Best Grand Saloon: Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Did you know the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was known as Sonderklasse, which is German for 'special class'. We agree, and this is why...

There was a moment of uncertainty from the adjudicators when we arrived at the limo section. Its fiercest foe had just been released with ground-breaking inventions prior to a unanimous declaration of it being the best in its segment in the eyes of the panel.

The S-Class is among the older offerings in the segment however it’s the most established, boasting a variety of models for different types of ‘blessers’, from simple, basic entry-level S400 aristocracy to Oligarch-pleasing S65 AMG form. It can also be had in hybrid guise to appease the earth-conscious executive and it forms the basis of the re-launched Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand.

S-Class cabriolet then and now

S-Class cabriolet then and now

In a nutshell, there is very little that Mercedes doesn’t know about posh driving. Furthermore, it’s the undisputed benchmark in safety technology. What also earned Mercedes the edge over rivals is the retention of luxury in a way that the world knows, which is through qualitatively hewn textiles. This means the hide covering the seats is genuinely sumptuous.

Driving or chauffeured, you are insulated inside a metal fortress and its dampers knead surfaces for enormous wafting on the road. Its global reputation as a favourite car for presidents – and even our own King Goodwill Zwelithini – adds a heap of positivity. I could go on and argue that it adds megawatts of credibility to its owner’s social and business standing. But I digress. Truth is Mercedes-Benz has not put a foot wrong with the S-Class and newer rivals have simply not shown a better hand.

– Phuti Mpyane