Upper class

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Tesla Model S , best-selling luxury car in Europe and USA in 2017.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class , best-selling luxury car in Germany in 2017.

Upper Class is the name of the highest car - segment of the Federal Motor Vehicle Office . In the vehicle segments of the European Commission , this segment is called luxury class or F-segment , upper class refers to the upper middle class in the sense of the Federal Motor Transport Authority. This class contains large, comfortable, powerful and therefore very expensive vehicles. The US full-size cars correspond to the upper class in size, but not necessarily in terms of engines and equipment.

Usually only sedans , coupés and convertibles are offered in this class , but no station wagons . Recently, however, an increasing number of SUVs in this vehicle class have also been produced. Because many vehicles are getting bigger and more powerful over time, the description of a vehicle class is always a snapshot.

Is the best selling car in the luxury class in Europe and USA 2017, the battery-electric-powered Tesla Model S . The best-selling luxury class car in Germany in 2017 is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class .

Current models available in the EU

Current models not available in the EU

Features 1990

In 1990, luxury-class vehicles offered at least six cylinders , 3.0 liters of displacement and an engine output of around 130 kW in the basic model . An exception was the Mercedes 260 SE, a model from the W-126 series. It had an engine with a displacement of 2.6 liters and 118 kW. Eight-cylinder engines were available from Audi , Lexus and Mercedes . In addition, the luxury-class vehicles from BMW and Jaguar were also available with twelve-cylinder engines. In 1990 diesel engines did not play a role in the luxury class. Only Mercedes built the S-Class with a diesel engine, but only for export to the USA.

The length of luxury vehicles began in 1990 at around 4.9 meters and ended in the versions with long wheelbase at around 5.20 meters.

Luxury sedans almost exclusively had rear-wheel drive ; it was not until the presentation of the Audi V8 in 1988 that a new type of drive was introduced in this vehicle class with all-wheel drive. From the mid-1990s, front-wheel drive was also increasingly added.

Examples 1990

1990 data

model Price range power cylinder Length of the basic version Length long version
Audi V8 99,000 DM to 150,000 DM 184 kW to 206 kW 8th 4871 mm 5190 mm
BMW 7 Series 65,000 DM to 134,000 DM 138 kW to 220 kW 6, 12 4910 mm 5024 mm
Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham 70,000 DM to 90,000 DM 191 kW 8th 5715 mm unavailable
Jaguar XJ40 80,000 DM to 111,000 DM 163 kW to 194 kW 6, 12 4988 mm unavailable
Lexus LS400 88,000 DM 180 kW 8th 5005 mm unavailable
Lincoln Town Car 70,000 DM to 84,000 DM 140 kW 8th 5560 mm unavailable
Mercedes-Benz S-Class 64,000 DM to 137,000 DM 118 kW to 205 kW 6, 8 5020 mm 5160 mm


As technology carriers of the manufacturers, upper-class vehicles usually offer a significantly higher level of comfort than the classes below and usually more active and passive safety. The technologies installed and tested in the upper class are then used in lower-class classes, such as features such as steering wheel heating, navigation systems, automatic air conditioning or autonomous driving.

Historic luxury cars

New registrations in Germany

For figures on the annual new registrations of passenger cars in the upper class segment in Germany according to statistics from the Federal Motor Transport Authority , see the list of new passenger car registrations in Germany by segment and model series # upper class .

Further information

Web links

Wiktionary: Upper class  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Tesla Model S in front of the Mercedes S-Class and 7-series BMW in sales in 2017. manager-magazin.de, February 20, 2018, accessed on November 1, 2018 .
  2. a b Large luxury cars - US sales by model 2017. statista.com, accessed November 1, 2018 .
  3. Car prices within the European Union at 1 January 2011. (PDF) European Commission , 26 July 2011, accessed on 8 February 2015 .
  4. Mark Christian Schneider: Luxury models find too few buyers. In: handelsblatt.com . January 4, 2011, accessed February 11, 2015 .