If you love leather, wood, and metal, these are the interiors you'll want to sit in.
A car's exterior styling is often a major influencer when people make their purchase but the interior is where they will spend all of their time. We think a car's interior is actually more important than how it looks on the outside, which is why we've devoted an entire award to it. These are our choices for the Best Interior of the Year in 2019, regardless of price. Yes, this means all of the choices on this list will have pretty high price tags but we just wouldn't feel right arguing that some everyday luxury car has a nicer interior than an ultra-plush exotic.
Some interiors that just missed the cut include the Aston Martin DB11, Audi Q8, Mercedes S-Class Coupe/Convertible, and Volvo XC90. But of all the cars we drove this year, these are the three with our favorite cabins.
The 2019 Lexus LC 500 turns heads with its concept car styling but this beauty continues into the cabin. Nearly every surface is covered with expensive leather, Alcantara, or metal with nary a piece of plastic to be found. We adore the beautifully-stiched patterns on the seats and doors and the futuristic, driver-centric layout of the cockpit. Our LC tester was equipped with a lovely tan interior but Lexus has also introduced a number of special edition variants with unique interior colors such as blue, orange, and yellow.
We aren't fans of Lexus' infotainment system in the dashboard but the LFA-inspired gauge cluster is a standout feature. Not only do the gauges change depending on your drive mode, but it also slides to reveal another screen, just like the LFA supercar. With a starting price of $92,300, the LC 500 is actually the least expensive vehicle on this list by a large margin.
Unlike many other luxury vehicles that attempt to overwhelm the driver with an abundance of interior technology, the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan takes car interiors back to basics with premium materials and simple design. There's enough wood in this cabin to light a campfire and if you touch a button or switch that looks like metal, you better believe it's the real deal. When you first step into the Cullinan's cabin, your feet will sink into the cushy lambswool carpets... at a cost of $1,500, of course.
Unlike the two other cars on this list, the back seat is the place to be in the Cullinan. We had the chance to drive a Cullinan with the $8,000 theater configuration, $4,000 picnic tables, and $17,500 fixed rear seat middle console. For a bit of added excess, that middle console even features a pair of champagne flutes mounted in a mini-fridge. The base price of a Cullinan is a pricey $325,000 but the one we tested carried an even higher price tag of $420,000.
We'll be honest here, this award had the shortest discussion out of any this year. That's because the 2019 Bentley Continental GT blew us away from the moment we stepped inside. Every square inch of this interior can tell a story and it's almost impossible to talk about each element. It takes 1,000 people devoting 100 man-hours to build each Continental GT using 10 cowhides and 2.8 kilometers of stitching. In fact, the diamonds found on the diamond-in-diamond patterns for the seats use 712 stitches each.
Then there's the dashboard, which uses one piece of uninterrupted wood. Fire up the engine and the wood panel rotates to reveal either a 12.3-inch touchscreen or a trio of analog gauges. This is a cabin fit for James Bond and it makes you feel cooler just sitting in it. If you ever have to ask yourself why the Continental GT costs $200,000, just sit in one and the answer will become apparent.