53-year-old Iain Lawrence of Leicestershire, England, was found guilty by a jury of his peers after just eight hours of deliberations.
In his sentencing, the Leicester Crown Court Justice called the manner in which Lawrence killed his 47-year-old wife Sally "brutal and carefully planned."
"It was not chance but the result of your careful and cold- blooded planning that you came away from the collision with a few bruises while Sally died of catastrophic injuries," Mr Justice Leggatt said. "You thought that the crash would be seen as a tragic accident and that you would get away with murder."
Prosecutors successfully showed that Lawrence had ensured that the passenger-side airbag in his Peugeot 406 was deactivated before he either tricked or forced Sally to get in.
After a short drive, Lawrence then drove straight into a tree at 50mph, unclipping Sally's seat belt just prior to the crash.
Lawrence claimed in court that a leg spasm had prevented him from hitting the brakes, but a witness noted that he had feigned unconsciousness after firefighters arrived following the October 2012 incident.
Lawrence and his wife of 12 years, with whom he shared a 10-year-old son, were going through a nasty divorce at the time, and Sally had expressed concern to friends that her husband might try to kill her after he found out that she was seeing someone else.