Luxury Car of the Year 2017: Mercedes S-Class

The Mercedes S-Class is the 2017 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Mulsanne and Porsche Panamera commended

Once again the Mercedes S-Class scoops our Luxury Car of the Year award. It was a close-run category in 2017, with updates to the Bentley Mulsanne and an all-new Porsche Panamera arriving, but the S-Class’s fantastic mix of imperious ride quality, cosseting comfort and dazzling levels of technology means it still sits at the top of the class.

This all comes at a relatively affordable price compared with rivals, too, with the S 350 diesel starting at less than a third of the price of the ‘entry-level’ Bentley. Yet it offers an even better infotainment system and all the technology you could possibly want from a luxury limousine, wrapped up in a beautifully crafted interior.

As high-flying business people might have one eye on the bottom line, the S 350 d won’t break the bank to run, either. Still, the V6 turbodiesel engine offers plenty of low-down torque for effortless, unobtrusive performance, along with supreme refinement.

Air-suspension is standard on all models, allowing the S-Class to float serenely over rough tarmac, while the clever Magic Body Control feature scans the road ahead and optimises the suspension to deal with bumps in the best way possible. With its long-wheelbase chassis, the S-Class offers an incredible level of legroom in the rear. Go for the individually reclining business class-style seats and it takes comfort to the next level.

The S-Class has always been a test bed for Mercedes’ latest technology, and with features such as advanced autonomous driving systems, large TFT displays and a mix of powertrains, the car is at the cutting edge.

Mercedes S-Class - rear

A petrol-electric plug-in hybrid version is available for eco-conscious executives, but the S-Class can also be specced in S 63 or S 65 form, equipped with blistering V8 and V12 turbo engines respectively. These AMG models are great to drive, making the S-Class one of the fastest yet most luxurious saloons on sale today.

Our choice 

Mercedes S 350 d SE L (£70,470)

It might be the ‘entry-level’ version, but SE L has all the kit you’ll need, with leather, air-suspension and sophisticated infotainment. The V6 diesel mixes muscular performance with refinement and economy, while the incredibly spacious and beautifully crafted cabin keeps its occupants fresh. 

Commended

Bentley Mulsanne

Bentley Mulsanne - front

Recent tweaks – including a new, ultra-powerful, twin-turbo V8 Speed model – have kept the big Bentley competitive. British craftsmanship combined with a lightly restyled skin means the Mulsanne offers presence like nothing else in the class. It’s from the old school in some respects, but nothing imposes like a Bentley.

Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera - front

The new Panamera is no longer Porsche’s ugly duckling. Its more svelte styling, hi-tech cabin and advanced infotainment complement a new chassis that makes it one of the best- riding Porsches ever. The brilliant twin-turbo V8 diesel with 850Nm of torque is our pick of the line-up, and cements the car’s status as one of the best luxury models on sale today.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2017

For complete, in-depth coverage of the 2017 New Car Awards, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...

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