Yes, the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Bentley Mulsanne are considered the best rear-wheel drive sedans in the world. Anyone can tell you that. They are cost no object, “let’s just see how good we can make this thing be” propositions, so of course they’re good. But what happens when a manufacturer has to work within the confines of a target price? What are the best rear-wheel drive sedans under those circumstances? Well, one very pleasant surprise for the 2015 model year is the Kia K900. A strong first effort from a brand known for considering value an integral aspect of its work, the model is certainly deserving of a look. Here are some other models we admire.
BMW 5 Series
Easily numbered among the most admired four-door sedans on the market, BMW’s 5 Series models nicely straddle the line between dynamic performance and sumptuous luxury. Further, the cars are technologically advanced, handsomely styled, and offered with a wide variety of powertrains. You can get a hybrid 5 Series, a diesel 5 Series, an awe-inspiring ultra high performance 5 Series, or a more comfort oriented 5 Series. What’s most impressive though is regardless of the model you choose; goodness is an integral part of the package. Output of its engines range from 240 horsepower to 575 horsepower. Transmissions include seven-speed automated manuals, six speed manuals, and eight-speed automatics. Other exceptional rear-drive sedans in the BMW lineup include the 3 Series, 7 Series, and the BMW Gran Coupe four-door models. BMW 5 Series pricing starts at $49,950.
When the Pontiac brand was shuttered, one of the most seriously lamented casualties was the Pontiac G8, based on the Australian Holden Commodore. Happily, the G8 has been reincarnated at the Chevrolet SS, based upon the contemporary version of the Aussie four-door. Power comes from a 6.2-liter V8 borrowed from the Corvette, producing 415 horsepower and 415 ft-lbs of torque. This output is routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include Brembo brakes, a high performance suspension system, dual-zone automatic climate control, automated parallel parking, and leather upholstery. Pricing starts at $45,745.
For the 2015 model year, Dodge has endowed Charger with the 707-horsepower supercharged Hellcat V8 we were first introduced to in the engine bay of the Challenger. The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 also generates an amazing 650 ft-lbs of torque. Conducting this power to the rear wheels is an eight-speed automatic transmission. This alone is enough to make the Charger fantastic, but there’s an entire range of other engines with output varying from 292 horsepower to 485. An eight-speed automatic transmission is employed for all Charger models. Standard features include keyless entry and ignition, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control, and a touchscreen interface. Dodge Charger pricing starts at $27,995.
Newly refreshed for the 2015 model year, Chrysler’s 300 boasts a legacy dating back to the 1950s. In fact, Chrysler’s flagship is in many ways a throwback to the large rear-drive American land yachts of yore, except the 300 corners and brakes just as well as it goes. Two engines are offered for 2015, both paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6-liter V6 makes 292 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque, while the 5.7-liter V8 makes 363 horsepower and 394 ft-lbs of torque. Plus, you’ll get keyless entry and ignition, an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, and dual-zone automatic climate control—as standard equipment. Pricing starts at $32,930.
Hyundai redid the Genesis Sedan for the 2015 model year, and many critics are hailing the car as an achievement worthy of car of the year status. Power comes from a choice of two engines; the base powerplant is a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 with 293 ft-lbs of torque. The optional engine offering is a 5.0-liter V8 capable of delivering 420 horsepower on premium-unleaded fuel and 407 on regular unleaded. Maximum torque output is 383 ft-lbs on premium and 372 ft-lbs on regular. Available features include an in-dash eight-inch monitor featuring navigation and a rearview camera, rain sensing windshield wipers, and a self-opening trunk. Pricing for the 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 starts at $38,000; the Genesis 5.0 starts at $51,500.
Based on Nissan’s front midships platform, the Infiniti Q50 is essentially a front mid-engine sedan blessed with exceptional balance. The styling of the Infiniti was updated for the 2014 model year to incorporate more gracefully flowing curves, a bolder looking front end, and subtle character lines. The interior treatment was also revised to deliver a more luxurious environment. Power comes courtesy of a 328-horsepower V6 engine with 269 ft-lbs of torque. A seven-speed transmission completes the rear-drive powertrain. A hybrid version is also offered. Other rear-drive Infiniti models include Q40, Q70 and Q70L. Infiniti Q50 Pricing starts at $37,150.
Often overlooked, but a wonderful car nonetheless, the mid-sized Jaguar sedan pales in the shadow of its XJ sibling. However, the Jaguar XF offers a very distinct set of attributes. Comfortable and quiet, yet agile and fleet, the XF is a highly desirable sport sedan. Power comes from a choice of five engines, ranging in output from 240 horsepower and 251 ft-lbs of torque to 550 horsepower and 502 ft-lbs of torque. Standard features include front and rear parking sensor arrays, keyless entry and ignition, automatic wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, and leather upholstery. Jaguar XF pricing starts at $50,175.
The feisty 2015 Lexus IS sedan offers a choice of two engines and two trim levels. Lexus IS 250 models get a 2.5-liter V6 good for 204 horsepower, while IS 350 models use a 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. The 2.5 uses a six-speed transmission regardless of the driven wheels, while the 3.5 goes with an eight-speed automatic for its rear-drive iterations. Both engines can also be had with the Lexus IS F-Sport package, which tightens the suspension system and adds other sporting-oriented enhancements. Other Lexus rear drive sedans include the GS and the flagship LS. Lexus IS pricing starts at $36,550
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the marque’s mainstay four-door sedan, offers something for practically every set of automotive sensibilities. Whether your tastes run more toward economical operation, luxury and comfort, or outright road-burning high performance, Mercedes has an E-Class model configured just for you. The gasoline-fueled engines range in output from 302-horsepower and 273 ft-lbs of torque, up to 577-horsepower and 590 ft-lbs of torque. The clean-burning diesel engine produces 195-horsepower and 369 ft-lbs of torque. All E-Class sedans use seven-speed automatic transmissions. Pricing starts at $51,800.
Porsche’s mission statement is to build sports cars—period. This is why the Panamera is basically a sports car in disguise. Yes, we know it doesn’t look like a sports car, but it goes like one and that’s what really counts. In the case of the Panamera, it also cossets its occupants in a manner befitting a flagship German luxury sedan. Offered in an absolutely amazing 11 trim levels, Panamera’s engines range in output from 310 horsepower to 570. Standard features include auto-leveling bi-xenon headlights, a chilled glove box, navigation, a sunroof, Internet connectivity, an 11-speaker sound system, and front and rear parking sensor arrays. Pricing starts at $78,100.