Year Ender 2023: The 5 best luxury cars we drove this year. And why they shine

The luxury car market in India was buzzing and buzzing loud through the course of 2023, bolstered by postive sentiments for high-ticket purchases as w

The luxury car market in India was buzzing and buzzing loud through the course of 2023, bolstered by postive sentiments for high-ticket purchases as well new and updated models being driven in.

From performance to electrics and everything in the middle, HT Auto test drove a bunch of luxury cars that made their way into the Indian automobile market in 2023.

The Indian luxury car market may still be significantly smaller than its counterpart in markets like China and the United States but the gradual rise and significance of vehicles priced upwards of 40 lakh continued in the year 2023. Bolstered by a slew of launches and with indications of the country’s economy gaining in strength, aspirational purchases have been driving up sales numbers for many competing for space.

Almost every manufacturer in the luxury car space in India reported record sales in 2023, pointing to factors such as pent-up demand, high traction for newer models and better supply-side situation than in previous years.

HT Auto drove most of the new and facelift models in the luxury car space in 2023 and here are the five best of the lot:

Mercedes-Benz GLC facelift

Also watch: Mercedes Benz GLC 2023: First drive review

Mercedes-Benz leads the luxury car market by a fair distance and continued with its charge of launching models in the country in 2023 as well. But of the many models brought in – from performance to electric, the updated GLC stood out in particular because of its overall popularity as well as the changes brought in.

The 2023 Mercedes GLC received updates to its styling on the outside as well as some changes in the cabin. It also received mild-hybrid technology – Integrated Starter Generator. This promises slightly better mileage and slightly lower emission levels from both the petrol as well as the diesel engine options.

Audi Q8 e-tron facelift

Audi Q8 e-tron
Audi Q8 e-tron and its Sportback versions are two of the most stylish luxury EVs available in India at present.

Audi’s electric ambitions know no bounds and in 2023, the German brand brought in the Q8 e-tron at 1.14 crore and its Sportback version at 1.31 crore (ex-showroom prices). While there was a sizeable jump in asking price over the previous model, the Audi Q8 e-tron makes its way to this list courtesy its extremely sporty styling on the outside and a well-equipped cabin. At its best, the EV has a claimed range of around 480 kms which is quite impressive as well.

BMW X1 facelift

BMW X1 now looks far more sporty and more premium than it did in the previous edition.

The BMW X1 has had a big say in the entry-level luxury car space for years. But the facelift X1 launched earlier this year brought in some very significant updates. The car does not look like a compromise buy it did once upon a time and is far closer to the BMW family of SUVs than it ever was before.

The updated BMW X1 was launched at 46 lakh (ex-showroom) and the car finds a special place here because of its overhauled cabin, noticable style changes on the outside and while the engine options have been carried forward, these are in different state of tunes. The power output of both the petrol and diesel could have been enhanced further still but what this Bimmer still is is an enormously fun SUV to drive.

Volvo C40 Recharge

Volvo C40 Recharge
The C40 Recharge from Volvo is a relatively fun car to drive and is backed by a slew of safety features.

Volvo doubled its EV portfolio in India by driving out the C40 Recharge at 61.25 lakh (ex-showroom) to make it stand alongside its smaller sibling – C40 Recharge.

A coupe-ish roofline does wonders for its exterior visual appeal while a claimed range of over 500 kms from its 78 kWh battery pack ought to hold it in good stead against rivals. Additionally, the EV also gets Level 3 ADAS.

Range Rover Velar facelift

Range Rover Velar
Range Rover Velar comes with two engine options – a 2.0-litre petrol motor and a 2.0-litre diesel unit.

Velar has no haters and while it may not be the most popular in its segment, this Range Rover is quite a head-turner on roads nonetheless.

Launched at 94.30 lakh (ex-showroom) in the month of September, the SUV received subtle updates on the outside as well as in the cabin. It makes it to this list because it remains a very capable SUV within city limits as well as beyond.

First Published Date: 29 Dec 2023, 11:56 AM IST

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