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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best luxury car for performance

A luxury car obviously needs sumptuous materials, ride comfort worthy of a magic carpet, and a super-smooth engine. But models targeting company car drivers also needing to offer low CO2 emission...

There’s something incongruous and defiantly naughty about a four-door car that is 5.2 metres long yet will do 0-62mph in 3.8sec. That’s getting on for supercar speeds, and is 0.5sec quicker than a Mercedes-AMG S63.

The S8 is certainly a limousine in size and intention, but the storming 563bhp 4.0-litre V8 engine and four-wheel drive set it apart from most others. Four-wheel steering also makes it feel alert and responsive on a good road, even if a Porsche Panamera delivers sharper handling.

The S8 is a spectacularly indulgent car beyond the rampant straight-line pace, too. It has some of the most advanced driver aids available, not to mention an immaculate interior with two huge high- definition touchscreens for infotainment and most of the minor controls, plus 22-way electrically adjustable sports seats in diamond-stitched leather.

Certainly, quality matches that of far more rarefied alternatives, including the Bentley Flying Spur. Even by such high standards, the S8 is sublime whether you’re driving or being driven.

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