We’re going in a different direction with this one. Normally we like to say things like “Options for all price points” or “a range for all incomes.” Not with this top 10 list. We’re going to focus on the quietest cars, in our opinion, without a nod to price or availability.
What does it mean to want a quiet ride? Why would a quiet ride be important to you? Quite simply, the quieter a car is, the more expensive it usually is. Engineers and brands pay extra attention the exterior design to minimize air drag at speed, specify higher quality, tactile materials for the interior, like thick carpeting and tufted mohair, use acoustic glass and fiber insulation, and engineer expansive strut and welding systems. All of these materials, designs, and manufacturing cost money. Some cars even utilize sound deadening electronics to help quiet the interior.
Simply put, ultra quiet cars aren’t designed for senior citizens or families with newborns. Ultra quiet cars are a hallmark of Luxury. That solid click when you close the door. You’re ensconced in silence. Luxury.
Perhaps the biggest jump in overall vehicle quietness has been the introduction of electric luxury vehicles… after all the engine noise isn’t an issue with these and this gives them a boost in this area. Still, just because a vehicle is all electric doesn’t give it the quietest “ride.” The Ford Focus Electric and GM Volt and Bolt employ cheaper materials and clunky pieces of plastic that make noise when at speed.
Our list is geared towards silence at all times. At the stoplight, or at 110 on the autobahn. Without further ado and price deference, here’s our top 10.
#10. Audi A8
13 years ago when we bought our second house and had contractors in for estimates, I was driving one of our company fleet vehicles for review: A beautiful A8 L. Needless to say any contractor who saw me in this car bid higher. Way higher.
In 2014 Audi introduced new mass dampers and enhanced sound insulation in their A8 model line, and it is this model that continues to be sold today. The 2019 Audi A8 is indeed luxurious. Standard luxury features include adaptive air suspension, Bang & Olufsen® sound system with 3D sound, and Audi’s award-winning MMI® Navigation plus and Virtual Cockpit. Available items that are among this vehicle’s coolest are Audi’s air sense filtration and high tech Audi Pre-Sense® 360 safety monitoring system.
#9. BMW 7-Series
BMW isn’t normally known for silence. It’s the sporty, luxury German brand, known for robust handling and pricey MSRP. Having said that, the manufacturer’s highline sedan is indeed luxurious and has a quiet ride; especially equipped with its E-Hybrid drivetrain. At the start and low speed, the silence is golden. Ahhh… hear that? Nothing.
In its sixth generation, the 2019 BMW 7 Series has a new, tapered yet chiseled design. The sedan uses technology to keep noise, at speed, at bay, including active kidney grilles at the front of the vehicle where “flaps swing open and closed behind the grille bars, allowing cooling air to reach the engine when needed.” Sweeping aerodynamics also keep wind noise at bay, while luxurious and plus appointments on the inside, along with foam insulation and felt linings, keep vibrations and noise at a minimum.
#8. Rolls Royce Phantom
We’re going into the stratosphere here, but we’re talking quiet rides here people. Hold on. The 2019 Rolls Royce Phantom is the epitome of luxury. And according to popular editors and fanatics, it has been deemed “The Quietest Car In The World.”
This Rolls takes sound deadening to a whole new level. With over 300 lbs of sound insulation, 6 millimeter sound-proof, double glazed glass all around, an all aluminum frame with fewer joints to squeak, and double skin alloy used in the floor for extra solidity. The 2019 Phantom also uses dense foam to fill cavities and felt layers all around the cabin to round out the insulation. On the exterior, Rolls Royce even utilized “Silent-Seal” tires that have a layer of foam on the inside to reduce something called “Tire Cavity Noise.”
#7. Genesis G90
For those of you who don’t know, Genesis is the luxury brand of the premier Korean manufacturer, Hyundai. Known initially as a luxury sedan model under the Hyundai moniker, Genesis is now its own brand with 3 model options of its own: the G70, G80 and our selection here, the 2019 Genesis G90, for #7 in our list of quietest cars.
Hyundai has garnered awards and sales with its reputation for quality. The G90 takes all of the best of Hyundai and adds Audi-esque styling, amazing luxury options, incredible tech and lots of space. Ride quality provides a big boost to quietness here, along with premium sound deadening insulation, and thick upholstery and carpet. Hyundai’s Adaptive Control Suspension keeps things silences with mass damping. Other standard luxury items include 22-way power driver seat with power lumbar, shoulder, and bolster adjustment, Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension with Electronic Damping Control, and Full LED headlights with LED accents and Dynamic Bending Light.
#6. Land Rover Range Rover Velar
The kid brother to the Range Rover, yet still bigger than the Evoque and Discovery, The Range Rover Velar is a beautiful new vehicle under this iconic brand introduced in the 2018 model year. The 2019 Land Rover Range Rover Velar (a mouthful, we know), takes advances in sound deadening from its ultra-luxurious brother to new heights, with a more modern and tech look to its exterior design, and a gorgeous, almost alien-like spaceship interior.
The 2019 Velar offers fantastic transmission and dynamics technology that keeps road and engine noise to a minimum. Dynamic Stability Control™, Speed Proportional Electronic Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) and a fully independent coil sprung suspension system that combines double wishbones at the front with an advanced multi-link rear suspension design. Luxury materials abound inside that help keep noise to a minimum.
#5. Cadillac XT5
While Cadillac’s sedans have not been selling well, the eponymous Detroit brand has made headway with its new crossover, the 2019 Cadillac XT5. Long since relying on the Escalade for nearly all of its SUV (non-sedan) sales, the new XT5 brings a breath of fresh air to the car maker with beautiful, chiseled exterior and interior design, quality construction and use of new materials, and new tech. Yes the Escalade is still the king of the road, but we love the looks of this new model.
The XT5 crossover is quiet; it utilizes cylinder deactivation that seamlessly switches between V-4 and V-6 modes, and a lighter steel structure that touts high-strength adhesives keep the squeaking at bay. Other luxury and tech options include Bose® 14-speaker Studio Surround Sound System, Cadillac’s user experience Information and Media Control System with Embedded Navigation, LED Headlamps, front park and cornering and Tri-zone climate control.
#4. Lexus LS
We couldn’t have a list about quiet cars without a Lexus on it. Since its inception, Lexus has been known for its industry-setting quality of construction and luxurious, silky-smooth ride. For many Americans, Lexus was their first experience with this level of style and solid manufacturing, having perhaps been put off by the cost of similar European brands. And Lexus has aged well, especially it’s award-winning, top model, the LS.
The 2019 Lexus LS 500h uses a “holistic” strategy to combat noise. From sound deadening materials and designs like cowell spring covers, fender lining, floor silencing, sound insulation around the engine itself, a dash-silencer sealing system and wheel lining sound deadening, the LS is indeed silent. Special attention is also paid to reducing wind noise at speed, with designs that, among other things, prevent the airflow from hitting the inner side of the lower grille bars, air fins that prevent cavity noise, a sealer rubber hood, and smaller side mirrors.
#2. Mercedes Benz S Class
Mercedes vehicles are known for their quality, solid builds and smooth, quiet rides. With the introduction of its 3rd generation in 1991, Mercedes introduced cockpit-forward design (such a popular term in the ’80s), and along with it a reputation for forward thinking tech and quality. Whereas before the S Class was the standard in luxury simply because of the tri-spoke moniker, Mercedes set a course to lead the world in luxury thinking, and you can see how the 3rd generation greatly influenced the competition in the Lexus LS and the Audi A8 of the day.
Today’s 2019 Mercedes Benz S Class, including the ultra-sought-after AMG models, continue to lead the world’s brands in styling, tech, and luxury. Having closed down the Maybach moniker, Mercedes Benz now relies solely on the S series, indeed including a version of it called the Maybach. With standard sound deadening and heavy materials to match Rolls Royce, the model uses curvey design to hush wind and road noise. Industry-first Energizing Comfort Control™ is an amazing new feature that coordinates climate, fragrance, lighting, and music to change your mood. The only thing you’ll hear as you cruise down the road is the hum of your massaging seat.
#1. Tesla Model X
Tesla is re-inventing the way cars are manufactured, ordered and delivered. On top of this, it is the first, and best, luxury brand to use all-electric motors to propel the vehicle with whisper-like whrrs. Combined with stellar, plus and solid materials, sound deadening insulation, an industry-leading sound system, and absorbing, vegan leather-like seating options, there simply is not a better option on the road for a “Quiet Ride.”
The 2019 Tesla Model X, with its automatic closing doors, is something to behold. Once the door closes, you’re greeted by the most amazing silence, and that silence continues when you engage the drive shifter. There is no engine start-up, and there is no vibration from cylinders firing. There’s nothing. And you can’t get more quiet than nothing. A solid, all aluminum frame rounds out the structural rigidity that gives the feeling this crossover was chiseled from one solid piece of an alien spaceship.
The most amazing thing about this quiet ride is that, when you’re driving, you don’t want silence. The reason? The Tesla Ultra High Fidelity System is simply the best in-car audio we’ve ever heard. Bar-none. You’ll find yourself heading out to the garage to sit inside your Model X to listen to your favorite tunes instead of your expensive headphone. It’s that good.
While there are plenty of vehicles that have smooth and quiet rides, there are several that take luxury and silence to a whole new level. Other vehicles we deem worthy of your quality and luxury eye include the Volvo S90 sedan and XC90 Crossover, any other model from the Lexus Lineup, including the ES sedan, and the Tesla Model S sedan.