Top Rank: From Rolls-Royce to Hongqi, the 8 most luxurious cars in the world
CY Foong · Sep 23, 2020 02:00 PM
You there. Yes, you, holding your 24-carat gold-plated iPhone while sitting on a white marble throne with emerald bezels. This article is dedicated to you, the one who earns a monthly salary equivalent to the annual GDP of some African nation.
You’re looking at all the cars featured in WapCar and wonder, “Why isn’t my favourite car website showing me the cars I want, the ultra-luxury kind? Aren’t you guys supposed to help find the perfect car?”.
Wonder no more, my super capitalistic beyond limits friend, here are the 8 most opulent and luxurious cars from around the world your left pocket change can buy. No, your other left pocket, the one at the cleaners. We'll restrict to one brand each to represent each country.
Great Britain – Rolls-Royce Phantom
Let’s start with the most obvious and one touted as the best car in the world. Nothing shouts luxury grandiose like the Spirit of Ecstasy. And no, this isn’t the one commonly seen in certain parts of KL; the Ghost is just a BMW 7 Series with Rolls' badging.
The Phantom, now in its eighth-gen, is best described as a large palace on wheels. It’s quite possibly the quietest car on sale in the market. I bet if we record the decibel meter reading, it would easily be the lowest we've ever recorded.
It is a massive car with the standard wheelbase model measuring at 5,762 mm in length and is powered by a 6.75-litre V12. Then again, the former is something for your driver, Jeevanathan or Jeeves for short to worry about. You could opt for the Extended Wheelbase (EWB) model with 220 mm of length for better rear legroom.
Equipment on the Phantom is nothing far from short as you could equip the British luxobarge with whatever colour, fabric, or toys with Rolls’ custom bespoke service. It comes with a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot (just like the X50) and a full suite of media streaming services so you can chill at the back while watching Kingdom or Umbrella Academy.
Germany – Mercedes-Maybach S650
Remember the Maybach from the 2000s? Well, Mercedes-Benz has fixed their mistakes and offers the Maybach as the highest trim package for the S-Class. Don’t worry, this doesn’t come with an interesting design look or some weird two-tone paint job.
The Maybach S650 is Mercedes’ ultra-luxury competitor to the Phantom and just like the Phantom, it is massive at 5,453 mm. It’s shorter than the Rolls, but it’s still pretty huge. Nothing short of a challenge for good ol’ Jeeves then? Maybe he could wait for the next-gen to arrive with its 4-wheel steering.
The Maybach comes with 2 engine options unlike the Phantom, a 4.0-litre V8 or a 6.0-litre V12 with the latter powering the S650. Despite its huge engine, like the Phantom, the Maybach claims to be the world’s quietest production car.
Comfort isn’t really lacking in the Maybach S650 with some options including cooled, massaging seats, a system that pumps agarwood scent and ionised air around the cabin, as well as a 24-speaker Burmester High-End 3D surround sound system so you can play some Queen just the way Freddie intended.
Japan – Toyota Century
Moving east, you’d think I’m recommending Lexus but let me introduce to something the Japanese think is higher than the L badge. The Century has zero Toyota badging all around, instead only the words “Century” and a logo Doug DeMuro described as a “screaming chicken”; which is actually a mythical bird called the Ho’o, are placed.
The Century has roots that date back to 1967. The Century is only around for 3 generations with the latest third-gen launched in 2018. While the previous-gen came with a V12, the latest model only comes with a 5.0-litre hybrid V8 engine.
Jeeves would be impressed with the fuel economy of the Century, and as it’s a Toyota, wouldn’t have to worry about it breaking down. It is still massive at 5,335 mm but by now he’ll have gotten used to the long measurements.
Inside though, you do get a whiff of Toyota but unlike the other cars, the Japanese definition of luxury is a lot more muted. For instance, you get wool seats as standard and it is said that that wool is quieter than leather. Softer too, so sleeping in the Century might be more comfortable.
USA – Lincoln Navigator
For America’s definition of luxury, it has to be big, bold, and brash. The Lincoln Navigator isn’t as brash as the Cadillac Escalade, it’s classier but still, it’s a huge car.
Huge in body size but not engine size, the Navigator is powered by a 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine that is mated to a 10-speed automatic. Jeeves would enjoy driving the large SUV on the road, albeit with the wheel on the wrong side.
Since you’re sitting higher up in the Navigator, you get to make your presence known on the road and you’ll be sitting in lavish luxury. It comes with optional 30-way-adjustable massaging seats, for the front.
Oh dear, but don’t worry. You’ll get very good rear legroom and there are multiple charging ports at the back so you can do your business at the back or the third-row which is apparently a decent fit for an adult.
Korea – Genesis G90
Another car that Jeeves would be driving on the left is the Korean Rolls Royce. Okay, it’s more of the Korean Mercedes-Benz under Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis. And it’s better than the Ssangyong Chairman we got years ago. Does anyone remember that?
The G90 is powered by a 5.0-litre V8 engine which makes 413 PS and 504 Nm. Jeeves would be impressed with the acceleration, with 0-100 km/h taking 5.7 seconds.
Despite being a tad cheaper – actually it’s probably among the cheapest of all with prices starting from US$ 77,000 (RM 318,000), the G90 does boast a plush interior with lots of standard luxury features. There are no fancy gizmos like a scented air purifier, wool seats, or automatic doors, though.
But you get a distinct-looking car that looks very opulent and bold. Inside, the G90 has a pair of screens that are connected to the front infotainment screen, so you can set the destination or control the audio from the back.
China – Hongqi L5
Viewers of The Grand Tour might know the Hongqi L5 (pronounced “Hong-chee”, not “Hong-kee”) and well, it looks very retro-esque. Hongqi literally means Red Flag in Chinese which is a symbol of the Communist Party.
Ironically, the Hongqi L5 is known for being the most expensive Chinese-made car ever with a price of 5 million Chinese Renminbi (RM 3.05 million).
The Hongqi L5 is a very exclusive car that is powered by either a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 or a 6.0-litre V12. It is exclusively used by high-ranking Chinese officials, like President Xi Jinping. The design is an interesting mix of Rolls-Royce and the Hongqi CA770 which itself was based on the Chrysler Imperial from the fifties.
Step inside this giant Chinese artillery for the rich and powerful with a hint of socialism and you’ll be greeted with some of the finest craftsmanship of cream leather seats, rosewood trims, and jade door handle inserts. It also rides quietly albeit very slowly as it weighs more than 3 tonnes.
Russia – Aurus Senat
If you think the Hongqi has way too much air of communism, then allow me to introduce something with a little less socialism inside. Meet the Russian definition of an ultra-luxury car, the Aurus Senat. It looks awfully similar to the Rolls, minus the suicide doors.
Historically in the Soviet Union (USSR) era, there were a few ultra-luxurious Russian cars like the GAZ Chaika and the ZiL. However, after the fall of the USSR, those brands fell into obscurity as most Russian oligarchs discovered the more advanced Western luxury cars.
The Aurus Senat was a brainchild of Vladimir Putin together with the Russian state-owned NAMI. It was powered by a 4.4-litre hybrid V8 engine that was reportedly developed in collaboration with Porsche. A 6.6-litre V12 is announced but sales for private owners have yet to begin.
Like the Hongqi L5, the Aurus Senat is mostly used by government officials and is also used by Putin as his official vehicle. His was an armoured limousine which reportedly weighed 6,200 kg. The Senat also comes with all-wheel drive to cope with the harsh Russian roads.
Malaysia – Bufori Geneva
Our luxury car list would not be complete without showing some local pride and thankfully we have one. No, the Proton Perdana doesn’t count as an ultra-luxury car, not when those painted tailpipes exist. It's also a D-segment car, which puts it very far from these cars in the list.
We’ll have to give this spot to the eccentric Bufori Geneva. Unlike the Russian Senat, Bufori went for an original style inspired by The Great Gatsby for its luxury saloon. It made its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, the same place the Proton EMAS debuted.
The Geneva is powered by a 6.4-litre Chrysler HEMI V8 engine that produces 477 PS and 630 Nm. Acceleration is quick with 0-100 km/h taking 5.4 seconds. That is thanks to the lightweight carbon-Kevlar composite body.
Inside, the Geneva is highly customisable and the rear centre console can be fitted with an automatic coffee machine, a fridge, a cigar humidor, or a Chinese tea set with instant boiling water. So, you could literally have a nice, fresh cuppa at the back while Jeeves weaves in and out of traffic. The Geneva starts from RM 1.4 million, possibly a bargain compared to most of the other cars in this list.
So, any of these luxury cars make you want to dig up your black card to place an order for one? Granted, depending on which one you choose, you could look like a rich aristocrat, a yakuza head, a villainous boss, or an eccentric businessman. At the back seat; you’ll have Jeeves to drive it for you anyway.
Traded advertising for a career that fits his passion for cars. Enjoys spotting cars during his free time and has a soft spot for Japanese Kei cars but drives a thirsty manual sedan.