Review

Mercedes S-Class saloon

Price  £68,870 - £183,560

Mercedes S-Class saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Whisper-quiet
  • Space-age technology
  • Gloriously plush interior
Cons
  • Only the top model gets the best tech
  • Some extras are very pricey
  • It’s a very big car

At a glance

The greenest
S 350 d L AMG Line Premium Plus 4dr £80,065
The cheapest
S 350 d L SE 4dr £68,870
The fastest
AMG S 65 L 4dr £183,560
Top of the range
AMG S 65 L 4dr £183,560

“As a luxury saloon, the Mercedes S-Class is tricky to beat. It’s ruled the class imperiously for years and it’s difficult to see when that might change.”

Not only is the Mercedes S-Class executive saloon the brand's most luxurious offering, it also features technology that could appear on many more cars in the future. Comfort, prestige, space and heritage are watchwords when it comes to the Mercedes S-Class, and this latest version is no exception. Whether you’re driving the S-Class, or being driven in it, the experience is never anything but exquisite.

There are a few pretenders to the S-Class’ crown – the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Maserati Quattroporte and Jaguar XJ are all direct rivals, while cars like the Range Rover, Rolls-Royce Ghost and new Bentley Bentayga offer similar experiences, but in slightly different and/or more expensive ways.

You can have your S-Class in a choice of four trim levels and one of two different wheelbase lengths. There are two ‘normal’ versions and two high-performance AMG models available. Some models are available in both the standard and super-spacious long-wheelbase bodystyles, while others are only offered with the long wheelbase.

Engine-wise, there's a big-selling 3.0-litre V6 diesel, a choice of three different hybrids (both diesel and petrol-electric combinations are available), as well as some large-capacity petrols, including high-performance AMG engines. 

The most efficient of these – the S500e plug-in hybrid – returns more than 100mpg (yes, you read that correctly) and emits just 65g/km of CO2, meaning you won’t trouble the scorers at the road tax office or have to pay the London Congestion Charge. Company-car drivers (and professional chauffeurs) will be thrilled to note that Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax sits at an exceptionally low 9%, too. It's pricey to buy in the first place, though.

At the other end of the scale are the twin-turbocharged AMG S63 and S65 models. The most insane of these – the long-wheelbase S65 – packs a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 and 621bhp, for a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds. For a car that weighs comfortably more than two tonnes, that's impressive stuff. The S63, however, ‘only’ has a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 that makes 577bhp, which results in a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds. Both are limited to 155mph at the top end. 

If you’re feeling really flush, you could also go for the extra-long-wheelbase Mercedes-Maybach S600, which takes the luxurious element of the ‘luxury saloon’ remit to a new level – and can even seat six people. 

While Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the S-Class – it doesn’t sell in big enough numbers to warrant it – you shouldn’t have any worries regarding the safety of the S-Class. This car is known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to groundbreaking safety technology and the latest version is no exception.

You also get all the familiar trappings of a luxury saloon – leather, wood, space in abundance and a supremely comfortable ride – even on the high-performance versions. For most, however, the S350d diesel will be quick enough. And as it returns around 50mpg and is the cheapest version to buy, it's the most sensible option, too.

The S-Class’ price tag is pretty high and some versions’ running costs will be huge, but for many buyers the unrivalled sense of comfort and futuristic technology make this car worth it.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.8 / 5

Surprisingly for such a big car, the Mercedes S-Class won’t cost the earth to run

Engines, drive & performance

4.1 / 5

Smoothness, refinement and comfort are the watchwords for the Mercedes S-Class here

Interior & comfort

5 / 5

A gorgeous interior, groundbreaking technology and fantastic ride quality make the Mercedes S-Class a great car to spend time in

Practicality & boot space

4.5 / 5

The Mercedes S-Class is a very big car, so there’s plenty of space inside

Reliability & safety

5 / 5

The Mercedes S-Class is available with some of the most advanced safety technology around

What the others say

5 / 5
based on 2 reviews
5 / 5
"The Mercedes S-Class is essentially a showcase for Mercedes – a chance for one of the world's best luxury brands to show what it can really do. The outgoing car was already the best in its class, and this new one has managed to move things on even further. It can drive itself down the motorway, it can give you a hot stone massage, it's even available with a system that can see bumps in the road and effectively iron them out."
5 / 5
"The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always represented the ultimate in technology. It's the car that the German manufacturer's engineers and technology experts really go to town on, pushing the envelope of what's possible in production cars today."
What owners say 
3
3 /5 based on 2 reviews
50%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

4 star   0
3 star   0
2 star   0

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Last updated 
28 Jan 2016
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