The Mercedes S-Class is a supremely classy luxury car that’s relaxing to drive and has a very comfortable interior. However, it has fewer high-tech features than some alternatives
The Mercedes S-Class is one of the very best luxury cars you can buy. Beneath those elegant looks is a car that’s wonderfully comfortable and relaxing to drive, and its classy cabin is built from high-quality materials, with a minimalist look that sets it apart from the likes of the BMW 7 Series and the newer Audi A8.
There has been a Mercedes S-Class for well over 40 years, and this model is the sixth generation. It went on sale in 2013, but was updated in 2017 with a revised infotainment system, new LED headlights and a new six-cylinder 3.0-litre diesel engine.
Sure, the Audi A8 might feel a touch better built and come with a few more high-tech features, but the Mercedes’ interior is very stylish and just as comfortable to sit in. There’s more electric seat adjustment than anyone could ever need and the longer L models have enough legroom in the back for the Big Friendly Giant to stretch out.
If you need to carry three passengers in the back, there’s more room across the rear seat of the Mercedes than in the BMW; and, if your family has the luxury of being ferried around in an S-Class, fitting a bulky child seat is pretty easy thanks to the huge rear doors.
Plenty of handy storage pockets help keep its cabin looking neat and tidy, too. And, when you need to move some luggage, you’ll find the S-Class’ boot space is about the same as the 7 Series’ and noticeably bigger than the A8’s – provided you don’t add the optional fridge, that is.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news, particularly when it comes to the Mercedes’ infotainment system. Its two 12.3-inch displays aren’t as sharp as the A8’s triple-screen layout and the iDrive system in the 7 Series is much easier to use. Thankfully, you do get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring and, as you might expect, sat-nav is standard.
The S-Class might look nearly identical to the cheaper E-Class, but its quality shines through – like seeing a band live instead of listening to them on the radio
There are a couple of high-performance models at the top of the range, but for most people, the choice will be between the 3.0-litre diesel or petrol engines. Of these, the 286hp S350d diesel is the best all-rounder – it’s fast enough for long motorway journeys and reasonably frugal around town.
Whichever version you choose, the S-Class is wonderfully relaxing to drive. Every version comes with a smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox and adaptive air suspension, and on top of that, you can even add a Driving Assistance pack that can pretty much drive the car for you on the motorway and in stop-start traffic.
The S-Class might not be quite as high-tech as the BMW 7 Series or the new Audi A8, but it’s still well worth considering if you rate style over cutting-edge technology in your luxury saloon.