For a long time the new Mercedes S-class enjoyed a relative lack of competition in the high-tech luxury market, particularly given its price point. It boasted best-in-class interior technology, incredible levels of refinement and at £68,870, was exceptional value considering what it offered.
Now though it has a real contender in the form of the new BMW 7-series. Matched like for like in terms of the technology, the BMW represents a real threat to Mercedes' crown in this market.
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Still, this is a car that offers levels of refinement on par with a Bentley Flying Spur and if you should so choose, also be specced with a 6-litre bi-turbo V12. As a luxury car it undercuts the competition in base trim by nearly £100,000, yet comes close in terms of comfort and quality.
It's not without fault however. The interior can be overly fussy at times and definitely isn't to everyone's tastes.
The AMG models aren't cheap, but make sublime cruisers, as discovered in Jethro Bovingdon's recent evo Leaderboard video on the S65 Coupe. The journey to Anglesey Circuit was even more impressive than the laps it recorded once on track.
Ultimately, Mercedes has a very, very good car on its hands with the new S-class. Praise has to be given to the sheer amount of technology and kit each model comes loaded with. Ride and refinement are also absolutely fantastic. Even the convertible is as luxurious and as quiet as the hardtop.
The S-class is the car you want for eating up motorway miles not for a blast down a B-road, but that was all it was ever intended to be. As a device to transport yourself from A to B in the best possible comfort, there are few better (or better value) alternatives.
The AMG models do offer amazing levels of performance considering the sheer size of the S-class. Whereas the V8 SL63 is the pick of the sportier SL range – the V12 SL65 suffering because of its slightly heavier front end and lazier gearbox – the V12 suits the S-class much more. The bigger, softer and more luxurious than the SL, the S-class was made for the twin-turbo V12. The S65, in either saloon, coupe or cabriolet form, loses very little to the S63 in terms of handling and fun, but is much more fitting with the general air of opulence that surrounds the S-class.
> Performance and 0-60 time - The S-class has a wide range of performance on offer, from the frugal S350d to the absolutely rapid S65 AMG. 735 lb ft of torque from the S65's twin-turbo V12 helps the car dispatch 0-60 in just 4.3 seconds. Read all about the S-class performance here
> Engine and gearbox - Range and efficiency as well as outright performance are covered off nicely in the S-class model range. The gearbox is a 7-speed unit that helps boost the extreme levels of refinement found here. Read all about the S-class engine and gearbox here
> Ride and Handling - You'd expect the Mercedes to be top of the class here and for the most part it is. Air suspension coupled with clever camera-based road reading tech makes for extreme levels of comfort. It isn't however the last word in driver engagement. Read about the S-class ride and handling here
> MPG and Running Costs - At its best, the S-class will deliver an impressive 60mpg, from the blueTech Hybrid. Any AMG models will manage a third of that at best. Running costs are in line with the rest of the Mercedes range, but significantly lower than much higher priced luxury offerings from the likes of Bentley or Rolls-Royce. Read all about how much it costs to run an S-class here.
> Prices, Specs and Rivals - Given the technology and refinement on offer, an entry level S-class is actually fairly good value for money. Costs rapidly mount up when looking at the S63 or S65 AMG variants, the latter of which is upwards of £150k. Read all about S-class costs here
> Interior and Tech - A gamut of LCD displays, high end audio tech and clever cruise control systems make the S-class the absolute pinnacle of auto tech available right now. The interior is definitely a nice place to be, but can't touch more bespoke offerings from ultra-high end manufacturers. Read about the S-class tech here
> Design - Not the last word in exciting looks, but definitely functional particularly inside. Driving position is good and the immense size of the S-class is dealt with nicely via an array of complex camera systems. Read about the S-class design here