BMW, Audi, Porsche Rolls-Royce, Mercedes, Bentley, Cadillac, Tesla, Land Rover, Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Maserati, and their premium offshoots are the usual suspects in the best luxury car brands rankings. In other parts of the world, high-end executives are ready to put their brand snobbery aside and either drive or get driven in cars made by barely-known brands in North America and Europe. These brands are pulling their weight and ensuring they won’t be left behind in a global luxury car industry estimated to reach $665 billion by 2027.
No matter what many think of these obscure brands, they should get credit for producing cars with quiet and cosseting interiors, extensive levels of technology, and more quality features than many could ever imagine. Their cars may not be considered the ultra-luxury benchmark and their designs may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s only a matter of time before they perfect how to make the best luxury cars for high-rollers.
The outstanding reputation of high-ranking luxury carmakers is well deserved, but here are 10 luxury carmakers most gearheads have never heard of.
Lynk & Co
Operating under Geely — a big Chinese automaker that bought and merged with Volvo — has enabled Lynk and Co to get some good early success. It only has one luxury vehicle — the Lynk and Co 01 compact plug-in hybrid SUV. The 01 SUV shares the same platform as the premium entry-level Volvo XC40 and has a classy interior and features that will make any tech-savvy driver happy.
Founded only in 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden, Lynk And Co’s ambitious plans for a subscription-based ownership format and clever ride-sharing have made the brand starts lots of conversations online.
Founded in 2009 as a subsidiary of Yulon Motors, Luxgen is a combination of “luxury” and “genius.” It hasn’t yet managed to bring its name to the forefront of the luxury car industry since its conception. Regardless, it has managed to deliver good Luxury vehicles such as the Luxgen 5 sedan, U5 crossover, and its latest release — the Luxgen U6 and URX crossover.
Another notable product is the Luxgen Neora Concept — its first fully-electric luxury sedan with futuristic tech as well as elegant interior and exterior styling.
With a growing market share in the UAE region, Zarooq Motors is a supercar company founded in 2014 that uses the name of the fastest snake in Saudi Arabia. Zarooq handcrafts supercars that aren’t road selective, i.e., only meant for track days and luxurious commutes. Its first production model — the Limited Edition SandRacer 500GT — very much highlights that. It offers the rich the ultimate off-road driving experience in a bespoke and exclusive luxury supercar.
Penned by a hypercar designer, the body gets crafted in Belgium using only carbon fiber. Inside, its cozy interior is upholstered with hand-stitched leather made by Mansory in Germany. It’s motivated by a 6.2-liter V8 good for 525 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque.
Morgan Motor Company
What is not to like about a luxury brand that makes tasteful retro-styled roadsters that turn out genuinely desirable and interesting — that is precisely what Morgan, a 1910 family-owned UK-based automaker, does. While many high-end cars have a heavy tech focus, what sets Morgan apart is the predominant use of wood for a little more luxury.
All models are handmade, and they manage to build over 800 units/year. While most have a 6 months waiting period, for others the wait stretched to 10 years. Its latest models are the Plus Four and Morgan Plus Six. For the latter, Morgan partnered with BMW and fitted a turbocharged BMW B58 6-cylinder engine that has enough grunt to rocket the car to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
Founded in 1958, (the oldest Chinese auto-manufacturer), Hongqi has become China’s best luxury car brand and seems unstoppable. Initially, it made cars for top Chinese government executives until 1981. The top-tier Hongqi L5 luxury sedan — popularly known as the “Chinese Rolls Royce” — ranks as China’s most expensive car. Powered by the holy grail of luxury car powerplants, a monstrous V12, it makes 408 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque.
While the brand hasn’t quite broken into the international market, that’s something it’s fighting to do sooner rather than later. The Chinese luxury brand took the world by storm with the announcement of the 2024 L-Concept, a 3-seat limo with a glitzy interior but no steering wheel. Other notable vehicles include the Hongqi S9 and Hongqi E-HS9 Luxury Electric SUV.
JAC, the acronym for me Jianghuai Automobile Company Ltd, is a Chinese state-owned automaker founded in 1964. It has successfully established itself as a high-end, luxury auto brand in many parts of the world. In late 2020, Volkswagen took a majority stake (75%) of its joint venture with JAC and got management control, renaming it to Volkswagen (Anhui) Automotive Company Limited. Nio, the famous Chinese EV maker, is another brand JAC has had a strategic partnership with.
Among the most highly-regarded luxury cars JAC makes are the compact JAC S3, J7, JS4, and JS7.
Hispano Suiza is a Spanish-based automobile company that today focuses on extravagantly luxurious high-performance cars. After making more than 12,000 cars in the 20th century, Hispano Suiza has been dormant since 1946. However, recently, it announced its latest release, the Hispano Suiza Carmen. The supercar is a carbon-fiber-made heritage-inspired fully electric machine that delivers 1005 hp and only 19 will be made. The Carmen Boulogne version (only five units planned) is lighter and more powerful, delivering 1099 hp.
Though they won’t come close to the Rimac Nevera, Lotus Evija, or Pininfarina Battista in terms of performance, they come with impressively high-quality interiors which will be lovely spaces for buyers to spend time in.
Denza is the trade name of the Shenzen-based BYD and Daimler’s conjunct, which started back in 2010. Despite being relatively new to the market, Denza has stood out as it focuses only on EV luxury vehicle production. Its stand-out vehicle is the Denza 500 EV with an impressive range of 310 miles that’s engineered in partnership with Daimler Group. It is based on the 1st gen Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
Another is the Denza X 7-seat crossover SUV, which comes as an all-electric or a plug-in hybrid version. The latter is gets its power from a 2.0-liter turbo-four gasoline engine(189 horses) and two electric motors. The fully electric model delivers 242hp.
W Motors was founded in Lebanon in 2012. The Emirati-based sports car company specializes in high-performance vehicles and has so far has produced the Fenyr Supersport and the $3.4 million Lykan Hypersport. The Lykan is responsible for a large chunk of the brand’s popularity because it was the most expensive car to feature and get destroyed in Fast & Furious 7.
The Lykan uses a mid-rear mounted 3.7-liter twin-turbo flat-six, which W Motors claims produces a whopping 780 hp and 708 lb-ft of torque. It can sprint to 60 mph in only 2.8 seconds, running on to 245 mph. For 0-60 mph, the newer 2019 Fenyr SuperSport — powered by a belligerent 800-hp 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six — only improves by 1 second.
Launched in 2010, as a marque of the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, Venucia has consistently met the demand for luxury vehicles in China. Its name Venucia stands for “morning star” in Chinese. Venucia’s latest products, the X Concept, Venucia VOW crossover concept, and the recently launched Venucia V-online (Chinese name — Grande V) are meant to heighten its appeal among luxury Chinese car buyers.
The Venucia V-online has marked a new dawn for the company. It’s a sporty and stylishly designed SUV-coupe crossover that’s tech-laden and aimed at young buyers. Other notable models from Venicia are the Chenfeng E30 and T90 crossover.
Luxury cars typically cost a great deal of cash, but some are quite affordable. However, which is the best of these cheap vehicles?
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