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2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class vs Porsche Panamera

Not long ago, we probably wouldn't have spoken of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Porsche Panamera in the same sentence. The Panamera was an overt sport sedan, whereas the S-Class was the epitome of executive luxury transportation.

But now the Mercedes has taken on a new, sportier persona and even added a coupe and a convertible to its lineup, so maybe it's time to see how it fares when put up against the new version of the Panamera.

2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class in maroon


The S-Class isn't what it used to be, but that's not a criticism because it's now more stylish, modern, exciting, sporty, and desirable than it's ever been. The sedan is handsome and imposing, the coupe is sleek and spectacular, and the convertible is sportier than anyone ever imagined it could be. This is revolution and evolution in perfect harmony. Plenty of people will love the way the Porsche Panamera looks, and this new version is a big improvement on the original. For most people though, this is a car that appears to be looking for a segment to fit into. It's not really a sedan as it has a hatch at the back, and it's not a sports coupe by any stretch of the imagination. It's not as ugly as it used to be, but there can't be too many people who'd think it was any match for the S-Class in the looks department.

2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class parked on a brick path

Interior Comfort & Style

When it comes to the definition of a luxury car interior, the inside of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class says more than any words could. Plenty of buyers will be driven while they enjoy the cosseting rear seats, but front seat passengers enjoy equally impressive accommodation. The quilted leather dash and silver-toned interior trim is as blingy as anything Mercedes has ever produced, and the quality of the ride is as good as or better than anything else in the segment. The Porsche adopts a predictably sportier approach to the interior, although the new model does have more interior space than the model it replaced. A number of buttons and gauges have now been replaced by digital displays, but the whole cabin is very stylish, comfortable, and luxurious, even though it's not a match for the Mercedes in this area.

2017 Porsche Panamera in the spotlight


Big, powerful, turbocharged engines power the S-Class, but the real emphasis is placed on effortless composure instead of overt power and sporty handling. The S-Class does lack some of the driver features that we enjoy in many of today's Mercedes-Benz cars, but the ride is incredibly comfortable and the brakes are sensational. The engines do go seriously big with a 621 horsepower 6.0-liter V-12, but the smaller 577 horsepower 5.5-liter V-8 is marginally the faster unit. You can choose from two flavors of Panamera, one with the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 440 horsepower and one equipped with the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that puts 550 horsepower at your disposal. That's not as big as the S-Class goes, but a plethora of performance chassis, suspension, and other components help to Panamera to 0-60 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds. This power and performance is a big win for the Porsche.

2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class by the ocean


The IIHS and NHTSA crash labs are unlikely to see a model as costly and exclusive as the S-Class. But although the Mercedes isn't officially rated, we have to assume it would do pretty well if it was tested. Mercedes often uses the S-Class for launching its most advanced new safety features, and every version is bursting with hi-tech safety features and equipment. Once again, the Porsche Panamera isn't being put through the official crash-test regimes, but it has just about every piece of the latest safety kit you can imagine, and some you probably haven't even thought of such as the new Night Vision Assistant. With the Mercedes-Benz track record and their impressive safety features, this one goes to the S-Class.

The new Panamera is a big improvement on its predecessor, but the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is better in every way other than outright performance, and it's therefore our winner here.

Learn More About the Mercedes-Benz Lineup:

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

2016 Mercedes-Benz GL

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class