Mercedes S-Class Windermere
Why it won...
When Mercedes puts its weight behind a project, the results can be spectacular. The company’s approach to redefining what we can expect from the luxury car class was so crushingly thorough, the S-Class still stands out like a beacon four years after its launch.
And when you look at the strength of the competition, you realise the magnitude of that achievement. The scope of the luxury car class means the Mercedes not only has to see off competition from Bentley’s latest Flying Spur, but it has also faced a new version of its BMW 7-Series arch-rival this year.
The BMW was relaunched with the aim of knocking the S-Class off its perch. Despite featuring some of the most advanced technology on the planet, it couldn’t achieve its goal. Outstanding quality, effortless performance and superb refinement made the flagship Mercedes too much forthe new 7-Series to better. Recent revisions have seen the S-Class polish up its looks, and the big saloon’s lines only seem to have improved with age. Opt for the long-wheelbase variant, and not only will you have one off the most imposing saloons in the world, you’ll also enjoy one of the most appealing chauffeur-driven models, no matter your budget.
And if you decide to give the driver the day off, you won’t be disappointed by the way the S-Class performs on the road, either. Diesel models deliver phenomenal torque, while flagship V8 and V12-powered-petrol models offer earth-shattering pace.
To say the S-Class is heart-stoppingly good is no exaggeration – during development it was so soothing to drive, it actually lowered the tester’s pulse-rate. Now that’s what luxury cars are all about!
Finishing second to the older S-Class must have been a bitter pill to swallow for BMW when the two heavyweights met in issue 1,041. The Merc’s victory was far from a walkover, however. The extremely agile 7-Series lives up to BMW’s reputation for building great drivers’ cars – but the luxury class is more about comfort than all-out thrills.