The first 20 years of the 2000s have been rife with amazing cars. Here are some of the best.
The luxury car market is one of the most innovative and competitive segments in the automotive industry, which means it is almost always packed with some of the most powerful and technologically advanced cars available.
It can be hard to narrow any list of luxury cars down to just five units, so we’ll make the distinction that these cars are not necessarily the best, most luxuriously appointed, or even the fastest on the market. We will concede, though, that they are each iconic in their own rights. Here they are, courtesy of AutoWise:
5. Audi R8 5.2 V10 FSI Quattro
The Audi R8 has all but stolen the show since it was introduced and immortalized as Tony Stark’s favorite car in the Iron Man movies. The R8 was initially introduced with a 4.2L 414 hp V8 but was replaced within 2 years by a 5.2L 525 hp V10; a modified version of the Lamborghini Gallardo’s powerplant at the time.
The second generation of the R8 shares its platform with the Lamborghini Huracan and, like its Italian cousin, is all-wheel drive. However, in 2017 Audi introduced the RWS (Rear Wheel Series) in a limited 999 units. The Audi R8 is undeniably one of the most iconic supercars of its generation.
4. Mercedes SLS AMG
While the official successor to the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the SLS is truly invoking the legacy of the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing in its design. While Mercedes is generally known for bi-turbo setups, the SLS was actually powered by one of the most powerful naturally-aspirated series engines of its time.
The 6.2L powerplant started with 563 hp and ended with 622 by the final iteration of the car. Apart from the track-ready GT3 version, the SLS also received a GT version, a Black Series run, and an E-Cell Electric Drive variant powered by four electric motors.
3. Lexus IS F
The Lexus ISF was almost an instant cult classic and, despite being properly replaced by the RC F and LC 500, has been sorely missed since its departure from the automotive world. The IS F was powered by a 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 good for 416 hp.
While the traditional luxurious appointments of the IS line made their way into the F series sedan, the IS F featured more aggressive exterior stylings and a sportier appearance. Perhaps the best part of the IS F, however, is that despite some of this loud styling, it really was a sleeper – almost indistinguishable from any other boring Lexus sedan at first glance.
2. Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Speaking of sleepers, if it weren’t for the V emblem on the back of the car, you might never know this performance variant of the Cadillac CTS shared its 5.7L LS6 V8 with the C5 Corvette Z06. The First generation also saw an LS2 6.0L V8 powerplant, but this was made to look tame next to the engine that would follow.
The second generation V received a 6.2L supercharged LSA good for 556 hp compared to the previous gen’s 400. While the CTS-V was offered as a sedan and as a very popular wagon, the most recognizable version has to be the coupe.
1. Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S has to be the most influential car of the 21st century thus far. While even the regular Model S is no slouch as far as performance is concerned, Tesla really showed its chops with its Ludicrous mode sedans. The P85D was the original, but the P100D is really the star of the show.
The P100D Model S has made headlines across the industry for slaying the likes of Godzilla (R35 GT-R), the Audi R8, and countless supercars across the market. Thanks to the instant torque of two electric motors, it can cover 0-60 in 2.28 seconds as of March 2017.
As far as luxury car performance is concerned, these are some of the most memorable cars of the 2000s thus far. The list of honorable mentions is far longer than the list itself, and we’re sure there are plenty of other great additions that should be here, so feel free to let us know in the comments!