredible 250-pound weight loss. That left the luxury sedan with a “perfect 50-50 weight distribution” (as described by Michael Ballaban of Jalopnik.com), and it means the vehicle’s V8 engine will be capable of producing 444-horsepower and accelerating from zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds. Needless to say, this car is fast.

When you’re not having fun cruising down a road, you can utilize the car’s improved entertainment system. A single swipe of the finger will get you where you need to go, and infrared cameras means you can adjust the audio or reject a phone call with the wave of your arm. There’s also a remote parking system, which essentially means you can leave the car and it will park itself. Yes, the future truly is here.

Considering the speed and amenities, the BMW handles very well for a luxury sedan. There are five driving modes (the Eco, Comfort+, Comfort, Sport and Sport+) to choose from, each offering their own adaptive handling in certain climates and situations. This task is made considerably easier, as the vehicle will recognize the road, the GPS coordinates, and your driving style to determine which mode is best for you.

Design: Maserati Quattroporte

Maserati

Maserati teamed up with the Italian luxury fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna to make their latest luxury vehicle: the Quattroporte. This means that every inch of the vehicle will be covered in top-of-the-line materials. For instance, passengers will be sitting on leather seats produced by Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau, while the door panels will feature the “world’s highest-graded silk” (according to John Coyle of MotorAuthority.com).

There aren’t many reports of any specs for the car, but we should expect to see a V6 bi-turbo engine, and the car should feature the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The 2014 Quattroporte was capable of producing 404 horsepower, so we should expect an upgrade over that.

While the Maserati broke their all-time high with 36,500 units sold last year, Coyle says the company is hoping for more than 50,000 units this year. That won’t matter much in regards to the Quattroporte, as it’s expected to be released in early 2016. However, the company’s sales will still have an impact, as Maserati could temper the price as they try to appeal to a wider range of buyers.

 

As you can tell, it’s difficult to determine which of these vehicles will be leading the pack in 2016. Regardless, we have a better idea of which cars will at least be in the race for the title of best luxury sedan.

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