Mercedes S-Class Saloon Performance

RRP from
average carwow saving
19.9 - 48.7
0-60 mph in
4.2 - 6 secs
First year road tax
£515 - £2,070

The S-Class comes with plenty of features designed to make it as relaxing as possible but its sublimely comfy Magic Body Control suspension costs an eye-watering £4,340

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Performance and Economy

You can get the S-Class with either a six-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine in S350d guise or as a S500 model powered by a three-litre six-cylinder petrol engine.

The S350d strikes the best balance between performance and economy. It’s smooth, quiet and will return around 45mpg compared to Mercedes’ claimed 52.3mpg. It comes with a mild-hybrid system as standard that helps reduce fuel consumption and gives it a helpful boost when you accelerate. It’ll sprint from 0-62mph in just six seconds – that’s nearly a second faster than the old S350d model with its conventional diesel engine.

You can get the S-Class with a multitude of advanced driving systems that’ll make it feel like you’ve got your own personal chauffeur – on motorways at least

Mat Watson
carwow expert

If performance is higher on your list of priorities than fuel economy you’ll want to consider the S500 petrol model instead. It’ll struggle to get more than 35mpg but it can leap from 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds and is even quieter than the diesel. Unfortunately, you can only get it in L models with an extended wheelbase.

All models come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox that’s responsive and silky smooth. It blends gears together beautifully and doesn’t lurch when you accelerate hard.

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Comfort and Handling

Adaptive air suspension is standard across the S-Class range. It separates you from the road with a cushion of pressurised air and helps soften the blow of large potholes. As a result, the S-Class is more comfortable around town than the stiffer BMW 7 Series and makes all but the most pockmarked motorways feel glass-smooth.

To help make long drives feel even more relaxing, you’ll want to pay extra for the Magic Body Control feature. It costs a fairly hefty £4,340 but uses cameras that scan the road ahead to prepare the S-Class’ suspension for any particularly monstrous potholes. It’s not quite as advanced as the system you get in an Audi A8 but it still helps make the S-Class one of the most comfortable cars on sale.

The Mercedes’ vast length can make manoeuvring through tight streets a little difficult but its controls are light and the quick-witted automatic gearbox manages to make light work of stop-start traffic. Head out onto a motorway, however, and the S-Class really comes into its own. All its engines are quiet, smooth and easily powerful enough to blast past slow-moving traffic without so much as a mild thrum.

Wind and tyre noise are impressively muted, too. You’ll hear barely a whistle from the wind at motorway speeds and the standard air suspension helps keep road noise to a minimum – even in models fitted with larger 20-inch alloy wheels.

Visibility is reasonably good – the relatively thin pillars between the doors and the windscreen don’t create any particularly annoying blindspots, but the fairly small rear windscreen can make parking a touch tricky. Thankfully, all models come with parking sensors, a reversing camera and a self-parking system that’ll steer for you into bay and parallel spaces.

The high-tech features don’t stop there. All models come with a 360-degree camera that displays a bird’s eye view of your surroundings on the infotainment screen and automatic emergency braking to help stop the car if it detects an obstacle ahead.

The latter helps make the S-Class one of the safest cars on sale, but for even greater peace of mind you’ll want to pay an extra £1,695 for the Driving Assistance Pack. This comes with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist than can essentially drive the car for you on motorways or in heavy traffic.

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