Finding that rare item is the ultimate in consumer satisfaction for the wealthy. But in the automobile world, exclusivity comes at a steep price.
Case in point: David Brown Automotive’s Speedback Silverstone Edition. This car will stop you in your tracks, if you’re lucky enough to spot one. It premiered at the Geneva International Motor Show in March, where the exquisite detailing wowed as much as its £620,000 ($1.1-million) price tag.
Canadian Matt Finbow, the car’s lead designer, says his role was to take the auto maker’s Grand Tourer model “and give it a more menacing and aggressive, performance-derived personality.”
The exterior paint finish of the Speedback, which is built in Britain, takes eight weeks to apply, and the cabin has brogued and embroidered leathers and open-pore, scorched wood veneers. The car backs up its good looks with a 0-100 km/h acceleration in 4.3 seconds.
Only 10 will be built, and none are destined for North America, so buying a Speedback is a bucket-list dream for most.
The average price for a new luxury vehicle varies across Canada, says Robert Karwel, senior manager, automotive practice, at J.D. Power, with Vancouver’s average the highest at $70,749. Calgary was second at $61,533, Toronto third at $57,395, and Montreal fourth with $53,528.
Here are the cars that wealthy Canadians are buying now. They are ranked by their 2017 “turn rate,” meaning the length of time they sat on dealers’ lots – a good measure of popularity. We’ve also broken down the turn rates by sex; men tend to prefer sports cars and women like SUVs.
Lexus LC Series
Turn rate: 12 days for men, no rate available for women
Price: $102,100; Hybrid: $118,600
This car comes with all the safety, luxury and comfort features you’d expect, from pre-collision pedestrian detection to Lexus Enform, the connectivity and infotainment multi-media package. Both models are rear-wheel-drive; the performance package ($115,600) includes sport seats, a retractable rear spoiler, carbon-fibre roof and 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Turn rate: 14 days for women, 19 days for men
This vehicle had the fastest turn rate for female buyers. Lexus doesn’t offer any add-on features or packages for this full-size SUV; choosing one of its five colours is the main decision you’ll make if you like this eight-seater. All the luxury and roominess will cost you, however, as fuel economy is a thirsty 15.9 litres/100 km (combined highway and city). Filling the 93-litre tank with premium gas will cost more than $150 in Vancouver.
Turn rate: 16 days for men, 24 days for women
Available as a five- or seven-seater, this sporty midsize crossover SUV offers a full complement of standard and optional safety features including adaptive cruise control, full-colour heads-up display and electronic-assist systems that keep you at a safe distance from surrounding cars. Combined fuel consumption is 11.1 litres/100 km for its V-6 engine.
Turn rate: 17 days for women, no rate available for men
Price: $71,900-$88,400; the X6 M model starts at $114,700
BMW calls the X6 a “sports activity coupe.” It’s designed to have a sportier look and feel than the average SUV, and with only four seats, it may be a little less practical, too. The M series model has a V-8 engine, 8-speed manual or automatic M Steptronic transmission and 21-inch alloy wheels. Its 0-100 km/h acceleration of 4.2 seconds is impressive, but its automatic start/stop and brake energy regeneration features may be more useful in everyday city driving as they reduce fuel consumption.
Turn rate: 21 days for men, 27 days for women
This compact luxury SUV had a great year in 2017; according to the auto-data site GoodCarBadCar.net it was the second most popular luxury vehicle in Canada, selling more than 10,000 units, a 23.6-per-cent jump over the year before.
With a price not much higher than a loaded non-luxury compact SUV such as a Ford Escape Titanium ($38,189) or a Volkswagen Tiguan Highline ($39,175), the Q5 is a good example of a phenomenon Mr. Karwel has been seeing. Namely, luxury vehicles are not rising in price; many brands are instead pushing downmarket into smaller premium segments, such as the compact luxury SUV market.
Audi A4 Allroad
Turn rate: 24 days for men, no rate available for women
SUVs have all but eliminated the station wagon, once ubiquitous in suburban driveways. The A4 Allroad Quattro is a sensible luxury ride for drivers who still prefer a car but need space for people and gear. All-wheel drive is standard, as are 18-inch wheels (19-inchers are available as part of a $1,400 sport package). The $1,600 interior package includes ventilated front sport seats with lumbar control and retractable sun shades for the rear doors. Optional accessories include a kayak rack, dog harnesses and a ski bag.
Turn rate: 24 days for both women and men
Sports car purists were shocked and dismayed in 2002 when Porsche introduced its first four-door production vehicle, the midsize crossover Cayenne SUV, but buyers quickly warmed to it. Now the Macan, Cayenne’s smaller sibling, is easily the German auto maker’s most popular vehicle in Canada; 3,767 were sold last year, a solid 34 per cent increase over the previous year. The wide price range of the Macan is noteworthy, as a fully loaded Turbo model with performance package costs almost twice as much as the base. The Turbo has a V-6 producing 440 horsepower with 0-100 km/h acceleration of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 272 km/h.
Turn rate: 24 days for men, no rate available for women
Price: $104,000 (Carrera) to $334,000 (GT2 RS)
Porsche offers an impressive range in its iconic 911, starting with the seven-speed, manual-transmission, rear-wheel-drive base model with a top speed of 295 km/h. On the top end, the powerful GT2 RS has a full complement of aerodynamic, racing and performance features and a remarkable 0-100 km/h acceleration of 2.8 seconds. Its large air intakes and outlets and wide front spoiler lip improve performance and give this car the appearance of a (very fast) shark.