9. Lexus LS
The Lexus LS has always been a niche choice in the UK, but its success elsewhere has guaranteed this latest version a seat at the top saloon table.
The car has had a major styling overhaul and the interior feels both modern and luxurious in a likably unconventional way. There are four trim levels, the top one coming with plenty of equipment and, spec-depending, also a rare kind of material richness that few cars in the world can match.
Dynamically, the LS is less convincing as a luxury item. The 3.5-litre hybrid V6 has to work hard to cope with the car’s 2420kg weight, and while the handling is quite impressive, its noisy and slightly brusque run-flat-shod ride is quite the opposite.
Against the latest S-Class, 7 Series and A8, the LS is an interesting alternative but still not the most credible of rivals.
10. Genesis G80
Like Lexus three decades ago, Genesis is trying to break into a luxury-car market dominated by established European brands. Hyundai’s high-falutin’ spin-off brand certainly has a mountain to climb, but it has already proved a big hit in its native Korea as well as in the US, where badge-snobbery isn’t as rife as on this side of the pond.
Since arriving in Europe last year, Genesis has added numerous models (mostly SUVs, natch), but the first to his showrooms was the G80, a large saloon with the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series firmly in its sights. Large exterior dimensions and bold design help it stand out, while the spacious interior’s mix of tech and top-notch quality creates a surprisingly upmarket and sophisticated ambience.
Genesis claims that the G80’s dynamics have been tuned for Europeans tastes, and this largely stacks up. A relatively soft set-up and strong refinement mean that comfort is the order of the day, but the accurate steering and secure, predictable handling mean the rear-wheel-drive limo can be hustled when you’re in the mood, even if keen drivers will find greater rewards in the 5 Series.