Buying and owning
Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security
This much space and quality requires a big budget: both cars come in at more than £70,000 at list price. Don’t be afraid to haggle, though; if you’re in the lucky position to be paying in cash, both cars are available with huge discounts. Mercedes dealers are even more generous than their Audi counterparts, which helps three-year running costs fall in favour of the S-Class – despite the fact that it’s the pricier car to service.
It’s the same story if you buy on PCP finance. Sign up to a three-year deal, limited to 10,000 miles a year with a £5000 customer deposit, and you’ll pay £816 a month for the S-Class and £1170 for the A8. That’s because Mercedes will contribute a whopping £10,000 towards your deposit.
However, anyone looking to run the A8 or S-Class as a company car will find it a closer-run thing, because while the S-Class has lower CO2 emissions, it has the higher P11D price. Over three years, the S-Class is the cheaper company car for anyone in the 40% tax bracket, but only by around £500. And the cars are closely matched for companies choosing to lease, with only £120 separating them per year.
Both cars have a standard equipment list befitting the luxury class, but the fact that the A8 includes heated rear seats and adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous steering assistance as standard, while the S-Class doesn’t, scores it extra points. It’s a shame, though, that the A8 isn’t making its even more advanced autonomous driving technology available for some time.
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