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Power, security and luxury are foremost among the things that successful people around the world desire. Obviously, they don’t come cheap, but then who cares about the price in this segment of cars? The top three most popular luxosedans happen to be from the same nation that produced Boris Becker and, like the tennis star, they are athletic, agile and champions of the game. Another reason for their popularity is that they never fail to ignite grudging admiration in others. These are the flagship models and probably the world’s best cars as the manufacturers make it a point to offer the best of every automobile aspect possible with oodles of luxury, safety, performance, comfort and technology.

For Mercedes it is the S-Class, BMW have the 7 Series and Audi the A8. The above mentioned luxury saloon are available in the long-wheelbase version in India, so that the Bears and Bulls, tycoons and dignitaries flock the swanky German car showrooms in the metropolises to own a more lavish personal transport than their counterparts in other countries. All of the cars mentioned above live up to these expectations and would not disappoint their owner. But, of course, there are distinctions and that’s exactly the purpose of this article.

By the look of it
The oldest of the luxosedans is the Mercedes S-Class, which was launched about four years ago. Aimed at a more mature clientèle, it has an elegant design right down to the smallest detail, never trying to look ultra-modern or space-age. Take, for instance, the old-school type flared front fenders, which require an acquired taste to appreciate. The design has been given a master’s tweak and now it is characterised by the more pronounced arrow shape of the radiator grille, more contoured front bumper and a chrome strip below the cooling air intakes. Though the headlights are bi-xenon, Mercedes have added LEDs indicators and driving lights at the front end and horizontal white tail-lights in keeping with the current trend. The designs have been an inspiration for several aspiring designers over the years and some of these ‘inspirations’ are also visible in a few Korean luxury cars. The current S-Class is nearing its shelf-life and is due for a ramp-up in 2012. Having said that, the ‘S’ has aged gracefully and the classic design still appeals to Mercedes buyers.

The BMW 7 Series was introduced in 2009 and it seems that the engineers wanted to create a modern car design, yet remain minimalistic and true to BMW styling. Unfortunately, the combination does not work well. Beemers are such sporty cars to drive and the energy should be reflected in the design, whereas the new 7 appears to be dull compared to its predecessors. When BMW launched the smaller sedan – the new 5 Series – it resembled the Seven a bit too much. However, the long version of the 7 Series is 14 centimetres longer than the short version and all of this is used to increase space and comfort in the rear.

Coming to the Audi now, the A8 is being officially launched as I write this report and arguably has an advantage of being the latest and, perhaps, the more modern car of the three. It is the most sophisticated executive sedan Audi have ever produced. From the outside, the 2011 A8 is clearly carved out of the four-ringed block. The corporate grille is in full glory as the metro-sexual goatee has now grown into a macho mini-beard. The styling is razor-sharp and cutting-edge and you can almost sense the energy in the design. The new Audi has grown in size and now has the largest external dimension as it is longer and wider than the other two cars, but doesn’t appear the size due to some smart design elements such as squared-off four corners and a dark panoramic sunroof. The most distinctive aspect of the new Audi A8 are the LED headlamps that can adjust the depth of their beams depending on the proximity of oncoming traffic, a first in any luxury car ever introduced in India. The festival of LED lights becomes a delightfully sinister sight after dark, making the new A8 the snazziest of the three executive saloons.


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