All-Star: 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-class

Like goldilocks, we know when something is just right. We complain when a car is too big or too small, too hard or too soft, and we don't hide our displeasure. But when a car is right, we're moved to celebrate it. And so today, we celebrate the Mercedes-Benz S-class.

Two iterations ago, we lamented that the S-class had become too heavy, too complex, and too expensive. Mercedes answered those complaints with the next-generation car by scaling down the size and scaling back the price. So what did we do? We judged the car guilty of moving too far downmarket; it showed obvious signs of cost-cutting and had lost some of its Germanic solidity. So Mercedes went back to the drawing board and in 2006 introduced the current-generation luxury sedan. And this time, they got it just right.

Today's S-class is dripping with luxury accoutrements and high-tech accessories, from a full-leather interior to a hands-free communication system to a fourteen-speaker stereo. It has power everything, radar-guided cruise control, adaptive damping, and more comfort and convenience features than the presidential suite at the Waldorf.

But the S-class is more than just the sum of its equipment list. The S-class rides and handles in a way that belies its size, with taut steering, perfect driver feedback, and an athletic demeanor when the going gets curvy. Available with a quartet of engines that range in ability from supremely competent to mind-blowing, the S-class is the world's most versatile luxury car. In a segment with no shortage of excellent competitors, from the Lexus LS460 to the BMW 7-series, the Mercedes-Benz S-class stands out, because pretty much everything about it is just right.

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