Just as the electric car revolution strives to redefine the rules of driving, automotive design and interior packaging, it’s also redrawing the conventions of luxury motoring. Uncluttered opulence combined with stunning technology, smart AI features and the gravitas of a prestige badge, seem to be the order of the day. Let’s amp up expectations, roll out the red carpet and charge up the batteries on the 10 most extravagant electrified automobiles.
Say the words: ‘Rolls-Royce Spectre’ and it feels crass to have to say anything further. The brand is the epitome of luxury, and Spectre is just about the most high-toned name to ever grace an automobile.
But if you must know, it’s a two-door express built on the same platform as the Rolls-Royce Phantom, a chassis itself titled ‘Architecture of Luxury’. How’s that for a statement of intent?
Deliveries of the iconic marque’s first production EV begin next month. It has two motors and a big battery giving it about 500km of range. Power is, in traditional Royce parlance, ‘adequate’.
Elegance, presence and poise are a given. The 4800 lit stars in the headlining are profligate, and even little ‘Ellie in her Nightie’, or the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet mascot, as she’s more commonly known, has been redesigned with sleeker more aerodynamic ‘wings’.
The Rolls-Royce Spectre lives up to – perhaps even surpasses – the brand’s luxury heritage.
How can you put a car at number two on this list when it doesn’t even exist? Because it will. Plus, if there is a brand that can dare stand toe-to-toe with the ‘World’s Best Cars’ that are Royces, then it has to be its former sister company, Bentley.
As legendary on the racetrack as they are at The Savoy, Bentley confirmed last year that it would launch an electric car in 2025 as part of its $3bn ‘Beyond100’ EV programme.
‘Pfft… two years away?’ you’re thinking. Well in the World of the Elite, there is nothing like being ahead of the game. The first Electric Bentley has been confirmed as ‘crossover’. Bentley is owned by Audi, so it has access to proven E-Tron architecture. More on E-Tron in a bit.
Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV
Revealed in China earlier this year, the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is the super-premium brand’s first EV, and basically it is the Mercedes EQS SUV turned up to 11 on the luxury scale.
There’s four-wheel steering, adaptive air suspension, optional dual-tone Maybach signature paint, 22-inch wheels and inside, the standard-fit full-width Hyperscreen along with higher quality trim than the ‘regular’ Merc, if that’s even possible.
The i7 M70 xDrive is BMW’s most powerful electric car.
BMW i7 M70 xDrive
BMW has a couple of luxury offerings when it comes to EVs, the iX SUV and the i7 flagship saloon. Let’s focus on the latter, because sedans are sexier than SUVs, and because BMW launched its most powerful EV ever this year, the i7 M70 xDrive. This magnate-level machine puts out 650bhp (40bhp more than the i7 M60) making it capable of accelerating from rest to 96kmph in just 3.7 seconds.
This is while the VVIP passenger in the back wallows in a reclined chair, feet up and gazing at an amazing wide-screen TV that folds down from the roof. Outlandish cut-crystal glass switches and beautifully tactile trim abound.
If you just blurted out, ‘Who? What?’ you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, Lucid has been around for 16 years and is owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
The Lucid Air launched last year is aimed directly at Mercedes and BMW’s EV flagships. Sleek, futuristic and handsome, uniquely it has a windscreen that sweeps right up into the roof.
Eyes forward though as with over 800bhp it’ll rocket to 96kmph in an astounding 2.6 seconds with a claimed range of over 800km. Inside Nappa leather, Alpaca wool, Carbon Oak, Alcantara trim and 5k resolution from its 32in infotainment screen, confirm this car sits in the highest of echelons.
The Lucid Air is sleek, futuristic and handsome.
Maserati GranTurismo Folgore
The first-generation Maserati GranTurismo ran for 12 years to 2019, and remains one of the prettiest luxury sport cars of the modern era. So, after a four-year sabbatical when an all-new GranTurismo was finally revealed to much anticipation in October last year, perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise that it looked … exactly the same as its predecessor. Well, if it ain’t broke…
More shockingly of course, while it’s still offered with a petrol V6, there is also now a full-electric model dubbed the Folgore, which appropriately enough, means ‘lightning’ in Italian.
Apart from being the Trident marque’s first EV, the new GranTurismo also radically departs from its forebear inside. Whereas the previous car had a dated dashboard and eccentrically idiosyncratic switchgear, to put it kindly, the new GranTurismo serves up sublime style and sophistication and multiple screens, yet retains a classic aura.
Aston Martin… something
With the Saudi Public Investment Fund taking a 16.7% stake in Aston Martin, it’s unsurprising that Lucid (featured above) will be supplying batteries and motors for a new range of luxury electric Astons from 2025.
While King Charles’ and James Bond’s favourite car brand does offer the electrified hybrid Valhalla hypercar, there is no news on what its first full EV will be, but strong money would be on the next generation of the brand’s best-seller, the DBX SUV.
Aston Martin will launch a new electric range in two years.
It’s hard to believe the Porsche Taycan has been around since 2019 as it still looks so fresh and futuristic. When it was introduced, it was something of a statement from legacy car-makers that things had just got serious in the EV world.
The hardcore luxury sports and supercar maker brought credibility and engineering excellence when it laid down the marker with the svelte Taycan. The four-door remains a hugely desirable choice in the luxury EV sedan sector.
Audi E-Tron GT
The Audi e-tron GT is essentially Audi’s version of the Porsche Taycan, but with slightly more conventional styling, while possibly being yet more handsome still.
It was first seen being driven by Robert Downey Jr in the 2019 movie ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Tony Stark (Iron Man) would also approve of the newer and sportier 2021-onwards RS version boasting up to 637bhp in ‘boost mode’!
Sneaking into the tenth spot on this list is a car you probably were not expecting. How is a car from the famous British brand, known for its minimalist sports cars, on a listicle of luxury automobiles?
Also, why is there an SUV in the Lotus line-up and shouldn’t an EV offering be called ‘Electre’ rather than ‘Eletre’? And why is it made in Wuhan and not Norfolk (where Lotus is based)?
Well, the name is derived from the Hungarian ‘eletre’ which means ‘coming to life’; it’s built in China because Lotus is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely; and it’s eschewed minimalism for 12-way adjustable seats, four-zone climate control, touch screens, 2000-plus watt stereo, a high quality trim and price tag that puts it in the Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus league.
It also boasts a 600km driving range and spec will include a 750bhp version allowing you to sprint to 100kmph in under three seconds.
A luxury car from Lotus you plug-in? Welcome to the new world order.