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Luxury Car of the Year 2018: Mercedes S-Class

The Mercedes S-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera commended

Following a facelift in 2017 that only improved the recipe, the Mercedes S-Class again scoops our Best Luxury Car title. It was a close-run category this time, though, with the new Audi A8 narrowing the gap to the Mercedes dramatically, but it still had to give best to the S-Class.

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While the latest updates mean the Mercedes limousine doesn’t look all that different from the outside, there are some important areas the firm has addressed – the first of which is the engine.

A new 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel has replaced the old V6 unit. With 282bhp and 600Nm of torque, the model has all the performance you need, combined with exemplary refinement.

Factor in imperious ride quality, even more advanced technology, genuine luxury, plus relaxing comfort and it means the big Mercedes is still the car of choice in this class.

Consider the cost and the S-Class looks even more appealing, because with prices starting from £75,505 for the AMG Line L model which is our pick of the range, you get everything you need, leaving room for a few options you might want.

Captains of industry and business people will no doubt have one eye on the bottom line, so they’ll be glad that the S-Class won’t break the bank to run, with mild-hybrid petrol options complementing the frugal diesels. If money really is no object, though, a turbocharged V12 AMG variant delivers devastating performance, too.

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With air suspension standard across the range, the car floats serenely over torn tarmac, delivering a supremely comfortable and refined ride that means you can get on with business in the back.

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We’d go for the long-wheelbase chassis because the extra legroom maximises what the S-Class has to offer. On top of this you can add individually reclining airline business class-style rear seats to take comfort to the next level, plus all manner of TV and multimedia equipment to ensure your car is not only comfortable, but connected to the world around it as well.

The technology available on the Mercedes flagship extends to the driver assistance systems on offer, too, with advanced semi-autonomous modes fitted to relieve the stresses and strains of a journey if you’re behind the wheel. 

Our choice 

Mercedes S 350 d L AMG Line (£77,235)

AMG Line trim has all the kit you’ll need, with leather, air suspension and a sophisticated infotainment system. Under the bonnet the straight-six diesel engine hums gently, mixing muscular performance with refinement and economy, while the beautifully crafted and spacious cabin means making the most of the tech on offer is simple. 

Commended 

Bentley Continental GT

2018 Bentley Continental GT - front

Bentley’s new Continental GT redefines the role of a GT. Subtly revised but sharper styling means it looks tauter, while the chassis blends comfort with fun. The iconic W12 engine remains, so performance isn’t in doubt, and an updated cabin offering imperious refinement ensures it fits the ‘luxury GT’ mould beautifully.

Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo - slowest depreciation

Diesel models have been axed from the Panamera line-up, but with petrols and plug-in hybrids offering performance and efficiency, the Porsche is still a sublime luxury choice. Advanced infotainment and chassis systems mean it’s easy to live with and stunningly capable to drive for a big four-door.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2018

For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2018 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...

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