Nitpicking in this segment is a only an exercise in objective journalism and having to look and find flaws for comparison’s sake. Otherwise, it feels a bit ridiculous to criticize luxury cars as premium and comfortable as these. The main two, the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, are the big players in the segment. Not only have they been out longest but they’re also the best selling luxury cars in their segment. But the newcomer, the Audi A8, has a lot to offer and it does so in snazzier fashion. So while these are all superb luxury cars, Car Magazine has to find a winner.
In third place is the brand-new Audi A8, which surprised me, if I’m honest. Typically, when a new car comes out in this segment, it pushes the bar in terms of technology and luxury, making it the instant favorite among journalists. However, the Audi A8, despite being the newest car of the trio by far, gets last place. That’s because its ride quality isn’t as well sorted as the BMW’s, nor is its handling. And its luxury falls short of the Mercedes’. It’s a great car overall but it’s too much of a ‘Tweener. Also, its new touchscreen MMI system is good but it can be a bit difficult to use and it’s a fingerprint magnet.
Second place went to the BMW 7 Series. It’s certainly the sportier car of the bunch, the one to drive. As per usual, the 8 Series is the one with the best steering, handling and ride composure. Where it falls a bit short is in its interior luxury, which is nice but its design is starting to age and its seating not as comfortable. It’s also a bit too firm for such an expensive luxury car. If you want a luxury car as a getaway car, though, the 7 Series is still the one you want.
That leaves the S-Class as the winner, as usual. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class seems to never lose these comparisons. It’s the luxury car on the market. On the inside, there’s no comparison; the S-Class’ cabin is the finest in the segment, possibly in the industry, and it’s back seat is the most opulent. It also wafts along the rode, impervious to road imperfections, in typical Mercedes fashion. It’s not too soft so as to feel floaty, though. It’s just perfect. Its tech is a bit weird and probably the worst in the segment but the rest of it is too spot-on to place anywhere else but first.