For those looking for something with a little more class and style, a luxury sedan is the perfect car. These premium cars offer performance, elegance and comfort in an often subtle and understated package. Luxury sedans are also hugely practical, with room for the kids or your golf clubs.
To help you make an informed purchase decision, we’ve produced a detailed guide to help you compare your options.
Luxury sedan review and comparison
What are some brands of luxury car sedans in Australia?
There are a few choices if you're looking for a luxury sedan in Australia, including:
Benefits and features of luxury sedans
A luxury sedan is a five-door car that features additional equipment, a high-end paint finish and a sumptuous interior. To create an air of exclusivity, manufacturers may add the following:
High-performance and larger engines
Luxury models often sport larger displacement engines. Typically, this isn’t to make the car faster but to create a refined driving experience. At highway speeds, the larger engine doesn’t need to work quite as hard, leaving plenty of power in reserve for overtaking.
Larger wheels and lower profile tyres
Luxury sedans may feature larger alloy wheels with lower-profile tyres. These taller, wider rims not only enhance the appearance of the car but also improve the handling and grip of the vehicle. Larger diameter wheels can also reduce the engine revs at higher speeds, making the cabin quieter and increasing the top speed.
Luxury sedans have an upscale interior. Typically, seat trims are made of plush leather or suede. Metal or wood trim pieces replace cheaper plastic interiors.
In addition, the interior will have a top-quality, surround-sound audio system from a well-respected brand. To create a quieter cabin and improve the quality of sound internally, extra soundproofing materials are used in combination with acoustic glass. The result is a noticeably hushed interior, where the front and rear passengers can converse at ease even in whispers. Lower-end cars cut corners on noise-cancelling materials.
Manufacturers also install upmarket seating. The best ones feature power adjustability, heating and cooling modes, and adjustable lower-back support. Rear occupants may benefit from entertainment screens set into the rear of the front-seat headrests, rear adjustable air vents and, in some vehicles, a drinks/snacks chill cabinet.
Generally speaking, luxury models have larger dimensions. This gives the automakers room to fit larger engines and more equipment, while still providing abundant cabin space and storage. Rear passengers will notice the biggest differences, with ample leg room and wider seating.
Additional passenger comforts
Premium vehicles will also boast a plethora of automatic and power upgrades. For example, the car may have multi-driver seat-position memory, a power-opening rear boot lid, automatic lights all around, courtesy lights installed under doors and even umbrella cubby holes within the door frames. Generally speaking, luxury sedans make life easier and less stressful.
Advanced driving assists
If you drive a lot, look for models with adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic emergency braking. You may even be able to find cars with self-driving abilities, such as those fitted into Tesla vehicles. These assists make driving easier, less tiring and safer!
Adjustable handling and suspension
Vehicles featuring air suspension often have several ride modes. The main ones to look out for are comfort and sports modes. The comfort mode softens suspension on rough roads, while the sports mode firms up the dampers, creating a more responsive ride. Sports mode may also improve steering-wheel sensitivity and the tyre-response speed.
Luxury cars often feature higher quality components, such as larger and more efficient brakes; sports or performance exhausts; a high-end transmission with extra gears and performance modes; and brighter, more efficient LED lighting.
Some drawbacks to luxury sedan ownership
Luxury sedans carry a luxury price tag. Generally, the higher cost covers the additional equipment and top-spec materials as well as the import and shipping fees from European or American manufacturing centres. Also, in many cases, you are paying for a prestige brand.
Running costs, insurance and parts
Owners of luxury vehicles also face higher running costs. Prestige marques will charge higher prices at their dealerships for work and parts will cost more.
You’ll also have higher premiums on your insurance. In addition, expect the larger engine, body size and weighty equipment (luxury cars can carry several kilometres of wiring alone) to lower fuel economy to ute levels.
Luxury car tax
Non-fuel-efficient cars over the price of $65,094 are subject to a luxury car tax of 33%. For fuel-efficient vehicles, the threshold is $75,526. The lump-sum payable can be significant and that’s before factoring in gross sales tax, stamp duty, optional extras and extended-servicing packages. You can calculate the LCT for a vehicle with our luxury car tax calculator.
The increased size of a luxury sedan may prove a problem for those living in bustling metropolitan areas where parking is an everyday battle. Manoeuvring tight, car-lined city streets may also prove a challenge.
Luxury models can attract the wrong kind of attention. Owning a vehicle that’s worth as much as three or four times the price of an ordinary car speaks volumes to thieves. Having a luxury vehicle parked on your drive may increase the risk of having your home broken into for the keys to your flash ride.
Luxury models can depreciate rapidly, especially in the first year of the car’s life. You’ll almost certainly lose money when buying one new.
How to decide if a luxury sedan is right for you
This is up to you. Think about what features and style you're looking for in a car, what your budget is (both upfront and for maintenance costs), where you'll be driving it and how many people and how much stuff you need to fit in there.
Have a think about:
- Price. Luxury sedans range from $55,000 upwards. You can spend well over $120,000 on some models, if not more. Decide on your budget and whether you'd like to buy new, used-approved or from a private seller.
- Body style. Some manufacturers offer multiple body styles, such as sedans or wagons. Wagons like Jaguar's XF Sportbrake can prove immensely practical.
- Features and equipment. Models over five years old won't have as much equipment, driving assists or passenger comforts as newer vehicles. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the more features you'll get. Decide on the minimum level of equipment you'd like before going to look at the dealers.
- Brand. For many people, they are chasing after a particular brand they can relate to. There are no terrible luxury sedans, so you're pretty much free to make your choice based on your brand preference.
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