2010 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic

I've always been a fan of this generation S-class. The car looks elegant and has simple lines. There are luxury features most people haven't even dreamt of and, generally speaking, they're all easy to understand and use.

I particularly enjoy the S550 because there's a decent exhaust note that doesn't ruin the luxury experience and the seven-speed automatic transmission helps return respectable fuel economy. Power comes on very smoothly, and the normally aspirated engine doesn't suffer from the turbo lag that can be quite frustrating in our Four Seasons BMW 750Li.

Although long-wheelbase cars in this class can be a bit ungainly around town, the Benz never feels as large during parking maneuvers as our BMW. The S-class is equipped with 4Matic, but it edges out the 7-series in turning radius by 1.7 feet. How is that possible? The BMW has an extra 1.8 inches of wheelbase. The longer wheelbase affords BMW a 2.0-inch advantage in rear legroom, but I can't imagine anyone not being comfortable in the Benz's enormous back seat.

A big, fast, quiet, and comfortable car like this is a spectacular reward for someone who has worked hard for the past few decades and wants to enjoy him or herself. For the rest of us, it's just motivation to work harder.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

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