Sitting in a top-drawer luxury sedan certainly has its appeal, for the well-heeled family. Commuting's just better with LCD touchscreens and Dolby surround sound, isn't it? And isn't a long vacation trip easier with twin 8-inch DVD screens in the back seat?
When you pay the price, a luxury family car had better be more than just nice. Which of the current crop of high-tech luxury sedans fits the bill for affluent families best? These 2011 models stand out for luxury and performance--as well as family-friendly features:
2011 Audi A8
2011 Audi A8/A8L
The new third-generation 2011 Audi A8 and A8L (long-wheelbase) flagship sedans seat five in luxurious comfort, all for a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $78,050 and $84,875, respectively. Both are powered by a 372-horsepower 4.2-liter V-8 engine paired with an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is respectable for a large luxury sedan at EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway. Zero to 60 mph time is pegged at 5.7 seconds. Trunk space is a bit tight at 13.2 cubic feet, but leg room, especially in the A8L, is exceptional. With a bevy of options and packages, you can outfit your Audi A8/A8L to be a truly customized sedan – perfect for family or business needs. See TheCarConnection's review of the 2011 Audi A8 to find out why editors are impressed with this large, high-tech luxury sedan.
2011 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Ahead of the brand-new S-Class coming out next year as a 2013 model, there’s still a lot to like in the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Available as S400 Hybrid, S550 and S600 sedan, the 2011 S-Class carries starting prices of $91,000, $93,000 and $158,050, respectively. There is also the S63 AMG (starting at $138,000) and S65 AMG (starting at $209,000). The S400 Hybrid is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and electric motor for a combined 295 horsepower mated with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The mild hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway – 26 percent better than the S550. Trunk space is ample with 16.4 cubic feet of cargo volume – the same as S550 and S600. The S550 gets its power from a 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V-8 engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway. On V-8s, 4MATIC all-wheel drive is optional. The top-of-the-line S600 gets the 510-horsepower 5.5-liter twin turbo V-12 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. Standard with almost all the features offered by Mercedes-Benz, there are no packages available for the S600, although there are a few individual options. In all versions, rear-seat leg room is quite ample, and the luxury features can be dizzying--everything from surround sound to DVD playback to power sunshades for the rear--and side rear--windows.