From executive sedan to royalty parade vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has many missions to fulfill around the world.
Its only real competition comes from the BMW 7-Series, which comes in nearly as many versions and variations, and may have a small edge in rear-seat legroom, though we're less fond of its steering feel.
The Audi A8 is making a strong pitch to be included in that trio, and while it's a glorious performer with an exceptional interior, it's not all that advanced in its styling, and some of its technology--the Palm Pilot-style infotainment controller--comes off contrived and complex, rather than revolutionary.
The Lexus LS is a well-executed follower in this class, though it's still offered in a short-wheelbase edition that's a good value for the sort of Orange County luxury attainable to a different bandwidth of wealth--like the Jaguar XJ, which now caters to drivers who think Hollywood Regency style isn't quite flashy enough.
Just offbeat enough here is the Porsche Panamera, with all the rear-seat room a tall adult would need, and with heartstopping performance in Turbo trim that will shake off any challenge from any AMG or Alpina, without a second thought.
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|2012 Mercedes-Benz S ClassBrowse Used Listings||2012 Audi A8Browse Used Listings||2012 BMW 7-SeriesBrowse Used Listings||2012 Jaguar XJBrowse Used Listings||2012 Lexus LS 460Browse Used Listings||2012 Porsche PanameraBrowse Used Listings|
|12 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy|
|Gas/Electric V6||Gas V8||Turbocharged Gas I6||Gas V8||Gas V8||Gas V6|
|Large||Large||Large||Large Car||Midsize cars||Large Car|
|4-Door Sedan S 400 Hybrid RWD||4-Door Sedan||4-Door Sedan 740i RWD||4-Door Sedan||4-Door Sedan RWD||4-Door HB|
|Rear Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sedan||Sedan||4-Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||Sedan||Hatchback|
|Automatic||Automatic w/Manual Shift||Automatic||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/manual shift||Automatic w/Manual Shift|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Audi A8||2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 BMW 7-Series||2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Jaguar XJ||2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Lexus LS 460||2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Porsche Panamera|