Best of the rest
The world’s top-selling luxury car for the past 40 years has some tough competition
Ian Callum left Aston Martin to design this long-wheelbase masterpiece. It’s like a mobile sculpture, with a roofline that swoops to the rear like the bridge of a superyacht and tail lights that look like a cat’s claws. In addition to being the best-looking limo in the world, it’s also the best-handling.
Traditionally the main rival of the S-class, the 7-Series’ Activehybrid variant isn’t quite as economical as the S400 Hybrid, and lacks the presence and luxury feel of the three-pointed star. Nevertheless, it’s well-engineered and feels responsive. A good all-rounder, but with little pizazz.
One for company directors who wish they were rock stars, the Maserati is eccentric, individual and blessed with one of the finest engines ever lowered into a four-seater. Compared to the Mercedes-benz, it’s from the dark ages technologically, but makes up for it with soul.
The most understated of the Mercedes-benz rivals, the Audi boasts better fuel economy than the S400. As a full petrol-electric hybrid, the A8 features some of the lowest emissions in its class, precision steering, rapid acceleration and a very friendly price tag.