Best used luxury cars

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Used Car Awards 2016 - Mercedes S-Class front tracking

Luxury cars can be tempting on the used car market after depreciation has taken the sting from the sticker price. We name the best buys…

Best used luxury car: Mercedes S-Class W221

Price from: £6,000
Our pick: Mercedes S-Class 2010 (10) S350 CDI, 64,000 miles, £16,000

The Mercedes S-Class is more than just a luxury saloon; it can lay claim to the title of best car in the world. For more than half a century this imposing limo has set the standard for comfort, refinement, technology and safety.

As a result, any second-hand S-Class is likely to feel more modern than brand new rivals – and the previous W221 generation is no exception. It was packed with cutting-edge kit at 2006’s launch, from infra-red night vision cameras to Mercedes’ pre-collision safety kit.

• Best luxury cars to buy now

Yet while some of these features still feel futuristic today, you can pick up an early S-Class for the price of a new entry-level Dacia Sandero. Yes, the Mercedes will have done around 200,000 miles, but it’s engineered to last and will feel as if it will do that mileage again.

Spend a few thousand more and you can get the keys to a facelifted S350 CDI with fewer than 100,000 miles under its belt. Powered by a creamy smooth and lusty V6 diesel, the S-Class delivers a fine blend of performance and economy, while the standard air-suspension smothers bumps and potholes effortlessly.

Used Car Awards 2016 - Mercedes S-Class rear tracking

Yet despite its size and refinement, the big Mercedes is quite agile. Well weighted steering, strong grip and decent body control allow it to corner with the sort of confidence reserved for cars half its size. And if you’d rather be driven than drive, the S-Class is just as accomplished. Standard cars get loads of legroom; LWB models deliver the ultimate in lounging space.

The cabin is also packed with top-notch materials and beautifully built. It’s loaded with kit, too, including leather trim, climate control and Mercedes’ intuitive COMAND infotainment system. Just ensure all the toys work properly, and that the service book has been fully stamped; although the Mercedes hasn’t appeared in Driver Power, these are essential checks on any buy.

Find a sound example, and the S-Class can make you look and feel a million dollars for a fraction of the price.

Mercedes S-Class: key details

  • • Driving: Despite its size, the S-Class serves up decent body control, while there’s plenty of grip as well. 
  • • Interior: Even previous model still has a sense of occasion inside, with high-quality materials and a superb finish.

Mercedes S-Class: expert view

Lawrence Whittaker Warrantywise CEO: “This Mercedes ushered in a new era of quality and reliability for the brand. Due to the expensive nature of S-Class repairs, Warrantywise sells a lot of warranties for these high-end Mercedes and the main area of payouts is for air-suspension issues, so check any potential used buy thoroughly. A total of 51 per cent of the S-Classes on cover needed a repair for something or other, so a second-hand car warranty makes sense.”

Commended: Bentley Flying Spur Mk1

Used Car Awards 2016 - Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Blending a handcrafted interior with thundering power and imposing looks, the Flying Spur turns every journey into an event. Yet with prices from £30,000, it’s more affordable than you’d think.

Best used cars to buy – 2016 Used Car Awards winners

• Best used city car • Best used compact executive car
• Best used supermini • Best used executive car
• Best used premium small car • Best used coupe
• Best used compact family hatchback • Best used MPV
• Best used estate car • Best used cabriolet
• Best used family car • Best used performance car
• Best used small SUV • Best used luxury car
• Best used compact SUV • Best used green car
• Best used large SUV • Used Car of the Year 2016

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