We drove a lot of luxury and exotic cars in 2023. These were the best.
As the luxury and exotic car segments continue to flourish, so have duPont REGISTRY’s reviews. In 2023, we drove more cars, traveled to more destinations, and brought you more vehicle reveals than ever before. We’ve covered practically every new model to launch from almost every major automaker. As such, narrowing down the list to our top 10 favorites proved to be quite the challenge. Rather than picking the most impressive cars on paper, we’re focusing our selections on the machines that delivered the most memorable experiences behind the wheel.
10. Aston Martin DBX 707
The 707 treatment brings much-needed excitement and flair to the Aston Martin DBX. It takes a solid base and improves it with tremendous speed and performance. However, its hustle up a twisty back road presents the real thrill. The AMG-sourced 697-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 grabs all the headlines, but the 707’s suspension, and the calibration of its all-wheel-drive, allows for a bit of tail-happiness. As high-powered SUVs become ubiquitous, the range-topping DBX stands apart as one of the most exhilarating.
9. Maserati MC20 Cielo
Although we were previously impressed with its coupe counterpart, in 2023, the Maserati MC20 Cielo and its retractable hardtop stole our attention. The Cielo loses none of the coupe’s capabilities or agility, and driving with the top down adds an extra dimension. While its twin-turbo V6 isn’t the most exotic-sounding powerplant in the segment, it creates tons of turbo spooling and whooshing noises that pump drama back in. Without a doubt, what kept us thinking about the Cielo is its styling — it is uncomplicated, elegant, and memorable.
8. Lotus Emira
The Lotus Emira earned its spot on the list by reminding us what a sports car should be. While its competitors grow larger, heavier, and more tech-filled than ever, the Emira offers all the creature comforts you’d ever want in a package that still feels genuinely light. Hustling it around at practically any speed promises a good time. Close gear ratios mean you’re constantly upshifting and downshifting as you try to keep the revs high. It’s a sports car in the traditional sense — and one we’d choose over some competitors that cost up to twice as much.
7. Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
CoThe Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is, the most capable performance SUV we’ve tested. It’s not only quick in a straight line, but also genuinely athletic in the bends. It tackles a back road like no SUV should be able to, yet it doubles as a cozy commuter. The 2024 model received a facelift and a power bump up to 650 horsepower, making it one of the best all-rounders currently on sale.py
6. BMW M3 CS
Drawing inspiration from the M4 CSL, the M3 CS pushes this sporty sedan’s persona closer to that of a dedicated track toy. It’s lighter, firmer, and more powerful, making it feel far more exciting than its standard production counterpart. Although arguably too stiff to drive daily, the CS is the car we always hoped the M3 Competition would offer. As the carmaker’s products become more refined with each new generation, the CS reminds us that BMW can still build a raw and roaring four-door.
5. Bentley Flying Spur S V8
What impresses most about the Bentley Flying Spur S V8 is how it drives. Downsizing from a W12 to a V8 takes the weight off the nose while its active anti-roll bars and finely tuned suspension allow it to tackle a twisty road in full anger. It is balanced, genuinely agile, and properly quick in a straight line. A subtle growl from the massive exhaust tips further adds a hint of sportiness that results in a nicely rounded driving experience. Oh, and of course, it’s a beautifully appointed luxury sedan, too.
4. Lucid Air Sapphire
Of the entire list, we spent the least time with the Lucid Air Sapphire, yet it still managed to leave a lasting impression. It’s not just a spec monster, although the 1,234-horsepower output certainly helps. Instead, it’s the Sapphire’s dynamics that landed it in a top spot. Supercar quick in the bends, the Sapphire confidently puts all of its power down in even less-than-ideal conditions thanks to the custom development by Lucid engineers. Perhaps no other car we’ve tested is easier to drive at speed than Lucid’s $250,000 flagship.
3. McLaren Artura
Although the McLaren Artura hit some bumps on its way to production, the resulting car is worth the weight. It seamlessly integrates its electric motor with a 120-degree twin-turbo V6 to deliver effortless acceleration despite many behind-the-scenes complexities. Despite housing an electric motor and a small battery pack, the model tips the scales at 3,303 pounds, making it not only mighty with 671 horsepower, but also a genuine lightweight among its peers. Add in hydraulic steering and a stiff chassis, and it delivers tons of feedback, making the Artura one of the most exciting supercars of 2023.
2. Rolls-Royce Spectre
Worthy of a long list of superlatives, the electrified Rolls-Royce Spectre is likely the quietest and most comfortable luxury car we’ve ever tested. We’ve driven it around Napa Valley, through the Valley of Fire, and on a road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Every time we log miles, the Spectre further cements itself as one of our favorites. Costing more than $500,000 with options, such excellence is expected. What isn’t is how far it surpasses even its closest siblingsdrive of 2023.
1. Ferrari 296 GTB Asseto Fiorano
Although we drove the Ferrari 296 GTB Assetto Fiorano toward the beginning of 2023, nothing else we tested could dethrone it from the top spot. Like the Artura, it combines an electric motor with a 120-degree twin-turbo V6. However, it develops a whopping 819 horsepower, making it one of the quickest cars we’ve ever tested. Speed aside, the 296 is almost faultless from a driving perspective. Behind the wheel, you’d be hard-pressed to sense its heft at 3,700 pounds; the Assetto Fiorano feels light and agile and generates tremendous grip. Yet it’s still easy to hustle through a canyon. Combined with elegant styling and a unique engine note, the 296 GTB tops our list as the most memorable drive of 2023.