The Mercedes-Benz S-class continues its dominance as the full-size luxury vehicle against which all others are measured. The S-class caters to its wealthy clientele’s preferences with a plethora of beautiful materials, deep-seated comfort, and a plethora of technology. Although the thick leather thrones in the front and back rows indicate the S-emphasis class on comfort and swankiness, the standard air suspension rounds out the experience by turning the road into silk. And the optional E-Active Body Control can even lean the car into corners to assist you to avoid spilling any of your champagne cocktail—which you’ll be sipping while relaxing in the luxury of the available power-adjustable, reclining rear seats with heated massage function. The S-class does an excellent job of bringing the good life to life.
Performance, engine, and transmission
The S-class sedan is available with either a 429-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine on the S500 or a 496-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 on the S580. Both powertrains are complemented by a 48-volt hybrid system and are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive. We luxuriated in the S-class sedan and ran our test equipment on the V-8 variant, which gave outstanding acceleration. While every S-class features air suspension, the optional E-Active Body Control offers a “curve” mode that gently leans the car into curves. The S-class may also be fitted with all-wheel steering, which makes the large-bodied Merc surprisingly simple to operate in small situations.
Competition in the Mercedes-Benz S Class
Traditional luxury brands and ultra-luxurious brands compete with the S-Class.
The Audi RS7 and 2022 BMW M4 are the closest competitors, offering comparable spaciousness, technology, and luxury to the Mercedes.
Both have superior handling but aren’t as comfortable as the S-Class.
The Lexus LS prioritizes luxury above handling and has a strong appearance and a stunning interior.
Real-World MPG and Fuel Economy
The S500’s six-cylinder engine gets 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the interstate. The V-8-powered S580 reduces those figures to 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. We tested the latter on our 75-mph fuel-economy route, which is part of our thorough testing program, and it earned 32 mpg on the interstate, over 10 mpg better than the EPA estimate. For further information on the fuel efficiency of the S-class.