Consumer Reports Worst Ultra Luxury Car Is Also the Most Expensive

We pay more for high-quality. Whether we spend an extra couple of dollars for organic vegetables or splurge on clothing made from premium materials, higher prices generally signal better quality. However, this isn’t always the case, especially regarding cars. Some luxury vehicles seem clearly superior from their ads. Yet, when you look closely enough, you realize it doesn’t have the goods. Take the Tesla Model S, which is not only the most expensive ultra luxury car in recent Consumer Reports rankings but also the worst.

The Genesis G90 is the cheapest ultra luxury car on Consumer Reports

It may seem odd that the Tesla Model S, with its buzz-worthy brand, would fail to deliver in the ultra luxury car segment. However, sometimes, you can get more for less. Of course, with high five-figure and six-figure starting prices, you’re not exactly going to get anything cheap in this segment. Still, when you look at the Consumer Reports‘ rankings, it’s obvious that you can get a bit more – and better – for less.

If you look at the least expensive vehicle on this list – the Genesis G90, you’ll see a car worthy of serious consideration. From a relatively new Hyundai sub-brand, the Genesis G90 impresses in nearly every arena. Its eight-speed automatic transmission control either a 365-hp producing 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 or a 420-hp generating 5.0-liter V8. CR reviewers appreciate the responsiveness and handling, but the luxury interior is where it shines.

The G90 is quite refined with a wood and chrome trim and soft-touch styling. It also has power seating in the front and back, an audio system that ranks at the top of its class, and user-friendly controls for its standard head-up display, 12.3-inch touchscreen, and navigation. It starts at $74,950, which may make you wonder whether it is indeed high-end enough to be considered an ultra luxury car. However, one ride inside a G90 should convince you that this Hyundai can compete in this segment.

The Tesla Model S is the most expensive and worst ultra luxury car

A Tesla Model S electric luxury sedan model on display at a Tesla store in Palo Alto, California
Tesla Model S | Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At a steep starting price of $99,990, the Tesla Model S needs to get everything right. Unfortunately, according to Consumer Reports, it doesn’t. CR has Model S as the most expensive and lowest-rated vehicle in the ultra luxury car class.

Having made waves for its long driving range (405 miles for its Long Range variant), quick acceleration (0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds), and its super powerful Plaid edition, the Tesla Model S does have quite a few buzzworthy features. However, the Model S is far from perfect. Start with the yoke steering wheel, which is polarizing for justifiable reasons. Critics note that it’s difficult to perform hand-over-hand movements using it, compromising safety.

Add to this is the replacement of turn signal and windshield wiper stalks with touch-sensitive buttons. Then figure in the replacement of the gear-selector, as well as air vents, steering wheel controls, and mirror adjusters with the infotainment screen, and there’s a huge learning curve that may prove too much for some drivers to handle.

CR reviewers also pointed out that the rear seat is cramped, and vehicle access is awkward. The blind-spot warning substitutes the conventional flashing icon with a display of adjacent vehicles that doesn’t capture the driver’s attention well. Elsewhere, the auto high beams are overly sensitive and prone to turn off erratically. Additionally, Consumer Reports noted Tesla’s well-known build quality problems.

Consumer Reports calls the BMW 7 Series the best in its class


How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2022 Tesla Model S Cost?

You surely don’t want to be stuck with a shoddily finished vehicle if you’re spending nearly six figures. While the Genesis G90 certainly has captured some attention, you may not want to take a chance on a newer, noticeably cheaper brand for your luxury ride. So, perhaps something in the middle of the pack, pricing-wise, may be worth a look.

The 2022 BMW 7 Series falls nicely between the Genesis G90 and the Tesla Model S at a starting price of $86,800. It is also Consumer Reports’ highest-rated vehicle in the ultra luxury car category. Given BMW’s reputation for producing high-class, high-quality vehicles, this shouldn’t come as a shock. However, if you’ve never driven or ridden in a 7 Series, the combination of performance and luxury you experience during an actual test drive may be a surprise.

On paper, the BMW 7 Series is superb. The entry-level trim, the 740i, comes with a turbocharged I6 engine that produces 335 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque and can hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. Producing 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque from its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, it can hit 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. Additionally, the 760i shaves a tenth of a second off that time with a 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 engine that produces 601 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. 

These variants come with beautifully decadent interior styling, numerous comfort amenities like seat massage options, and intuitive and comprehensive tech features. Despite Tesla’s brand prominence right now, the tried-and-true BMW may be your best bet for your next ultra luxury vehicle.