Just when you thought the CT6 couldn’t get any better, Cadillac released a new flagship version called the CT6 V-Sport. Under the sedan’s beautiful suit is a newly-developed 4.2-liter biturbo V8 pumping out 550 horsepower (410 kilowatts) and 627 pound-feet (850 Newton-meters) of torque. The new engine with an aluminum block and pistons is paired with a 10-speed automatic gearbox and a limited-slip rear differential, while stopping power is provided by 19-inch Brembo brakes.
Many luxury carmakers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, are investing millions in autonomous technologies. But the first automaker to actually introduce a “hands free” driving system in a production car is Cadillac.
The Super Cruise qualifies as Level 2 autonomy by the Society of Automotive Engineers and lets you remove your hands from the steering wheel when you are driving on the highway. Of course, if you daydream for too long, the system will vibrate your seat, flash red on the steering wheel light bar, and beep at you to take back control of the vehicle.
The Super Cruise is available as standard on the 2018 CT6 Platinum models or as a $5,000 option on the Premium Luxury trim level.
Audi’s flagship limo is all-new for 2018, literally – it has a new platform and new engines, plus a couple of firsts for the brand. Basically, every model in the lineup is now a hybrid – from the entry-level 3.0-liter TFSI and TDI motors to the upcoming W12 range-topper. The mild hybrid system, regardless of the engine choice, can let the A8 coast for up to 40 seconds without the engine engaged, at speeds from 34 to 99 mph (55 to 159 kph), to save fuel.
Adaptive suspension is no big deal in the luxury segment anymore, but Audi is taking this technology one step further. The company’s AI active suspension can raise or lower each wheel separately with electric actuators under the control of a 360-degree pre sense system that scans the road ahead of the vehicle.
The suspension allows for active anti-roll, anti-pitch, and anti-dive, and can be combined with an all-wheel steering with variable steering ratio for the front wheels. Also, as standard comes Audi’s Quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
Still shocked Mercedes-AMG is planning to phase out its V12 engines for the non-Maybach-branded models in the near future? Don’t make a big deal out of it - after all, the German automaker has one of the finest V8s on the market today. In the S-Class, the 4.0-liter biturbo motor with 463 hp (345 kW) in the S560 variant, paired to a nine-speed automatic, grants the sedan with an impressive acceleration from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 kph) in 4.6 seconds.
If that’s not enough for your standards, there’s also the AMG-tuned S63 version of the same unit, which generates 603 hp (450 Kw) for a top speed in excess of 164 mph (264 kph).
While the S-Class is one of the oldest high-end full-size sedans on sale, there’s no shortage of technologies to admire in the German vehicle. The clever LED headlights, semi-autonomous functions, and smooth air suspension are all super cool, but we are still most impressed by the dual 12.3-inch high-resolution displays sitting under a single glass panel.
In addition to traditional gauges, they display information from the myriad of on-board systems in completely digital cockpit. The functions can be controlled directly from the screen, via a touchpad in the center console, or through the button-heavy steering wheel.
BMW 7 Series
Flagship sedans and V12s go hand in hand and BMW knows that best. The current generation of the 7 Series sedan, the most luxurious and expensive new model from Bavaria money can buy, is the first in history to receive M Performance treatment, which brings a massive biturbo 6.6-liter V12 engine pushing out 610 hp (448 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque.
Power is channeled to all four wheels through an automatic gearbox and rear-biased AWD system. The M760i xDrive is the priciest new car with a BMW badge, but, by all accounts, it’s totally worth it.
BMW 7 Series
But power is nothing without efficiency. In BMW language, this means lightweight construction thanks to the so-called Carbon Core passenger cell. It’s up to 50 percent lighter than a standard steel chassis, but equally strong and with lower center of gravity. Combine this featherweight body construction with the force of a V12 for a super impressive 3.6 seconds from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 kph) – the best in the segment, BMW claims.
A list of best luxury full-size sedans would be nothing without the Lexus LS – a car designed to take directly on the German premium trio. It’s a tech-heavy vehicle with a 3.5-liter biturbocharged V6 under the hood, good for 415 hp (309 kW) and 442 lb-ft (599 Nm) of torque, and mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 0-62 mph (0-96 kph) sprint? A decent 4.5 seconds.
The 2018 LS has one of the most comprehensive lists of standard and optional safety features, highlighted by the upgraded LSS+A system. It could actually save lives thank to advanced functions such as front pedestrian avoidance, rear pedestrian braking, and front cross-traffic alert.
Imagine you are reversing and there’s someone behind the car in your blind spot zone – the system will recognize there’s a human and will alert you with an audible warning. If there’s no response, the tech can bring the sedan to a complete stop at speeds below 6 mph (10 kph). Even more impressively, the pedestrian avoidance system can swerve automatically if the sensors report the LS can’t stop in time to not hit a pedestrian.
The current XJ may be almost 10 years old now, but it’s still one of the most distinctive offerings in the premium full-size sedan segment. You can’t mistake its aristocratic looks, even in the range-topping XJR575 version with a 5.0-liter V8 under the hood. With 575 supercharged horses (422 kW), the fast sedan is capable of reaching 62 mph (100 kph) in just 4.4 seconds and hit its electronically-limited top speed of 186 mph (299 kph). Simply put, it ages like a supermodel.
If there’s one question which bothers us with the XJ, it is which seat should we take – the driver’s or one of the rear chairs? You see, as much as we enjoy driving a 575-hp beast, we also like spending time comfortably at the back of a prestige limousine.
And it doesn’t get any more prestigious than a white perforated leather seat with individual infotainment screen, hand-crafted veneer, and a massive center armrest housing multimedia and front and rear seat controls. And, if you are in the long wheelbase version, you never just travel — you are transported to another place.
14 / 14