Elite Traveler’s motoring writer Alexandra Cheney takes you on a journey through the best luxury cars on the market at the moment, from state-of-the-art hypercars to the most spacious sedans.
Undoubtedly, the premium luxury segment is in a decisive moment. Stricter global emissions standards continue to force automotive manufacturers to refocus their research and design energies into electric and fuel alternatives.
While brands continue to lean heavily on their respective heritages, many are reclassifying and redefining themselves utilizing more than just horsepower. Each vehicle in this list provides perspicacity into its respective automaker, from naturally aspirated, rumbling swan songs to visionary electrifications.
But cars do more than merely shuttle us from one place to another; they move us. The following automobiles also seduce, dazzle and inspire — and could potentially even transport those searching for new wheels.
McLaren 720S Spider
Sir Ron Dennis’ 37-year reign ended two years ago when he was unceremoniously jettisoned as chairman and chief executive of McLaren Automotive. To assuage its investors and remain both relevant and ambitious in the world of hand-assembled supercars, McLaren created the Track25 plan: a $1.6bn endeavor to launch 18 new cars or derivatives, with a promise to go full hybrid, by 2025.
The latest edition comes in the form of the 720S Spider, a 3,236-lb convertible that boasts 10.4-second quarter miles and perfectly cantilevered dihedral door hinges. Weight is rather important to this English brand, as each of its products is the lightest in their respective segment.
Transforming this point of pride into a business plan, McLaren is participating in a $65m joint venture dedicated to ‘lightweighting technology’ via a new McLaren Composites Technology Centre.
In the meantime, though, the 720S Spider is easily one of the most exceptional vehicles the company has ever put into production. The optional electrochromic glass roof turns from clear to a deep cerulean in order to offset glare and reduce UV exposure, and its geometric roof mechanism is electric rather than hydraulic, a refined improvement that will no doubt extend its life.
The gradient paint option, a McLaren Special Operations specialty, indicates airflow and takes an additional 260 hours to apply to the front air intakes, mirrors and side panels.
Price: From $315,000
Engine: M840T twin-turbo V8
Power: 710 hp
Standout feature: The McLaren 720S Spider’s optional electrochromic glass roof turns from clear to a deep cerulean in order to offset glare and reduce UV exposure, and its geometric roof mechanism is electric rather than hydraulic, a refined improvement that will no doubt extend its life.
Aston Martin Valkyrie
When Aston Martin announced its Second Century Plan, a massive overhaul of its risk, staffing and portfolio, critics were quick to note the 106-year-old company’s seven bankruptcy filings.
Now in the plan’s fourth year, the carmaker beloved by James Bond for more than half a century is on track to meet its prospectus of launching seven core models in seven years.
Valkyrie, its newest flagship, is a hybrid hypercar powered by an internal combustion engine. A bit of a head-scratcher, the battery pack services the vehicle’s electronics and integrates all relevant sub-systems while the V12 engine does the heavy lifting.
More suited to the racetrack than the street, the 175-unit production run Valkyrie opts out of cup holders, but will have air conditioning and a stereo system. What’s more, 25 of the 175 units will be Valkyrie AMR Pros, or track-only editions. Buyers for both models will undergo a total 3D body scan, the basis of the custom-yet-fixed driver’s seat.
Price: From $3.2m
Engine: Naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 hybrid
Power: 1,160 hp