Luxury saloon designer” must be one of the most sought-after positions in the automotive industry. You know full well your target clients are willing to pay top dollar for style, comfort, power and performance, and since your competitors are all making great products, your own must be outstanding if it’s to command attention. So while it’s no surprise to find the Audi S8 Plus in the running for our Luxury Saloon award, many of you might be shocked to see it up against American and Korean competition, rather than its usual German stablemates.
Times they are a changing, and Cadillac is determined that the CT-6 can help it fight its way back into the luxury segment, decades after the US behemoth seemed to lose its way. The distinctive angular styling certainly sets it apart from its well rounded-competition — we like it — and though loaded with oodles of options and the best sound system we have heard in any car, ever, this stand-out saloon from across the Atlantic is up against some fine competition. Close, but not quite.
If Cadillac is trying to reclaim lost ground, Hyundai’s offshoot brand Genesis is determined to create a luxury reputation, practically from scratch. If the G90 is anything to go by, with its superb interior, excellent fit and finish, powerful 5.0-litre V8 engine and impressively low levels of road noise and vibration, then we can probably expect to see Genesis appearing more often in the running for a Car of the Year award. ‘A’ for effort chaps, keep up the good work.
Still, there’s no getting away from the fact that part of the appeal of a luxury saloon is the cachet of the badge and its reputation. Put four adjoined rings on the grille of an almost 600 horse twin-turbocharged V8, wrap it in a svelte, immediately respected outline, fill the silent cabin with immaculately appointed leather, wood, carbon fibre and aluminium trim, and imbue the end product with the ability to take corners at astonishing speeds without a hint of fear, and you have the Audi S8 Plus.
Garnish with a gorgeous exhaust burble, cover with a matte silver finish, bring to the boil with your right foot — and voilà! Luxury Saloon of the Year 2017… Tasty, very tasty.