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2016 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. Its Competition

2016 Mercedes-Benz S550e Plug-In Hybrid
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been the standard by which other brands are judged—as well as the bar that the new model must clear.

And the field of luxury-flagship rivals is more intimidating than ever; with today's 7-Series, Audi A8, and Jaguar XJ, as well as the Tesla Model S, the competition is tight.

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; with the all-new 2016 7-Series, lighter and more focused than ever, we're curious to compare these two.

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.

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.

2016 Mercedes-Benz S550e Plug-In Hybrid2016 Mercedes-Benz S Class
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2016 Audi S8 Plus2016 Audi A8
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2016 BMW 7-Series with M Sport Package2016 BMW 7-Series
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2015 Porsche Panamera2016 Porsche Panamera
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Quick Specs
9.2
Coupe, Cabriolet, and Maybach versions—and even a Plug-In Hybrid—make the 2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class far more diverse and adventurous than it used to be; it's now not just a flagship sedan, but a family of flagships.
8.8
The 2016 Audi S8 pairs thrilling acceleration with excellent big-car handling and discreet luxury.
9.2
Don’t let the conservative wrapper fool you, the 2016 BMW 7-Series charges boldly into a new generation as a sporty big sedan, with new ride-and-handling tech, space-age construction, and a plug-in hybrid version.
8.2
The 2016 Porsche Panamera looks like a sports car and drives like one, yet it delivers executive-level ride comfort and cabin appointments.
MSRP From   
$95,650$81,500$81,300$78,100
Gas Mileage   
13 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy14 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy
Engine   
Twin Turbo Premium Unleaded V-8Intercooled Supercharger Premium Unleaded V-6Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-6Premium Unleaded V-6
EPA Class   
Large CarsLarge CarsLarge CarsLarge Cars
Style Name   
4-Door Sedan S 550 RWD4-Door Sedan 3.0T4-Door Sedan 740i RWD4-Door HB
Drivetrain   
Rear Wheel DriveAll WheelRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
5554
Passenger Doors   
N/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style   
Sedanquattro LWB SedanSedanHatchback
Transmission   
Automatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAuto-Shift Manual w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2016 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2016 Audi A82016 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2016 BMW 7-Series2016 Mercedes-Benz S Class vs. 2016 Porsche Panamera