11. Mercedes-Benz S-Class – The rich get richer
Base price range: $95,650-$234,050
Mercedes-Benz’s flagship line of sedans adds a new completely-over-the-top model for 2016, the Maybach S600. Starting at around twice the price of the already expensive base S550, it essentially takes over where the automaker’s Maybach line of ultra-luxury cars left off when it was discontinued at the end of the 2012 model year. It’s over eight inches longer than the standard S-Class models, and pampers its occupants to added interior room, richer accommodations and, perhaps for the chauffeur’s benefit, a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine in the S65 AMG variant that’s rated at a launch-happy 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque.
We assume many will be used as executive cars and as such the Maybach S600 offers a full line of backseat oriented convenience features. Meanwhile, the rest of the line holds its own as what’s widely considered the top luxury car among mainstream makes, delivering a deftly generous balance of luxury and performance. Under-hood power ranges from 449 horsepower in the S550, to 600 horsepower in the S600, and 621 galloping horses in the aggressively accomplished S65 AMG. Affluent environmentalists will be pleased to know that availability of the S550 plug-in hybrid version will expand beyond California later in the model year to include the handful of states that likewise adhere to its stricter auto emissions regulations. A long list of high-tech features includes a suspension that scans the road ahead and adjusts itself before hitting bumps and jolts. A full array of available over-the-top-shelf accommodations include heated armrests and a climate control system that can infuse the cabin with assorted aromatherapy fragrances. Sleeker-looking coupe versions (formerly sold as the CL-Class) are offered in addition to the statelier sedans.