Top Luxury Sedans: These top sedans boast luxury and speed.

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The Mercedes E350 wins out in the luxury sedan category for three reasons: smooth ride, good price and decent fuel economy. Starting at around $52,000, this ultra-luxurious ride is a good value in its category.

The 268 hp, 3.5-liter, 24-valve V6 engine has great acceleration, suspension and handling. The interior is a study in luxury done right with power everything.

And at an estimated 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, the E350 gets pretty good marks for fuel efficiency from such a heavy-feeling wagon.

Want to find out more? In a recent story on Top Five Sport Wagons , the E350 took the No. 2 spot, only behind less expensive and more versatile Saab 9-3 Sport Combi.

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Lexus GS 450h

OK, so fuel economy is big these days, which is why the Lexus GS 450h is No. 2 on this list of luxury sedans. However, for a $55,000 hybrid, you’d like to see this sedan get more than its estimated 25 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

The 3.5 liter, four cam, 24-valve V6 engine with front electric Lexus hybrid drive certainly isn’t at all like its roaring counterpart, the Lexus GS 430 . The GS 450h engine starts up without a sound and is ultra quiet until you hit speeds around 30 mph. That’s when the car whines and gurgles a bit and then accelerates at lightning speeds as the gas engine kicks in.

The interior styling seems made for a male driver. The leather bucket seats are long and comfortable. The wood-and-leather steering wheel is classic and fashionable. Tons of faux bois on the dashboard and center console also make for a more luxurious feel. But for the ladies, there seems to be something amiss, something soft and feminine and gentle.

Another reason this luxury sedan is at the top of this list is because of its navigation system. Simply put, Lexus (and Toyota) have the best navigation system in the business! The on-screen, push-button controls are super intuitive, easy to use and provide the best turn-by-turn technology to date. At almost $2,000 extra, this navigation system is worth the extra price.

Here’s some notes from the senior perspective:

If you’re a senior looking for a “quiet” drive with lots of power, the Lexus GS 450h has your name on it. I found this car to be one of the best hybrids on the market for its electric, almost non-existent power driven system, to its luxurious interior. Enough can’t be said for this new generation of hybrids so any senior with a solid retirement plan should check these sports cars out for fuel savings and fast driving performance.

Although the Lexus GS 450h has an arching roof line, the interior roof was a bit too low for a tall senior like me. Still, it has lots of leg room for that quiet ride to the market or the mountains.

The bottom line is price vs. fuel savings. This Lexus hybrid gets an estimated 28 mpg highway with a top speed of 131 mph. You’ll need to do the math to find the value, but for a senior that wants luxury, good gas mileage and a quick pick up, the Lexus GS 450h is my choice for the leaner, meaner hybrid machine. – Rev. Joanne Tucker

Jaguar S-Type

The Jaguar S-Type 4.2 is an all-around good pick in the luxury sedan category, especially for female drivers. I mean, there’s just something about this pussy that’s all about feminine charm from the curvy lines on the outside to the sumptuous and stylish interior.

But this wily cat is also all about power. The agile 300 hp, 4.2 liter V-8 engine is helped along by Jaguar’s speed-sensitive steering, double wishbone suspension and dynamic stability control. To put it simply: This ride rocks!

But the little luxuries make the Jaguar S-Type even more special. The ecru leather seats with brown piping and all-electric controls are deliciously comfortable. And the champagne-colored interiors with complementary Madrona wood trim are pleasing to the eye.

Once again, the push-button navigation system is one big reason to buy Jaguar.

The seven-inch, easy-to-use touch screen navigation and audio system leads anyone around town or country with great ease and certainly more peace of mind.

At almost $52,000 ($55,000 with $2,800 navigation system), the Jaguar S-Type is reasonably priced in its category. The fuel efficiency is also within range at an estimated 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Want more? Read about our recent Jaguar Desert Getaway to Palm Springs.

Here’s some notes from the senior perspective:

On a weekend jaunt to Palm Springs, California, an upscale desert resort town filled with senior retirees, the Jaguar S-Type fit in perfectly with its old-world elegance and a modern, simple-to-use, color-coordinated navigational system. I loved this car’s international flair for comfort with its burled walnut instrument panel and lux leather seats. For any senior that wants to travel in style, the Jaguar S-Type is definitely your kind of car, offering a fine balance between luxury and sports car. And for a good laugh that reminds a senior that the Jag is a made-in-Britian car, the screen shoots a very British statement that says “most functions are inhibited whilst the vehicle is in motion.” And, I still love that cat’s head on the hood for an unmistakable Jag symbol of luxury and performance. – Rev. Joanne Tucker

BMW 550i

If you need speed, there’s only one luxury sedan to buy for you: anything from BMW. And the BMW 550i doesn’t disappoint. So far, this sedan has the best acceleration, speed and handling of the bunch.

But to this comfort queen, speed isn’t everything. Yes, the interior of the 550i is pleasing with its leather, plastic and lots of shiny wood paneling. However, the dash, controls and console seems more robotic and stiff than the others, especially the cozy Jaguar.

In a recent story comparing the Lexus GS 430 vs. BMW 550i , the BMW couldn’t match the Lexus in overall comfort and amenities.

At about $65,000, this modern marvel also has advanced features like a $2,300 sports package, satellite radio, front and rear seat advanced head protection system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, iDrive system and BMW Assist Bluetooth.

Another reason the BMW 550i is at the bottom of the bunch is gas mileage. It gets a paltry estimated 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

Cadillac STS

Cadillac’s super fast STS is the wild card in the top luxury sedans category. Do you want an American muscle car, but don’t want to sacrifice styling and luxury? Then this pimped out Caddy is your car.

The STS starts out at just $41,000, but the model we tested neared $70,000 with all the bells and whistles like a bumping sound and navigation system. For that much money, we’d like to see a bit more styling on the outside. But if you are looking for a muscle car that harkens back to America’s glory days, then the STS will make your heart skip a beat with its chunky grill, hood and side fenders.

The interior of the car we tested was a rapper’s dream come true with a two-tone, black-and-red leather combo and lots of shiny wood on the steering wheel and center console. The wide, comfortable leather seats seemed to make you want to glide your seat back, put on your shades and blast the music with your Bose 5.1 Studio sound and push-button, on-screen audio systems.

The 4.6-liter V8 we tested was lightning quick on acceleration and handled nimbly. The engine roars nicely and makes you feel powerful too.

Here’s some notes from the senior perspective:

From the moment I laid my senior baby blues on the awesome egg-crated shaped grille and vertical stacked headlamps of the blank Cadillac STS, I knew the racy sleek design of this vehicle was a total package of luxury. But when I opened the driver’s door, my eyes further feasted on a very plush black and red interior, complete with cushy leather seats that reminded me of living room lounge chairs.

For any senior who likes Sci-Fi movies, the Cadillac STS is straight out of a James Bond fleck as its technology recognizes and remembers your own personal seat preferences, which any senior should adore, and responds to your voice commands. And the all-around sound system is amazing!

This car’s trunk has enough space for lots of luggage for long-range trips, and for those golf-loving seniors, you can add a set of golf clubs And with the STS’s comfortable and quiet ride, it makes a wonderful touring car for those seniors who love to travel cross-country or for a relaxing get-away golf and spa weekend. With a price tag of around $42,000, the STS provides good value for a comfortable ride for a senior who loves to travel in luxury. – Rev. Joanne Tucker

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