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Comparison Test

King-size sedans: Audi A8, Mercedes S400, Hyundai Equus, Jaguar XJ

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh November 10, 2011 04:40 PM

Yes, there are times when the car guy doesn't want to get behind the wheel.

Immediately after the Bruins clinched the Stanley Cup, with a thousand chest-beating fans crowding the streets, I killed the urge to take our Porsche cabriolet downtown. Or last week, during that freakish first snowfall, I was positively hating my drive through Vermont’s desolate pitch-black roads, even in the heated confines of the new Range Rover Evoque.

But the worst has to be when I’m driving a full-size, 17-foot-long luxury sedan and never get to enjoy the back seat. It’s not that I’d rather watch a James Bond flick — any large family car can cough up a video screen — but I long to sink into the blissful, almost shameful, pampering of these big four-doors. Personal thermostats, power window shades, massagers, and a good half-acre of legroom make calling “shotgun” a fool’s wager in a Mercedes S-Class.

Still, getting behind the wheel of the Jaguar XJL, Audi A8, Mercedes S400 Hybrid, and Hyundai Equus Ultimate hasn’t been half bad. Our goal was to determine which car is the best executive express for the lucky rider in the back, and which earns highest honors for the actual driving experience? Tough assignment. Here they are from good to best.

[Ed. note: We haven't driven the BMW 7 Series or the Lexus LS in two years, so they're not included in this review]


About Boston Overdrive reports the latest trends, auto shows and wrings out the newest cars in our city's hellish maze — and across the great roads of New England.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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