Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Mercedes S-Class review

The Mercedes S-Class is a luxury flagship limousine that’s packed with the latest technology

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Price
£74,540 to £106,340
  • Fantastic interior
  • Incredible refinement
  • Comfortable ride
  • Expensive options
  • High price-tag

There are few experiences more relaxing than driving an S-Class; in fact, just about the only thing that can top it is if you're in the back seat, being chauffeured. Merc's biggest saloon was crowned our 2016 Luxury Car of the Year, and vibrations through the pedals and steering wheel are non-existent: even at motorway speeds you won’t hear any wind or tyre roar.

Advertisement - Article continues below

All the engines are fantastic, but it’s amazing that Mercedes can offer a six-cylinder diesel-engined model that returns more than 50mpg. For the ultimate in speed, there are high performance S 63 V8 or S 65 V12 Mercedes-AMG versions. Stepping down a peg, there’s the S 500 straight-six which is still no slouch, hitting 0-62mph in under five seconds and averaging more than 40mpg.

• Mercedes S-Class vs Audi A8 vs Lexus LS

In short, the Mercedes S-Class has set the standard for luxury and cutting-edge technology for over 40 years - and this sixth-generation car is the best yet. Other revisions for the 2017 model year include some minor styling updates and some major technical changes, including a new straight-six diesel engine and a new mild-hybrid powertrain.

Not only is the S-Class easily the best car in its class, it also shows up much more expensive models with its sublime ride, expansive tech package and luxurious interior.

The Mercedes Benz S-Class is the most luxurious model to wear the famed three-pointed star, and as you would expect it’s a technical and technological tour-de-force.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The ultimate Mercedes saloon takes on a small but very desirable band of rivals in the luxury sector, including relatively mainstream models such as the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Jaguar XJ, and more rarified competitors like the Aston Martin Rapide, Bentley Flying Spur, Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera and even the Rolls-Royce Ghost. That’s before you factor in a variety of high-end luxury SUVs, including the Range Rover, Audi Q7 and the Bentley Bentayga. There’s a standard S-Class saloon, but most of the models have an extended wheelbase that caters for those who don’t drive themselves. In complete contrast, the high-performance Mercedes-AMG S 63 and 65 models, as well as the coupe and cabriolet versions, add a dash of extra excitement for those who do.

While today's S-Class lacks some of the bespoke feel of previous generations – until the mid-1990s, the Mercedes flagship’s development was famously free of budget restrictions – it remains a remarkable machine. The model also maintains the tradition of introducing exciting new technologies to the Mercedes line-up, and often to the automotive world.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In the case of the current S-Class, it was Magic Body Control that garnered the headlines at launch. Standard on the S 65, it’s a system that uses cameras to scan the road in front for imperfections, then pre-adjusts the suspension to meet the oncoming challenge. Other highlights include an advanced high-definition TFT instrument pack, and the Driving Assistance tech that keeps the car in its lane and a safe distance from other traffic when the cruise control is switched on.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Aside from the technical advances, the S-Class has always been the car that shows the way forward for Mercedes' design, which means sleekly powerful lines and a superbly finished cabin.

Under the bonnet, the 'regular' S-Class is available with a choice of two 3.0-litre six-cylinder engines: a diesel unit in the S 350d or a considerably more powerful petrol engine in the S 500. Then, at the top of the range are the Mercedes-AMG S 63 and S 65 models, with monstrously powerful 4.0-litre V8 and 6.0-litre V12 engines, respectively.  

Advertisement - Article continues below

For those looking for better fuel economy, Mercedes will also sell you a mild-hybrid S-Class, called the S 560 e. It combines a 3.0-litre petrol V6 with an electric motor, producing claimed economy figures of 113mpg and a combined power output of 469bhp.

Trim levels are even simpler, with both the S 350d and S 500 coming in AMG Line trim and the two AMG models having their own unique specifications. If you want to go beyond AMG Line trim, not only are there loads of options, you can also add either the Premium or Premium Plus packages. The former adds a 360-degree camera with remote parking assistant, heated/cooled front seats, a panoramic glass sunroof and nappa leather upholstery; and, on top of that, the latter adds an uprated stereo, massaging front seats and both the Energising Comfort and Air-Balance packages.  

Even ‘standard’ AMG Line cars are well equipped, with air suspension, keyless-go, 19-inch alloy wheels, an AMG bodykit, metallic paint, electrically adjustable front seats, a 12.3-inch display and ambient lighting, with a choice of 64 different colours. And, if you want to make things even more luxurious for your rear-seat passengers, there's the Executive package, which includes adjustable backrests, heated/cooled electrically operated seats, blinds in the rear windows and rear climate control.

For an alternative review of the latest Mercedes S-Class Saloon visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Advertisement

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    S350d Grand Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £74,540

Most Economical

  • Name
    S560e L Grand Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £96,750

Fastest

  • Name
    S500L Grand Edition 4dr 9G-Tronic
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £86,750
Advertisement

More on S-Class

Visit New Mercedes S-Class teased ahead of late 2020 reveal
Mercedes S-Class
26 May 2020

New Mercedes S-Class teased ahead of late 2020 reveal

Next-generation of the Merc’s flagship saloon coming later this year with a significant redesign
Visit New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class spied testing
image
Mercedes S-Class
22 Apr 2020

New 2021 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class spied testing

New Mercedes-Maybach S-Class luxury limo spotted at the Nurburgring ahead of launch in 2021
Visit New Mercedes Vision EQS concept review
Mercedes EQS - front
Mercedes S-Class Saloon
12 Dec 2019

New Mercedes Vision EQS concept review

The multi-million Mercedes Vision EQS concept is a one-off, but previews a future 400-mile luxury electric car due in 2021
Advertisement
Visit New Mercedes S 560 e L 2019 review
Mercedes S 560 e - front
Mercedes S-Class Saloon
29 Mar 2019

New Mercedes S 560 e L 2019 review

With 25 miles of pure electric range, is the new plug-in Mercedes S 560 e L the ultimate green limo?
Visit Mercedes S-Class Coupe review
image
Mercedes S-Class Coupe
22 Jun 2018

Mercedes S-Class Coupe review

The S-Class Coupe puts the supreme luxury, comfort, styling and performance of the limo in a two-door package
Visit Updated Mercedes-Maybach S-Class makes 2018 Geneva debut
Mercedes-Maybach S-Class - Geneva front
Mercedes S-Class
5 Mar 2018

Updated Mercedes-Maybach S-Class makes 2018 Geneva debut

Flagship luxury model gains updated trim options and new styling to set it apart from the standard S-Class
Visit Mercedes S-Class vs BMW 7 Series
Mercedes S-Class vs BMW 7 Series - header
Mercedes S-Class
3 Feb 2018

Mercedes S-Class vs BMW 7 Series

The latest Mercedes S-Class meets the BMW 7 Series in a limo battle that’s raged for decades
Visit 2018 Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet joins Coupe, priced from £115,910
Mercedes S-Class Coupe - front
Mercedes S-Class Coupe
14 Dec 2017

2018 Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet joins Coupe, priced from £115,910

The Mercedes S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet get a series of design tweaks and engine upgrades with two AMG models also available
Visit New Mercedes S-Class Coupe 2017 review
Mercedes S-Class coupe - front
Mercedes S-Class Coupe
2 Dec 2017

New Mercedes S-Class Coupe 2017 review

Big on luxury and performance but with more than a touch of class, the new Mercedes S-Class Coupe is a formidable machine...
Advertisement
Visit Extreme Brabus 700 and 900 launched based on Mercedes S-Class
Brabus 700
Mercedes S-Class
10 Nov 2017

Extreme Brabus 700 and 900 launched based on Mercedes S-Class

Two variants have been produced by Brabus, with the models producing 691bhp and 888bhp respectively
Visit New Mercedes S-Class 2017 facelift review
Mercedes S-Class - front
Mercedes S-Class Saloon
3 Nov 2017

New Mercedes S-Class 2017 facelift review

The flagship Mercedes S-Class has been updated, bringing subtle changes and a new entry-level 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engine
Advertisement
Visit Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
Mercedes S 500 Cabriolet 2016 - front cornering
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
21 Aug 2017

Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet

Glamorous, imposing and blisteringly quick, the S-Class Cabriolet is a spectacularly stylish drop-top
Visit New Mercedes-AMG S 63 2017 review
Mercedes-AMG S 63 - front
Mercedes S-Class S63 AMG Saloon
11 Aug 2017

New Mercedes-AMG S 63 2017 review

The Mercedes-AMG S 63 now has a smaller 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, but does it detract from its appeal?
Visit New 2017 Mercedes S-Class: UK prices and specs revealed
New Mercedes S-Class shanghai front quarter
Mercedes S-Class
18 Jul 2017

New 2017 Mercedes S-Class: UK prices and specs revealed

The latest Mercedes S-Class has been unveiled, along with a new range of prices and specs
Visit New Mercedes S-Class 2017 ride review
Mercedes S-Class 2017 ride review - front tracking
Mercedes S-Class Saloon
16 Mar 2017

New Mercedes S-Class 2017 ride review

We get our first taste of the facelifted Mercedes S-Class saloon with a passenger ride and tech preview
Advertisement
Visit Mercedes S-Class Coupe Night Edition revealed for Detroit show
Mercedes S Class Coupe Night Edition
Mercedes S-Class Coupe
16 Dec 2016

Mercedes S-Class Coupe Night Edition revealed for Detroit show

Special edition luxury coupes get dark styling tweaks to stand out from the crowd
Visit 2017 Mercedes S-Class facelift to bring wholesale engine upgrades
Mercedes S-Class engine updates
Mercedes S-Class
28 Oct 2016

2017 Mercedes S-Class facelift to bring wholesale engine upgrades

The 2017 Mercedes S-Class is set to gain advanced new engine tech along with a 48v electrical system
Visit Luxury Car of the Year 2016: Mercedes S-Class
New Car Awards 2016: Luxury Car of the Year - Mercedes S-Class
Mercedes S-Class
6 Jul 2016

Luxury Car of the Year 2016: Mercedes S-Class

The Mercedes S-Class is the 2016 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Mulsanne and Range Rover commended
Visit Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet 2016 review
Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet 2016 - front tracking 2
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
27 Jun 2016

Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet 2016 review

We see if 577bhp Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet is as good as the brilliant Coupe
Visit New Brabus 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio is fastest, most powerful drop-top
Brabus 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio - front quarter
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
20 Jun 2016

New Brabus 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio is fastest, most powerful drop-top

The monstrous new cabriolet is based on the S 63 AMG cabriolet, and comes with 838bhp
Visit New Mercedes S 500 Cabriolet 2016 review
Mercedes S 500 Cabriolet 2016 - front tracking
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
12 May 2016

New Mercedes S 500 Cabriolet 2016 review

Our verdict on the £110k 'entry-level' Mercedes S-Class Cabrio as it hits Britain
Advertisement
Visit Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet prices and specs revealed
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet 2
Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet
4 Apr 2016

Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet prices and specs revealed

Mercedes' new folding-roof S-Class starts from £110,120, with deliveries in the summer
Visit BMW 7 Series vs Mercedes S-Class vs Jaguar XJ
BMW 7 Series vs Mercedes S-Class vs Jaguar XJ - header
BMW 7 Series
2 Apr 2016

BMW 7 Series vs Mercedes S-Class vs Jaguar XJ

Can the new BMW 7 Series unseat the Mercedes S-Class and Jaguar XJ to take the luxury car crown?