Beauty isn’t abstract, it’s a formula.
For cars, beautiful is measured in the number of heads turned on the street, multiplied by the number of parking lot stares, divided by the number of right angles, which is added to the inverse of its general availability. It’s all very scientifical mathematism, you see.
The prettiest cars of 2019 all share one thing in common: We’d sell a kidney to get in one. (Maybe more than one kidney, even.)
Not many cars aced our eye test but not many will—there’s one crossover, one coupe, and one exotic. A 10 on our scale is for the angels of the road, and we’ve been touched by them. The rest? We like them very much.
Future automotive generations may disagree, electric cars rewrite how cars will look.
For now, here’s our list of the cars on the road today that have us looking for directions to the black market.
2019 Land Rover Range Rover Velar
Forget the stilted name, this is a smooth SUV. Range Rover’s hard right into the king (or queen) of crowded parking lots was telegraphed years ago, it just took them until now to make a crossover that looks the part, too.
The Velar’s perfect exterior is punctuated by its silky doors, graceful shape, and body crease that reaches from bow to stern. It sails away from a stop like Christopher Cross. The copper accents are on-trend—even if they’re not future-proof—and the available premium cloth interior is smarter than James Bond’s suit.
The Velar is model-pretty without being model-fussy about it.
2019 Lexus LC500h
The two-door LC wasn’t meant to be a car, let alone one made by Lexus, which changes its looks less often than the Shakers.
But the concept car that inspired the LC landed with such fanfare that Lexus built it anyway—curve after achingly pretty curve.
It doesn’t hide anything, the Lexus LC is hippy, wide, long, and overt. The LC’s spindle grille is hourglass Betty Boop’s waistline with no apologies. Inside, the cabin wraps around its driver and front passenger with elegant leather and wood, framed by seats and a stitched pattern that doubles as rolling art.
Driving an LC gets the requisite thumbs up and stares from passersby for its high-dollar drama and shape.
2019 Acura NSX
The two-door halo supercar from Acura is perfectly beautiful in its form and function. Its roof pillars are so thin and so strong that it limits the production of the mid-engine hybrid—aside from its prohibitive $157,000 price tag, of course.
Its wide, low stance starts with its nose pointed to the ground and gaping side intakes that draw in air for its twin-turbo V-6—we’re not the only ones gasping. The NSX’s drama wouldn’t be out of place on cars with horses or bulls on their badges, but the Acura hails from Ohio instead.
The drama is toned down inside, where it’s less special, even though it’s still cool. High-dollar packages add lashings of carbon fiber that complement the swank standard leather.
The NSX is clinical in its looks and speed, which is to say: it looks fast and goes like hell, too.
2020 Land Rover Range Rover
We lump the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport into the same entry here because the boxy shape can be tough to tell apart from far away—up close they just look great.
But the Range Rover duo nears perfection because they have refused to compromise on its utility over the years. (Eds note: It doesn’t need to, now. The Velar does it for them.)
Both boxy utilities get the same score because their looks are timeless—they’ve aged very well already.
The interiors aren’t any letdown, either. Both Land Rovers are restrained compared to Rolls-Royces and Bentleys of higher price but similar purpose, but the Range Rovers head for the hills while the others run toward Tiffany’s. In addition to the traditional complement of leather and soft surfaces in high-dollar luxury vehicles, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport added twin touchscreens for vehicle functions for a more restrained look.
2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
The S-Class has defined luxury for decades—today is no different. The S-Class gets our nod in any configuration, but we have a special place for the two-doors. Roll up anywhere in an S-Class coupe or convertible and it’s clear to everyone in the same ZIP code: you’ve arrived.
The biggest Benz looks expensive, and that’s probably the point.
2019 Audi A7
We’re split on the Audi A7. The predecessor nearly perfected a class of vehicles that we begrudgingly call “coupes.” The current car, which is new this year, doesn’t do anything different. Is that a bad thing?
Whether by effort or by inattention, the new A7 is a gorgeous design from Audi that cures the crossover craze. With a long hood and fastback shape, the A7 is practical, opulent, and spacious—it cuts a beautiful hole in the wind.
Upcoming performance versions will slice even quicker through the air.
2019 Porsche 718 Cayman T
The Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman are the best-looking sports cars with two doors made by Porsche. Come at us, bro.
The Cayman and Boxster don’t bow to tradition and gracefully finish what the first mid-engine Porsches started. It’s muscular and compact, with wide lines that give into a rising tail that (gasp) has an engine in the right place.
2019 Porsche Panamera GTS first drive
The Porsche Panamera is more focused in appearance and purpose this time around. The new Panamera shares some styling cues with the 911, like its predecessor, but wears its four-door shape better this time around.
The new Panamera is more muscular and angular, with an inch off the top—never a bad thing for a sports car. The overhangs are still short, the roof is still fast, and the nose is still grille-less.
Oh, and the hatchback Sport Turismo? That’s next level Panamera.
2019 Volvo S90
The big Volvo four-door sedan is chic like only a Swede could be. Its exterior isn’t adorned with frippery or even a remarkable shape—it’s just a clean-sheet look from an automaker that’s perfected simple.
Inside, the S90 is better thanks to its calm cabin, cool touch, and beautifully presented tech. Think of a better interior than a Volvo—go ahead. Got one in mind? Sorry, you’re wrong.
2019 Jaguar F-Type
Webster’s dictionary defines “instant classic” with a picture of an F-Type. We agree.
British Racing Green #5 over quilted Siena Tan Windsor Leather if your dictionary is printed in color. Brilliant.
2019 BMW 8-Series (M850i xDrive)
Forget the pop-up headlights and stretched look of the last century. The newest 8-Series is the biggest two-door BMW’s made in the modern era and it looks well worth its six-figure price tag.
Outside, the long snout is punctuated by a love-it-or-hate-it grille that reaches back onto the hood, but there’s no arguing the two-door’s proportions—they’re perfect.
Inside, the 8-Series dresses up with light or rich tones that are complemented by textured aluminum trim that’s spectacular.
2019 BMW i8
If the 8-Series is today, the i8 is tomorrow. The newly added droptop codifies the nerdy sex appeal that the i8 always had, but the coupe’s butterfly doors are nearly too good to pass up. Years in, the i8 still looks like it’s from the future. If it is, tomorrow looks great.
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Like many Jeeps before it, this generation’s Grand Cherokee is timeless. The Grand Cherokee nails all the big stuff—tall ride, Jeep grille, trapezoidal wheel arches—but it also does the little stuff: accents on different trims, graceful window line, neatly pressed creases.
This Grand Cherokee is many things to many people—its price range spans nearly $70,000—but to us, it’s just attractive.