2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. Its Competition

2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class 4-door Sedan 3.5L V6 Hybrid RWD Angular Front Exterior View
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

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.

2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class 4-door Sedan 3.5L V6 Hybrid RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class
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2011 Audi A8 L 4-door Sedan Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi A8
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2012 BMW 7-Series 4-door Sedan 750i RWD Angular Front Exterior View2012 BMW 7-Series
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2012 Jaguar XJ 4-door Sedan XJL Supercharged Angular Front Exterior View2012 Jaguar XJ
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2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S2012 Porsche Panamera
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Quick Specs
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a wide range of personalities--all of them superbly comfortably, some of them outrageously powerful.
The 2012 Audi A8 models might still be fighting for the most prestige among flagships, but they're in the top tier from inside, thanks to their impeccable cabin, innovative cabin tech, and a lean, athletic driving feel.
The 2012 BMW 7-Series is the Bavarian automaker's flagship model, and it cleverly wraps vast interior space, industry-leading tech, and the expected BMW fleet-footedness.
Cutting its ties with its illustrious and not so charmed past, the 2012 Jaguar XJ now rocks a swinging style that really suits its dynamic handling.
Bucking tradition and the ordinary, the 2012 Porsche Panamera mostly succeeds in being an excellent large fastback sedan.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
12 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy14 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy13 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy
Gas/Electric V6Gas V8Turbocharged Gas I6Gas V8Gas V6
EPA Class    
LargeLargeLargeLarge CarLarge Car
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan S 400 Hybrid RWD4-Door Sedan4-Door Sedan 740i RWD4-Door Sedan4-Door HB
Rear Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
4 Door SedanSedan4-Door Sedan4 Door SedanHatchback
AutomaticAutomatic w/Manual ShiftAutomaticAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/Manual Shift
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Audi A82012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 BMW 7-Series2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Jaguar XJ2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2012 Porsche Panamera