The standard by which other brands are judged--but also the bar it must clear for each new iteration.
Competing with the likes of the BMW 7-Series, Audi A8, Tesla Model S, and Jaguar XJ, the S-Class's desired place at the top of the heap is a difficult one to maintain.
The Rolls-Royce Ghost and Bentley Flying Spur are super-luxury alternatives, but do overlap the S Class on price and equipment at the lower ranges of each.
With more traditional, somewhat more ostentatious design, the Ghost is for the executive that wishes to stand out; the Flying Spur may fly a bit lower under the radar among the general populace.
Otherwise, the BMW 7-Series has been the S Class' closest historic competitor, and for good reason: it offers a very similar level of style, equipment, and luxury.
The decision between the BMW and the Mercedes often comes down to taste.
The story is similar with the Audi A8 and A8 L long-wheelbase model, though its sleeker, rounder form and more stark and simple interior design evoke a different aesthetic.
The Porsche Panamera is a higher-performance, sportier-looking alternative, but its roomy back seat makes it a viable executive alternative, even if it does lack some of the higher-tech safety systems.
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|2015 Mercedes-Benz S ClassBrowse Used Listings||2015 Audi A8Browse Used Listings||2015 BMW 7-SeriesBrowse Used Listings||2015 Porsche PanameraBrowse Used Listings||2015 Bentley Flying SpurBrowse Used Listings||2015 Rolls-Royce GhostBrowse Used Listings|
|13 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy||12 MPG City / 24 MPG Hwy||13 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy|
|Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-8||Intercooled Supercharger Premium Unleaded V-6||Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-6||Premium Unleaded V-6||Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-8||Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-12|
|Large Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Large Cars||Large Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Large Cars|
|4-Door Sedan S 550 RWD||4-Door Sedan 3.0T||4-Door Sedan 740i RWD||4-Door HB||4-Door Sedan V8||4-Door Sedan|
|Rear Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Auto-Shift Manual w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2015 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2015 Audi A8||2015 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2015 BMW 7-Series||2015 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2015 Porsche Panamera||2015 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2015 Bentley Flying Spur||2015 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost|