Cars are primarily thought of as machines for getting from place to place, but automotive enthusiasts know that is not necessarily the case. We view automobiles as means of enjoyment and modification, as do many car manufacturers, which means that they build cars specifically designed for enjoyment.
While there are plenty of automakers that just build normal, everyday cars for people – like Suzuki, Toyota and Honda – there are others that make exciting, fast and awesome cars – like the models from BMW , Bugatti and Chevy. These cars are built to conquer production land speed records, beat lap times and be the best of the best on the road. Unfortunately, some of the cars specifically designed to do these things turn out to be pretty bad for everything other than their duties. For example, the Maybach 57 is a fantastic luxury car to drive, but quite boring to drive. Another would be the Bugatti Veyron. It may be monstrously fast, but it’s big and heavy, which makes it pretty terrible around a track.
So while there are fantastic cars out there that make us all giddy with desire, there are some that just aren’t enough. Here are ten expensive cars that can be pretty awful to drive outside of their designated limits.
ten Maybach 57
The Maybach 57 was the revival of the Maybach marque by the then DaimlerChrysler marque in the early 2000s. The 57 was the lower model, while the 62 was the long-wheelbase version – which also had many special editions, including the Landaulet and the Zeppelin.
The 57 was powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V12, producing 540 hp in its lowest version. The 57 started at $360,000 – before options – and continued through to the 62 Landaulet which was priced at an astronomical $1.35 million – again, before options. The Maybach 57 and 62 were sold between 2000 and 2012 and although they were comfortable to drive, they weren’t the most dynamic vehicles to drive – especially not compared to the much cheaper Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG.
9 Mercedes-Benz EQS
The most luxurious of the current horde of electric cars is undoubtedly the Mercedes-Benz EQS. It promises to be the S-Class of electric luxury, and it has impressed so far. Unfortunately, the car has questionable styling and, due to the starting price of $102,000, isn’t the cheapest in the class.
The EQS is equipped with two different battery sizes – either 100 or 120 KWh – offering between 360 and 480 miles of range, depending on battery capacity and engine options. The EQS also has the lowest drag coefficient of any production car, helping it achieve its impressive range. Unfortunately, like every other current electric car, the EQS feels numb and uncommunicative when hammered down a twisty road, resulting in a less than satisfying driving experience. Fortunately, the E63S AMG is still available with a V8 is available for more or less the same price.
8 BMW X6
The BMW X5 was a marvel in the sports SUV market. It redefined what an SUV could be and to capitalize on that, BMW created an entirely new segment – the coupe SUV. The first car they unveiled was the X6, and it was big, ugly and expensive – but it sold in the thousands.
The weird thing was that it wasn’t even that fun to drive. It also had less practicality than the cheaper X5 and thanks to the silly sloping roofline it had less headroom than the 3 Series. Overall it was a terrible car. And yet, BMW still produces it because customers still want it.
seven Audi SQ7
The Audi SQ7 had a bit of a rocky start to the world. The first generation Q7 was actually a very good vehicle. It had good and interesting engines and has now become a bargain on the used market. It even featured the largest diesel engine ever installed in a production car, a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12.
The second-generation Q7 was a bit more grown-up and as such the ‘S’ version had a diesel engine to reflect that. It didn’t sell very well, so Audi quickly replaced it with a twin-turbo V8 starting with the Q8 – and the Urus, Bentayga and Cayenne – as they’re all built on the same platform. The problem is that the SQ7 is big, heavy and just doesn’t look as good or ride as well as other vehicles, which makes it quite redundant. As a result, many customers opt for the SQ8 instead.
6 Lincoln Blackwood
The Lincoln Blackwood was a vehicle ahead of its time. Ford wanted to test the waters with luxury pickups and so asked its Lincoln division to come up with a model. They took the humble Ford F-150 and spruce it up with luxury features, faux wood paneling on the side and an interesting bed box situation in the back, before selling it way over the top. what anyone would pay for an on-time pickup.
The Blackwood was a failure, but Lincoln tried again with the Mark LT a few years later. Unfortunately, it was also a bit early. The Blackwood only had one engine – the 5.4-litre V8 – and was only rear-wheel-drive since it was just a normal F-150 underneath, so it didn’t roll very good – especially not for the over $50,000 asking price in 2001.
5 Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the most instantly recognizable SUVs and off-roaders ever made, right up there alongside the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Defender. For some reason – most likely money – Maybach grabbed it and created the G650 Landaulet.
The G650 was a raised version of the normal G-Class, much like the G63 4×42, but as the name suggests, it has a Landaulet roof. It also has portal axles and a twin-turbo V12 engine producing 620 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. To top it off, it has a price tag of around $1.2 million. A lot of money for a vehicle that probably doesn’t drive particularly well on or off the road.
4 Polestar 1
The Polestar 1 is the first of the Swedish company’s cars. The 1 is based on the Volvo S90 sedan, but in a sleek 2-door coupé body style and shares much of Volvo’s parts and systems. The Polestar 1 is powered by a twin-charged inline-4 mated to two electric motors running through an 8-speed automatic, producing a combined 600 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque.
While the Polestar 1 is gorgeous in design and an excellent grand tourer, the electronic nannies that govern the car are too intrusive. The car also costs from $156,000, making it quite an expensive vehicle that isn’t necessarily fun-loving.
3 Ferrari F355 F1
The Ferrari F355 succeeded the 348, which mostly only included cosmetic changes and mechanical engine upgrades. The F355 had some engine problems during its production – which Ferrari did not fix – resulting in expensive repairs by owners. However, by far the most annoying part of the F355 was the F1-style automatic-manual transmission.
Ferrari was adamant about showcasing its paddle-shift gearbox “which came from its F1 car”, but it wasn’t the most sophisticated transmission out there. It was slow, clunky, and had many issues that needed to be fixed or the vehicle simply wouldn’t run. So while the F355 was a great car to drive, many owners opted for the manual or had their cars swapped out for a manual.
2 Aston Martin Vanquish
As with the Ferrari F355, the Aston Martin Vanquish had a F1-style paddle shift gearbox. The gearbox was by far the car’s biggest problem, as it was silly in traffic and at slow speeds, took forever to change gears and had some of the worst ‘chicken kicks’ of all expensive performance cars.
Aston Martin tried to solve this problem with the Vanquish S, greatly improving the responsiveness of the transmission, but it still made driving uncomfortable. Fortunately, the man who originally designed the Vanquish, Ian Callum, has settled in and offers modernized versions of the Vanquish, either with a manual or a conventional automatic torque converter, improving the overall experience considerably.
1 Mercedes Maybach GLS 600
The Mercedes-Maybach brand is currently in full swing with its S-Class, but to compete with the Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Maybach had to up their game. As a result, they took the GLS SUV and gave it the Maybach treatment. .
The interior is completely redesigned with softer leather, four seats instead of five and more luxury in the back row than the Queen of England has in her purpose-built Bentley. Unfortunately, much of the normal (cheaper) GLS DNA remained behind, spoiling the exclusivity and driving experience a bit. Still, it’s a pretty imposing sight with the Maybach grille in the rear-view mirror.