On the face of things, the 2019 Porsche Panamera and the 2019 Mercedes S Class are two quite different vehicles. However, they're both considered full-size luxury cars so let's put them up against each other in a direct comparison to see why a sports car dealer might tell you the Panamera is the better of the two.
Affordability probably isn’t something we'd normally think of when entering a sports car dealership to view cars like these, but it needs to be considered as part of a genuine comparison. The Panamera is the more affordable car of the pair, with a starting Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $86,300, compared with a starting MSRP of $91,250 for the S Class. The difference is even bigger at the highest end of the trim-level spectrum, with the most expensive Panamera starting at $196,600. The most expensive S Class costs more than a quarter of a million dollars.
Entry-level models of both cars come with a 3.0-liter V6 under the hood, and although there's a little more power available with the S Class, it needs it, as it's bigger and 552 pounds heavier than the Panamera. The Porsche Panamera is the faster car though, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds, compared to the 5.4 seconds of the 2019 S-Class. Both cars drive and handle superbly, but the Porsche is more poised, responsive and sportier than the S Class.
Trim Levels and Specifications
Even though there are three different body styles of the S Class with sedan, coupe and cabriolet variants, there are more versions of the Panamera for buyers to choose from to get exactly the car they want. The Panamera lineup starts with the standard Panamera RWD and ends with the AWD Turbo S E-Hybrid Active, and there are 16 other choices in-between. In total, there are 14 versions of the 2019 S Class, so the Panamera offers buyers more choice.
The Panamera is more fuel-efficient than the S Class. The best EPA ratings the S Class can deliver are 19 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and a combined 22 mpg. The e-Hybrid versions of the 2019 Porsche Panamera are rated at 20 mpg combined in gas-only mode, but in hybrid mode, they return an extremely impressive 51 MPGe.
The NHTSA and IISH don’t normally crash test luxury vehicles. Although there are no official safety ratings to go by here, it would probably be fair to say both of these models take safety very seriously. As well as all the passive and active safety tech we'd expect to find at this level, both cars even offer such advanced safety equipment as night vision systems that use thermal imaging cameras to alert the driver to pedestrians and animals that might be in their path.
In The End
These are both exceptional cars, but that should be taken as a given at this level. The 2019 Porsche Panamera has the edge though. It’s more affordable, sportier and more of a true driver's car than the 2019 Mercedes S Class.