Everyone’s heard about the famous Rolls Royce car company at least once. Established in the dawn of the automotive age in 1904, Rolls Royce soon became the manufacturer of the world`s best motor cars. Impeccable quality, meticulous craftsmanship, precision engineering and beautiful style became symbols of the brand as well as the Spirit of Ecstasy logo on the grille. Over the years, many companies tried to produce better and more advanced luxury cars but have been able to present such a complete package and beat the Rolls heritage and class. That being said, here are 7 less known and somewhat obscure alternatives to the famous British luxury brand.

Hongqi L5

The first car on the list is very interesting one, it comes from China under the name Hongqi which could be translated as “red flag”. Named after one of the main communist symbols, Hongqi is in fact concentrated on producing high class automobiles for high ranking party officials. The company is the oldest Chinese car factory which was established in 1958 and has been producing various models since. Their newest model is the L5, a retro futuristic luxury limousine designed as homage to Hongqi CA770 from 1966 which was used by the Chinese leader, Chairman Mao.

The new L5 comes in three versions; civilian, government spec and parade car. You get a solid 408 horsepower from a 6.0-liter V12 put down to the road via a four wheel drive system. You’re unlikely to ever buy one though because it costs a whopping $800,000 and even if you could afford it, its mostly for use by the Chinese government anyway.

ZIL 4112R

Despite the fact that the Soviet Union dissolved in the early `90s and the Russian car industry started producing western models, the highly exclusive and rare ZIL factory remained true to the concept of hand built limousines produced for top government officials and Soviet presidents. Even though local well-to-do customers mostly turned to premium models from European or American manufacturers, the Russian government and a small group of patriotic businessmen kept the ZIL brand alive.

The latest model, called 4112R was launched in 2006 and was based on late the `70s design of earlier models. It features a 7.7-liter V8 engine with 400 horsepower and a six speed automatic transmission. The ZIL 4112R is an enormous car; over 6 meters in length and weighing 3.8 tons (8,378 pounds). The base price is not available to the general public but its likely to be enormous. For more demanding customers, there is an armor-plating option which adds a few tons to its already insane curb weight.

Hyundai Equus Stretch Edition

We all know that the Korean car industry is one of the biggest in the world but despite its size, Koreans aren’t particularly competitive in the premium segment. At least they weren’t until 2009 when Hyundai unveiled the stretched version of its most expensive model,the Equus. This long wheelbase version is not just an extension of the existing sedan in order to provide more space and comfort for passengers on the rear seats; it is a thoroughly re-engineered model with numerous upgrades. At 5.6 meters in length, the Equus Stretch Edition is closer to the size of a Maybach or Rolls Royce Ghost.

With a 5.0-liter V8 and 400 horsepower, it is somewhat less powerful, however, Hyundai invested a lot into materials, fit and finish and the Equus Stretch Edition could be considered an interesting alternative if you are into obscure Asian luxury sedans. The Korean government is the biggest buyer so its unlikely that we will see any of those elegant beasts outside of the Korean peninsula.

Toyota Century

What do you drive if you are member of the Japanese Royal Family or a high ranking Yakuza member? A European luxury car? Nope. The Toyota Century. The Century is the best known Japanese premium limousine which debuted in 1967 when Toyota was still a small obscure car company from the Far East. Made almost entirely by hand, the Century has always represented the best that Toyota has to offer and it was interestingly only produced in right hand drive configuration which meant that its market was limited only to Asia.

In 2017, Toyota introduced the third generation of its cherished limousine in the form of the Century with the chassis code G60. The design is recognizably restrained and elegant with signature black colour and big chrome grille. The new Century is longer and bigger than before which means that the passengers have more space and comfort. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 hybrid replacing the naturally aspirated V12 engine from the previous generation.

Nissan President

Even though the Toyota Century is more popular as a high class Japanese hand built limousine, the Nissan President was the first such model introduced back in 1965 and in early years, it was even more popular than the Century. Nissan needed a model that would show off all of its production ability and what better way to do so than to compile all your know-how and engineering skills into a superb, prestigious and expensive sedan that the President has always been.

The President was produced in three generations from 1965 until 2010 when Nissan discontinued the model without a replacement. The last generation, introduced in 2001 was an elegant formal sedan produced in 5 or 4 seat configuration, depending on customer`s requirements. The 4 seat configuration was particularly well equipped and significantly more expensive than the standard President. The PGF50, as the last President was internally called, was powered by a 4.5-liter V8 engine which produced just 280 horsepower!

Maybach 57 and 62

One of the biggest pieces of news in the world of luxury automobiles was the revival of the legendary Maybach brand in the early 2000s. Designed as the direct competitors to Rolls Royce Phantom, Mercedes prepared two versions of its new flagship sedan – Maybach 57 and 62. The number designation was given according to the length of the car in decimetres. Both versions were powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 engine with 603 horsepower and 1000 Newton meters of torque.

The new Maybach displayed amazing level of comfort and equipment and customers had the freedom to personalize each example according to its own specifications, including colour and trim combination. Maybach was even offered in a highly exclusive open top version called Landaulet. Despite the immense effort by Mercedes and enormous investment in marketing and promotion of the Maybach brand, things just didn’t work out and sales numbers were far less than predicted. In 2013, company management decided to kill the brand and left Maybach only as an option on Mercedes S-Class sedan.

Lagonda Taraf

To complete the list, it would be crazy not to include this Aston Martin in the form of an unbelievably exclusive, expensive and elegant Lagonda Taraf limousine. Introduced in 2015, the Taraf is the latest incarnation of the famous Lagonda brand which has produced high class luxury models under the Aston Martin since 1947. Designed as the ultimate luxury limousine for the most demanding customers and engineered by Aston Martin`s specialists, the Taraf is a kind of luxury sports car/limo combination, combining a 6.0-liter V12 engine with 540 horsepower with lightweight construction.

Despite the stellar performance and gorgeous design there are two problems with this model. Firstly, it is made in ultra limited numbers, the Taraf being built in just 200 examples. Secondly, the price and each one costs a cool 1 million dollars. As always, they are all sold!

So there you are. Which cars did I miss? Let me know in the comments.