Get Smart: The Latest and Greatest in Luxury Automobiles
Interior of the new BMW M550i xDrive
Photo credit: Courtesy of BMW

Picture yourself behind the wheel of a fine luxury automobile, a machine of perfection that handles like a dream. Melt into velvety leather surrounded by state-of-the-art technology that entertains you, guides you, and keeps you safe on the road.

As technology advances, 2018 models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus are built with the discerning consumer in mind. Factor in superlative comfort and impeccable interior cabins and reward yourself with the ultimate in car ownership.

So, go ahead, take that test drive. You’ve earned it. And, of course, there’s nothing better than that new car smell.

The Leader of the Pack:
2018 M550i xDrive Sedan by BMW

The new BMW M550i xDrive
Photo credit: Courtesy of BMW

Comfort and quickness never go out of style at BMW, especially with this new generation of the 5 series. Classified as the fastest BMW 5 series built to date, it’s also “the only new V8-powered 5-series sedan currently available,” according to Hugh Hencken, client advisor at Fields BMW Winter Park. With cutting-edge technology and performance, this model is sure to thrill.

TECH: Features like rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlight control, park distance control, and advanced real-time traffic information are earning the M550i xDrive Sedan a reputation as the car with all the smarts. The vehicle’s advanced Vehicle & Key Memory recalls the most recently used climate-control temperature, air distribution settings, exterior mirror and power seat settings, audio tone settings and radio presets, and lighting preferences. The car’s navigation system offers a voice command feature with “natural language understanding,” allowing the dictation of messages to the car’s subscription service.

ENGINE: This four-door boasts 450 horsepower at 6,000 RPMs and can travel from 0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, reaching a top speed of 155 mph.

PRICE: Base price of $73,095

ALTERNATIVE: If an SUV is more your style, the BMW X7 is luxury with purpose. Complete with a “real” third row seat, this seven-seater will be the largest model ever made by BMW. A plug-in hybrid version will also be available. Price is estimated to start at $100,000.

Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes-Benz:
2018 AMG-GT or AMG-GTC by Mercedes-Benz

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster
Photo credit: Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Luxury, prestige, and performance; that’s Mercedes-Benz, the oldest car manufacturer in the world. And AMG, Mercedes’ performance division, builds some of the finest top-of-the-line sports cars anywhere. Take a seat inside a new 2018 AMG-GT or AMG-GTC, two roadsters that are the epitome of why these cars — made from scratch — are in a league of their own. They’re so unique, each car’s engine is handcrafted and signed by the maker.

TECH: The features and trimmings on both vehicles lure you in. Sculpted seats combine support and comfort. Performance controls are at your fingertips, including a touchpad with a sleek 8.4-inch screen delivering entertainment, navigation, apps, and intuitive menus. This car was meant to be driven with the top down, with heated seats and an Airscarf to warm your neck and shoulders on a cool evening. The soft tops power up or down at speeds up to 31 mph, while a mesh wind deflector keeps the open cabin calm.

ENGINE: The newly developed AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine pushes the GT to a top speed of 188 mph and offers acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. The GTC maxes out at 196 mph, hurtling from 0 to 60 in 3.6

The interior of the 2018 AMG GT R
Photo credit: Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

seconds. The GT has a 469-horsepower engine; the GTC, 550 horses. This AMG line was born on the track and transformed for the road. From the Panamericana grill to the active rear spoiler, each element contributes to form and function.

PRICE: At first glance, these new vehicles may look identical, but on closer inspection, the GTC is in its own class. Base prices are $112,000 for the GT and $145,000 for the GTC.

ALTERNATIVE: If an everyday car is more your cup of tea, but you still crave the power, try the E-63 sedan on for size. Priced at $104,400, this luxurious specimen is one of the finest driving machines and the fastest four-door sedan on the market, sprinting to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds.

Pickin’ Up Good Vibrations:
2018 Lexus LC 500

The 2018 Lexus LC 500
Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexus

As Lexus says, it’s more than a car; it’s a feeling. Step into a 2018 Lexus LC 500 or LC 500h, and you’ll understand. First introduced in 2016, the line’s premium rear-wheel drive luxury platform has critics comparing its overall handling performance to the Aston Martin DB11. In fact, just as the Aston Martin is a favorite of James Bond, the Lexus LC 500 will be featured as the car of choice for the lead superhero in Marvel’s “Black Panther” movie next spring.

TECH: Discover one of the fastest shift times among conventional automatic transmissions — 0.12 seconds, about half the time it takes you to blink. The smart transmission selects the best gear based on speed, acceleration, and driving habits, and it even selects the ideal gear during cornering. The 13-speaker, 915-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Audio System rocks, while the next-generation Remote Touch acts like a smartphone — pinch, swipe, and flick. The 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen features a voice-activated navigation system that maps millions of points of interest across America. It shows speed limits and finds nearby gas stations when fuel is low. Lexus even ups the cool factor with the LC 500’s safety features. All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses radar to sense the speed of vehicles directly in front of you, and the car slows or stops if it senses trouble.

The interior of the 2018 Lexus LC 500
Photo credit: Courtesy of Lexus

ENGINE: The manufacturer refers to the 471-horsepower engine and unyielding 10-speed transmission as its most powerful Lexus V8 to date. The LC 500 zooms from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds.

PRICE: Priced around $92,000

ALTERNATIVE: For those looking for a more eco-friendly ride, the LC 500h, priced at $96,510, offers the Lexus Multistage Hybrid Drive. Punch it to 60 miles per hour in just 4.7 seconds. The instant torque and response in this new luxury hybrid may be the strategy other manufacturers follow to reach a wider audience with these fuel-saving vehicles.