Luke drives a 2016 Mercedes S550, a car that is both fast and luxurious, but like any person with drive and ambition he wants more. I can’t say I blame him, especially since he has a healthy budget to replace it. What car should he buy?
Here is the scenario:
Looking for a new car to replace my 2016 S550 4MATIC. It’s a nice car that has great luxury features, but I want something faster. However, I am not willing to give up the luxury.
I drive 100 miles to work and I prefer to be comfortable. Living in NJ I would also prefer something with all-wheel-drive. I do like Mercedes and Audi, but for some reason, I don’t care for BMWs. I know they make nice cars too, but I would rather not go with that brand. I’m also open in regards to the body style. It can be a sedan, coupe, or SUV.
As for budget, I do not want to spend over $200,000.
Budget: Up to $200,000
Daily Driver: Yes
Wants: Power, Luxury, AWD
Doesn’t want: A BMW
Expert 1: Tom McParland — Save Your Money
Luke, buddy, this is my kind of topic. Every once and awhile we need to remind people that not all Jalopnik readers are a bunch of broke-ass jokers. We love off of you readers, well except that one guy (you know who I am talking about), but there is a huge misconception that our audience only buys cheap cars off Craigslist. This is far from the truth! We have a lot of readers with some serious cash, too. Many of them can afford very nice cars, or even multiple Craigslist beaters.
So back to your conundrum, Luke. You see with fancy tastes like yours I can use words like “conundrum,” but I am also here to give you “reasonable” car buying advice. Anyway, the solution is simple and you don’t even need to spend all of your budget. Your next car should be the Audi S8 Plus.
Why? Because it has a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that cranks out 605 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. Audi claims a 0-60 time in 3.7 seconds, but some publications have been able to make the massive sedan run the sprint in as little as 3.3 seconds. That is bonkers for a car this big. Sure the Tesla Model S is quicker but not nearly as luxurious and given your long commute a gas powered car may suit you better.
And I have some better news, even if you checked off every single option including the Executive Plus Package and the Audi Design Selection special interior, the sticker price is about $141,000. Start checking boxes on a Panamera Turbo and you will blow your budget real quick. You could bank even more money by getting a CPO model like this one.
The other thing I love about the S8 Plus is that it is fairly anonymous. Your average person just sees a big luxury sedan, not something that can pull off supercar acceleration. That stealthiness will come in handy when you are commuting at a “brisk” pace on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Expert 2: Patrick George — Mercedes Has An Answer To This Too
It’s nice to be able to recommend something other than, say, a Mazda 3 hatchback with a stick for a change. Anyway, I bet you enjoyed your S550—a few months ago I was testing an S560 and fell in love. But I get what you’re saying. While they are very quick, brutal speed isn’t what those Mercedes-Benzes are built for.
However, there are Benzes made for such shenanigans, and they are brought to you by the letters AMG. This seems a pretty obvious choice to me. Get a new Mercedes-AMG S 63. It’s an S-Class, but crazy fast. This is your car, but with a 603 horsepower, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. I just don’t see you, or anyone, needing more car than that, my dude!
Best of all, it’s easily under your $200,000 mark. Here’s one in New Jersey for $167,385. It’s the most opulent way to trash supercars.
Expert 3: Kristen Lee — Be Iron Man
The Audi R8 is practical, I tell you. Practical! It has Audi’s very excellent Quattro all-wheel drive system and it’s comfortable and smooth because, well, it’s an Audi. The flagship, top-of-the-line Audi at that.
Standout features include a wonderful, naturally aspirated V10 engine, one of the last in the business. It’s definitely up on power from your current S550, too, with over 600 HP on tap. It sounds great, it’s fast and it’s pretty to look at.
You don’t see many R8s on the road, so you’d definitely stand out. I promise you, you’ll never lose this thing in the sea of other German luxo-sedans at the Whole Foods parking lot in suburban New Jersey. And when winter comes, just swap on a set of nice winter tires and you’re good to go.
Here’s a brand-new one for $199,961.
Expert 4: Ryan Felton — This Fits The Bill
Quality issues? Maybe. Weird as fuck doors? Yeah. But I’m telling you, if you’re not “willing to give up the luxury” and you’re itching for “something faster,” I think a Tesla Model X P100D should suit you just fine.
The P100D has a slick interior, jams 0-60 in 2.9 seconds (see: fast), and nets around 290 miles on a single charge. So you can nail down a full roundtrip, charge up at home, and be more than fine. Luckily, you’re open to the body style, and the Model X has quite a look to it.
Features? You got it. Autopilot works great, so long as you’re paying attention to the road, and the Model X’s massive center console is easy to use. The X is a looker, too, and they’re still not all too common on the road.
Grab the 22-inch Onyx black wheels, pay for the full Autopilot package (why not, you have the loot to spare), and get a dope paint job to round things out. All told, you’re looking at $161,000, which gives you plenty of extra cash to hook up your garage with the needed charging equipment. I think this is the move.
Expert 5: Andrew Collins — Bring Your Junk
Lucky for you, I’ve just returned a loaner 2018 AMG E63S Wagon... and I have some thoughts.
We’ll be publishing a full review on what that car is like to drive (and live in, should you so desire) shortly but here are the CliffsNotes: gut-wrenching acceleration, a top speed that can leave some small aircraft behind, and soft supple surfaces surrounding you.
An S-Class is nice, but mostly for the people in the back seat. And how often are you riding back there? The E Wagon, on the other hand, has a much more useful and usable cargo area that you can fill with groceries or tires or toys or whatever you want–because you’ll only have to pay about $130,000 for the car and will have a whole lot of loot left to blow on various distractions.
Pro tip: skip the AMG seats if you’re shaped in any way like a human being.