Thanks to the Delta variant and other pandemic aftershocks, one of the greatest annual events on every car lover’s calendar has been canceled. The New York Auto Show already pushed back to August from its standard springtime scheduling, has fallen victim to stringent state and local restrictions designed to stamp out the virus once and for all.
The world had been waiting to meet the all-new Nissan Z and Subaru WRX, among many others. They were due out Aug. 17 and 19, respectively, according to Car and Driver, but their debuts have been delayed along with the auto show. Nissan’s website says the 2023 Z is due out in spring 2022 and Subaru says the WRX will now arrive on Sept. 10. In the meantime, get reacquainted with a few other higher-end vehicles that changed the game already — they’re on the road and ready to own right now.
Some command every dollar of their eye-popping price tags. Others, not so much. Here are a few of the best debuts from auto shows past and a few others that are just OK.
- Starting MSRP: $72,950
According to Car and Driver, the Genesis G90 has the lowest price tag in the full-size luxury segment — but it doesn’t look or feel like it. That publication — as well as Kelley Blue Book (KBB), MotorTrend and Edmunds — all gush over its impressive engine choices, attractive body and luxurious interior.
The pros also seem to agree, however, that the G90 is lacking that intangible but all-important “it” factor that defines its European rivals — and it’s certainly missing their prestige marques. Hyundai’s luxury brand cannot deliver the name Maserati, Audi or Mercedes-Benz, but it does deliver true, full-size luxury at midsize prices. Only the individual driver can decide if that tradeoff is worth it.
- Starting MSRP: $130,900
Unlike the Genesis G90, the Audi A8 delivers a prestige German nameplate — and a six-figure price tag to go with it. But it’s much more than just a name. The S8 delivers a different level of refined elegance that is beyond the reach of the G90 — what Can and Driver refers to as “limo-like luxury.” Big and muscular but smooth and graceful, the S8’s twin-turbocharged V-8 is as quiet as it is powerful.
Unlike the Genesis, which requires tradeoffs that some drivers might not be willing to make, the verdict on the S8 is a resounding “yes.” If you have the means, it competes and then some with the kings of its class: the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.
2021 Land Rover Range Rover
- Starting MSRP: $92,000
The latest Range Rover is exactly what its die-hards have come to expect it to be — a seamless combination of proficient off-road competence and sumptuous luxury. The reason that the just-shy-of-six-figures price tag might no longer be justified — Edmunds gives it just 6.9 out of 10 — is the stiff competition that the boxy British status symbol faces in today’s market. Edmunds is far from the only authority that considers the rival Mercedes-Benz GLS to be a worthy competitor — and it starts way down at $76,000. Then there’s the BMW X7. It starts at under $75,000.
2022 Porsche 911
- Starting MSRP: $101,200
For anyone who’s even passingly familiar with sports cars, the Porsche 911 needs no introduction. But with the Macan starting in the low $50,000s, the 718 starting at just over $60,000, the Cayenne starting under $70,000, and the Taycan and Panamera starting in the $80,000s, is the only six-figure option in the current Porsche lineup worth the esteem that comes with the numbers 911?
TopGear gives the latest Porsche 911 a nine out of 10 — 10 out of 10 for Car and Driver. The reasons range from its spectacular all-weather handling to its eye-popping speed — but mostly because it’s a Porsche 911, which Car and Driver calls “the perfect sports car.”
- Starting MSRP: $76,000
The critics are in widespread agreement that the Lexus LS deserves a middling grade of about a C — Car and Driver, U.S. News and World Report, Edmunds and other top critics all rate it somewhere in the sevens out of a possible 10. Despite a price tag above $75,000, there are few things that Lexus’ flagship sedan still does better than its top competitors. It’s not the most agile in its class, and others in the segment are more luxurious, have roomier back seats, better tech, choicer engine options and the list goes on and on.
- Starting MSRP: $184,900
If you’re one of those people who needs more luxury than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class can provide, sit back, relax and enjoy a reclined massage. That’s a thing you can do inside the graceful but muscular creation that defines Maybach’s relationship with Mercedes. Its 4.0-liter turbocharged V-8 delivers just shy of 500 horses — 496, to be exact. The interior is a harmony of technology and luxury that makes even the ultra-luxe Benz S-Class feel dull and tired. With publications like Car and Driver comparing it to the Rolls-Royce Ghost and the Bentley Flying Spur, the price tag is more than justified if you have that kind of money to spend.
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