Mercedes S-Class Saloon Review & Prices
The Mercedes S-Class has some of the most impressive technology you’ll see in any car. It’s luxurious and comfortable too. Its exterior design could be a bit more exciting though
Find out more about the Mercedes S-Class Saloon
The S-Class is a pioneer because it always showcases the latest Mercedes technology before it filters down through the rest of the range.
Still, using the latest tech in this luxurious high-tech limo is always special – it’s like hearing music as it was meant to be played by a live orchestra rather than streamed on your phone.
It doesn’t look radically different from the previous model, mind you, but it does feature quite a few traits shared with other recently updated Mercedes models. The new grille and rounder headlights look like they’ve been lifted from the latest E-Class, for example.
Mercedes has smashed it out of the park with the interior of the S-Class. Shame the exterior isn't as opulent
From the side, the new S-Class has fewer creases than the old car. This makes it look smoother, but also a little like an elongated E-Class. And, at the back, the new brake lights look very similar to the triangular lights you get on a CLS.
What’s cool is that the flush-fitting door handles pop out when the car senses that you’re nearby. And once you get inside, the new S-Class looks completely different from any other Mercedes.
You can get the S-Class interior with a load of different trims, including a gorgeous wooden design with vertical metal bars. It looks like a vintage speed boat got frisky with a grand piano.
All this wood looks especially good with the car’s new mood lighting turned on. And, just like before, you can get the S-Class with a panoramic glass roof to make its massive cabin feel even airier inside. Of course, space in the front and back is superb, and there’s even a long wheelbase version if the standard back seats feel a bit poky.
The main thing you’ll notice inside is the new touchscreen. This huge screen replaces 27 of the old S-Class’s physical buttons, including the central touchpad.
The touchscreen can tell where your finger is even before you’ve pressed it, and it gives haptic feedback which makes it easier to use on the move. You can even lock the screen using fingerprint or face recognition so there’s no chance of your passengers fiddling with anything while you’re out of the car.
The new Mercedes S-Class will be available with five power options: three six-cylinder, 3.0-litre engines – a petrol and two diesels, all with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, plus an ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid is also available.
Also as standard is adaptive air suspension, so the only thing more comfortable is likely to be a velvet-lined waterbed. Better still, it manages to combine a really cosseting drive and pin-drop silence with decent capability on winding country roads.
It’s actually fairly agile, although a BMW 7 Series is probably a little bit more engaging to drive. Mind you, who cares when many S-Class owners are likely to be experiencing life from the back seat.
The S-Class also comes with some unique safety features. For starters, there’s an optional back-seat airbag that gives passengers in the back of long-wheelbase models similar protection to the driver in a head-on collision. It is also capable of level 3 autonomous driving, meaning it can accelerate, brake, steer and change lanes for you on motorways.
The Mercedes S-Class Saloon has a RRP range of £93,920 to £188,810. Prices start at £93,920 if paying cash. The price of a used Mercedes S-Class Saloon on carwow starts at £76,000.
Our most popular versions of the Mercedes S-Class Saloon are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|S580e L AMG Line Prem + Executive 4dr 9G-Tronic||£123,105||Compare offers|
|S500L 449 4Matic AMG Line Prem+ Exec 4dr 9G-Tronic||£120,820||Compare offers|
|S500 449 4Matic AMG Line Premium 4dr 9G-Tronic||£105,405||Compare offers|
The Mercedes competes with alternatives including the Audi A8 and the new BMW 7 Series.
Compared to the Audi, the Mercedes S-Class looks expensive, but a closer look at standard equipment levels reveals a different story. The Mercedes has more advanced autonomous assistance and gets kit like a 360-degree parking camera and ambient interior lighting as standard. As of 2022 it’s also a newer design, which counts for something in the ruthless world of the luxury car market.
The Mercedes S-Class pampers you with its air suspension and a vast array of autonomous driving aids, although a BMW 7 Series is more involving to drive
You might think that steering a big car like the S-Class around town would be a nerve-racking business, but you’d be mistaken. Although it’s obviously a big lineup of metal, the Mercedes is packed with technology to help make urban driving as comfortable as possible.
The Mercedes has a 360-degree camera fitted as standard so squeezing into tight spaces isn’t the heart-and-mouth moment you might expect it to be. It’s also handy when getting tight against kerbs or negotiating width restrictors without worrying about damage.
Parking is especially easy when you realise the S-Class can park itself. Its autonomous system requires no input from you at all, just press a button on the infotainment system and the car can select a space, and then operate the accelerator, brakes and steering all on its own. It won’t even turn its nose up to tight spaces, it has no qualms about getting within a hair's breadth of other parked cars. It even has the capability to park itself when you’re not in the car, although this technology is currently turned off for legal reasons.
The same system can also pull you back out of parking space and once you hit the city streets, you’ll realise it’s not just parking that S-Class aces – it is also blooming comfortable once you get up to speed. Its air suspension uses a camera to scan the road ahead, slackening itself to deal with bumps and lumps in the road to the point that you don’t feel them.
On the motorway
The Mercedes S-Class is capable of driving itself on the motorway, although UK law means this full-autonomous mode can’t currently be activated.
Regardless, the S-Class is one of the most comfortable motorway cruisers you can buy. Sure, full autonomy will have to wait, but the Mercedes can still accelerate, brake, steer and change lanes by itself so long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
But it also gets the fundamentals just right. It glides over bumps – even smoothing out expansion joints that often catch out air suspension – suffers from very little engine, road or wind noise, and feels very stable at high speeds. If you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, nothing beats the S-Class for comfort.
On a twisty road
The S-Class is all about isolating you from the road, so Porsche-like driver involvement is off the menu. That being said, for a huge luxury limousine, the S-Class remains tidy in corners. It doesn’t lean excessively, and it has plenty of grip and accurate steering – despite appearances, it’s a car you can confidently drive quickly.
The Mercedes S-Class has all the space you need and all the luxuries you could wish for, although it’s a shame some of those eat into boot space
All versions of the Mercedes S-Class come with electrically adjustable seats and an electrically adjustable steering wheel so it takes no effort to get a comfortable driving position. You also get a memory function that makes it easy to return them to the correct position after someone else has used the car.
The front seats feel like they belong in your living room rather than a Mercedes, although your armchair at home doesn’t have four-way lumbar adjustment. All the front and outer rear seats are heated, while high-end models also get seat cooling front and rear.
There’s no shortage of interior stowage. Under the front centre armrest, you’ll find a larger-than-average storage cubby complete with two USB-C plugs and wireless charging. You also get two cup holders hidden under a panel on the centre console and, next to those, you’ll find two more USB-C plugs and another wireless charging pad. There’s even a storage tray behind the floating centre infotainment screen. Naturally, the S-Class doesn’t skimp on the rudimentary storage – you still get a large glovebox and big door bins.
Space in the back seats
For the proper S-Class experience, you need to try it from the back seat. You get more room than you did in the old model (which itself wasn’t exactly lacking) so even if you’re tall, you get loads of knee and headroom. Go for the optional First Class seating setup and the back seat is electrically adjustable and can switch to a reclined position – with calf and heel support – at the touch of a button. You even get electrically operated blinds and a seat belt butler that brings the seat belt to your hand.
What else? Well, you can have the back seat kitted out with no less than three touchscreens, four USB-C plugs, wireless charging, foldout tables and a champagne fridge. Options are pretty much only limited by your budget.
All Mercedes S-Class models come with an electrically operated tailgate and it opens to reveal a 550-litre boot capacity – 20 litres more than you got in the old model. Having said that, specifying the champagne fridge or electrically adjustable rear seats eats into space. Hybrid models also have a smaller boot because their batteries are hidden under the floor.
The Mercedes S-Class interior is very posh thanks to expensive materials and some of the best infotainment in the business, it’s just a shame about the fiddly steering wheel controls
From the inside, the new Mercedes S-Class feels completely different to the old model.
Out goes the widescreen (actually two-screen) display of the outgoing and in comes a freestanding digital instrument binnacle backed up by a huge, floating portrait-style infotainment screen on the centre console. The graphic definition on both screens is incredible.
And so is the interior quality. You get pin-stripe wood trim that wouldn’t look out of place on a mega yacht, super-soft leather and cool ambient lighting. Even the wraparound style of the dashboard feels luxurious.
But it’s the massive OLED centre touchscreen that grabs your attention. It’s super responsive – gliding through menus with zero resistance – and looks beautiful. Mercedes MBUX operating system means you can control the screen using voice commands and you also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted as standard.
The screen behind the steering wheel is just as impressive thanks to its 3D effect display that looks very cool and has various views that you can choose between. It’s controlled via buttons on the steering which can be a bit of a footer to use.
AMG Line Premium Plus models and above also have a head-up display that can project sat-nav directions onto the road, backed up by the S-Class’ standard and excellent augmented-reality sat nav.
The Mercedes S-Class is available with a choice of four engines – a petrol, two diesels and a plug-in hybrid petrol – all of which are mated to a silky-smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Go for the basic 286hp diesel and you’ll not find it wanting. It can waft the Mercedes from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and its six-cylinder design means all you’ll hear is a muffled roar from under the bonnet. It returns a fuel economy figure of around 40mpg but costs a hefty £945 to tax in the first year.
Want more power? Then the 330hp S400d is worth a look. It gets from 0-62mph in around 5.4 seconds and is only marginally more expensive to run than the 350.
The 435hp S500 is slightly smoother and quieter than the diesels and drops the S-Class 0-62mph time down to 4.9 seconds. However, it's comparatively expensive to run with fuel economy of around 30mpg and road tax of £1,420 in the first year.
If you really want a petrol, the 376hp S580e plug-in hybrid makes more sense. It’s much pricier to buy but costs nothing to tax in year one and has an impressive pure-electric range of up to 65 miles – enough to get the average commuter to and from work on one charge. It’s also very quiet in electric mode. Despite its eco credentials, the S580 is only bettered by the 500 for performance, getting from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds.
The Mercedes S-Class hasn’t been tested for safety by Euro NCAP, but you would expect it to put in a strong performance.
Why? Because it comes bristling with a vast array of safety features. All models come with a Driver Assistance package which means the S-Class can accelerate, brake, steer and overtake other cars automatically. It can even steer around imminent collisions if there’s no space to stop. The air suspension also has a trick up its sleeve – in side impacts, it can raise the car 80mm to lift you further away from the impact.
All S-Class models also come fitted with an alarm that includes a three-year tracking subscription so even if the car gets nicked, you should be able to find it.
The new Mercedes S-Class hasn’t been subject to any recalls and although we don’t have any data on its reliability, Mercedes tends to underperform a little for a premium brand.
On the upside, it does come with a three-year/unlimited mileage warranty which betters the 60,000-mile cover you get with an Audi A8.