Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Should you buy one?

Yes. There is no question that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class once again sets the benchmark in the luxury segment, which has already seen its predecessor take back-to-back luxury car category wins in the Parkers new car awards.

The 2021 model is packed with even more technology, offers greater comfort, and features better driving ability and efficiency than ever before, managing to post impressive gains over its already excellent predecessor. Best car in the world? Probably.

What we like

Plutocrats must look long and hard for a more comfortable, clever and competent luxury saloon which begs to be driven – or be driven in. Yes, the Bentley Flying Spur is more of an event than the S-Class and the Audi A8 is a better bet for keen drivers, but overall the Mercedes-Benz has a long list of plusses that make it the undeniable choice in the luxury car sector.

Inside, its technology just works once you’re acclimatised, and the poise, ride and handling really are something to savour. But there’s even more to it than than that, as it’s also capable of appealing to your emotional side. It’s hard to imagine the old S-Class as being a car you want to own for the affection and comfort you associate with it, rather than the status and technical prowess – but here, Mercedes has done something quite remarkable.

What we don’t like

There’s not really a lot to criticise the S-Class for, as it’s been honed over the ages to do the job it’s supposed to – and it does that very well. Some may find the lack of petrol engine options a little disappointing, as is the wait for the plug-in hybrid and AMG models, but the main criticism we’d fire at it is that some may find the sheer amount of tech on hand to configure really intimidating.

As for which one we’d recommend, we can’t say until we’ve driven them all, but the S 500 4Matic’s combination of pace, efficiency and smoothness look very hard to resist, despite being the most expensive model in the line-up.

Further reading