Since 1972, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has upheld a tradition of placing drivers into an environment filled with groundbreaking tech and comfort – so much so that Mercedes-Benz boldly dubbed it “the best car in the world”.
In our recent road test of the new Mk7 S-Class, we called it “fantastically opulent”, praising its interior as well as its fine array of engines. The car from that test cost upwards of £100,000, which isn’t exactly pocket change.
Thankfully, you don’t have to pay that much for comparable splendour. We think it’s worth looking towards the previous-generation S-Class, which is now available for a fraction of the cost.
We liked it so much that we awarded it a perfect score in our 2013 road test, saying: “Where the S-Class leads, the rest of the car-making world follows.”
Equipment was impressive even on basic AMG Line cars, with heated seats, LED ambient lighting, adaptive wipers and 19in alloy wheels fitted as standard. Other gear included a reversing camera, wireless phone charging and two 12.3in screens with sat-nav and smartphone integration.
In typical Mercedes fashion, the S-Class was offered with a wide array of engines. Petrol, diesel and later plug-in hybrid powertrains were all available, as were AMG-tuned performance variants offering up to 621bhp (from the range-topping S65, powered by a monstrous 6.0-litre V12).
The most popular version in the UK was the S350d diesel, and indeed we think it’s the pick of the bunch for its combination of on-road frugality (with up to 52.3mpg), usable daily performance and near-silent driving. Its 2.9-litre V6 gives a punchy 0-62mph time of 6.5sec, thanks to 258bhp and 457lb ft of torque. Top speed is pegged at 155mph.
We found a 2016 example for £24,500, with just 36,000 miles on the clock. It’s a two-owner car with a full service history, a 12-month MOT and a three-month warranty. There are some nice extras as well, including keyless go, nappa leather upholstery and a 360deg camera.