I finally found the car I was looking for - initially the performance is great, the ride is smooth and wonderfully responsive, both on the highway and in the mountains; the controls are not as complicated as some indicate, the noise level is the best (lowest) of all the cars I tested, and the interior is exquisite. The car loves to be driven and the driver feels alive and excited. There is plenty of power and plenty of luxury - combined with a sense of sportiness, makes this a competitive combination almost unbeatable. Perhaps a more expensive Lexus might be a better choice, but after hours of homework and many, many test drives, I think I found the perfect combination for what I wanted.
Comfort, performance, ride, sense of luxury without being overstated; many little things make this car special.