Luxury vehicle interiors COMPARED!
When it comes to luxury vehicles, especially sedans and coupes, journalists place lots of emphasis on sportiness, ride, and handling. And although they may say a few comments about the vehicle’s interior, they mostly leave it at that. When in the market for a luxury vehicle, the interior is usually one of the highest priorities for customers. In this blogpost, I will go in-depth, comparing the interiors of the major luxury automakers, including BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Audi, Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, Volvo, and Lincoln. I will rank them starting from best ending with worst
1st place: Mercedes-Benz:
Mercedes Benz has some of the most immaculately finished and breathtaking interiors of any carmaker. Even the compact C class is exquisite and opulent, and the full-size S class elevates that to an unbelievable level. The midsize E-class is remarkably futuristic and modern as well. Mercedes has started to use open-pore woods a lot, which give a dimensional, quality feeling that feel more tactile than the usual glossy wood. Mercedes also textures their aluminum and carbon fibre, for a more dimensional and tactile experience as well. Their ARTICO leatherette is so good, it is very difficult to differentiate from the real thing. Their genuine Nappa leather is the best in the business. Mercedes may lose a point or two for the somewhat confusing COMAND system that is poorly integrated into the dash, but overall, the exquisite materials and elegant design propel Mercedes to first place.
Volvo stunned the world when they released the new XC90. Not because of its styling or powertrain, but because of its gorgeous, modern, distinctively Swedish, and luxurious interior. Volvo’s new interiors, found on the S90, V90, XC90, and new XC60, is at least 2 generations ahead of the old interior Volvo used. The open-pore wood, perforated leather, amazing attention to detail, Swedish design, and Tesla-like infotainment screen make Volvo’s interiors one of the best of any luxury brand.
Audi’s interior design of late has become more minimalistic and perhaps bland, but they still look sharp and the virtual cockpit is a game changer in terms of infotainment. Audi, unlike Mercedes, Volvo, and even BMW, uses plastics instead of leather or leatherette on the door panels and dash. However, while still plastic, the material feels very durable and resilient, extremely well put together, and is of a high, premium quality. Audi loses points because of how plain the plastic looks and the blandness of the overall design, but gains points thanks to the impressive quality of materials, whether it be the leather, plastic, or wood trim, and the game-changing technology. Overall, quite impressive.
New Lexus interiors have a swoopy, stylistic, and elegant yet Japanese design to them. The materials Lexus uses are quite class competitive, with extremely nice leatherette, decent leather, and great wood and aluminum trim. The plastics may be hard lower down, but this only applies to the cheaper cars. The LC500 interior is absolutely breathtaking. It changes the way I think of Lexus interiors. Having experienced one firsthand, I can say the materials everywhere were soft (no hard plastic anywhere), and buttery leather covered almost every surface, aside from the alcantara on the seats. Glass and metal trim gave it a futuristic and modern flair. However, Lexus comes in 4th because of its finicky, mouse-controlled infotainment systems with dated graphics and small screens.
Yes, you read that number right. Lincoln has surpassed BMW in interiors. Just 5 years ago, Lincoln would have been rock-bottom. But thanks to simply stunning interiors from the New Continental and New Navigator, they are definitely back in the game. The interior materials on the regular trim levels are just on par with the class, but the Black Label interiors are nicer than most interiors from BMW or even Audi. The unique themes and fine materials add value into getting a Black Label over a regular model. Lincoln loses points for not having much standard features and sharing the same infotainment system with Ford vehicles. However, Lincoln’s new 30-way adjustable seats add a point or two to Lincoln’s rating
Because BMW interiors have looked the same for over a decade, the specialness and modernness of their interiors has lost all value. The Drive system is impressive, but it has useless gimmicks like gesture control and CarPlay is an option, even on the 7 series. The materials vary based on the price and class. Buy a 7 series, and you will be presented with an elegant, premium, albeit somewhat gimmicky and bland interior with top-notch leathers and woods. Buy a 2 or 3 series, and you will be presented with a sea of black plasticky rubber. The dash, door panels, and pillars are covered in a plain black rubber material. It feels solid and of good quality, but it doesn’t convey luxury like Audi’s plastics do. The I3 and I8 interiors gain points for their very futuristic design, but lose points for the hard plastic everywhere. In a $140000 dollar I8, that is unacceptable. In a $40000 2 series, it’s only a mere annoyance. If BMW wants to become more competitive, they need to make their interiors feel more special and luxurious.
Cadillac interiors are generations better than the crap GM interiors of the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. They lose lots of points for the terrible gauges in most trim levels, the horrid CUE infotainment system, and the cramped backseat and trunk. In terms of materials, it wildly varies depending on where you look, which trim level, and which model. The CT6, for example, looks and feels modern and luxurious at first, with leather-wrapped armrests, padded dash, open-pore woods, and metallic trim. But poke around, and you’ll find hard, cheap, typical GM plastics on the lower parts of door panels and dash, not something you want on an $80000 dollar flagship. The cheaper CTS is more successful in terms of quality, but loses out thanks to too many different materials and a busy design. Overall, Cadillac makes the mark, but doesn’t excel.
Tied for Last Place: Acura and Infiniti
Acura and Infiniti, unlike Lexus, are simply spruced up Honda and Nissan interiors, Infiniti perhaps more successful in differentiating the luxury brand from the mainstream brand. Both have convoluted and outdated technology, and are not special material or design wise. However, Even though they are technically tied for last, I might give Infiniti the edge here.
Best and worst interiors overall (by model)
Best: Mercedes S class
Worst: Acura ILX
What about Jaguar? Jaguar, if included in the comparison, would be around 7th or 8th thanks to bland design, interior space, and unexceptional materials, while gaining points for its seats, features, and British charm and cleanliness.
Thanks for reading, if you have any comments questions, or suggestions, feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for a new post in about a week or two.