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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bentley Continental GT
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.
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
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended