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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Sublime refinement; effortlessly classy

Against Running costs are steep

Verdict It’s big, imposing and worth the money

Go for… S320 CDI

Avoid… S5000

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Saloon
  • 1. The S-Class is luxurious, refined and epitomises what luxury cars are all about
  • 2. The S-Class also comes packed with technology designed to keep passengers safe and the driver in control
  • 3. The 320CDI diesel version makes the most sense, with more manageable fuel bills and better resale values
  • 4. The electrics are the most vulnerable with the Comand sat-nav system a possible weak spot, while the engine can slip into safe mode and require dealer attention
  • 5. Ex-limo and executive taxi cars are easily spotted – thanks to their astronomical mileages – and are best avoided
  • 6. The 320 CDI diesel does an average of 34mpg, which isn't bad considering the size of the car, but road tax will cost over £400, because of the CO2 emissions of 220g/km
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Mercedes-Benz S-Class Saloon full review with expert trade views

The S-Class is luxurious, refined and epitomises what luxury cars are all about – but you don’t have to spend a fortune on a used example.

The steering has plenty of feel and the S-Class is surprisingly composed for such a big car. The ride is great, too, thanks to the air suspension system.

The S-Class also comes packed with technology designed to keep passengers safe and the driver in control, but look out for some great options such as infra-red night vision, to help spot hazards in the road, and Active Body Control, which enhances the car’s handling.

Trade view

Former executive limo cars with sky-high mileages are best avoided unless attractively priced and scrupulously maintained.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Which one should I get? The 320CDI diesel version makes the most sense, with more manageable fuel bills and better resale values.

Those looking for the supreme S-Class should consider the S63 AMG edition. However, it came with a new list price of more than £90,000 and 465bhp, so is not for the faint-hearted or the financially restricted.

Even the standard-spec car is well equipped, and buyers can expect sat-nav climate control, leather upholstery and electrically adjustable seats.

For the even more luxury and comfort, buyers might want to consider the long-wheel-base version. These come with a higher-spec, but cost considerably more than the standard car.

The range was given a face-lift in 2006, including a redesigned front grille and bumper, revised headlights, along with an improved steering wheel layout and new design of seat.

Trade view

This mighty Merc is an impeccable luxury car, and lets you feel like a head of state.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The S-Class will cost more to run that most cars but, if you’re careful, you shouldn’t have to take out an overdraft.

The 320 CDI diesel does an average of 34mpg, which isn't bad considering the size of the car, but road tax will cost over £400, because of the CO2 emissions of 220g/km. The 350 CDI Blue Efficiency model was introduced in 2009, improving fuel economy to 37.2mpg, while CO2 emissions were cut to 199g/km.

The range starts at insurance group 48 and rises to group 50 for the most powerful models.

Trade view

Former executive limo cars with sky-high mileages are best avoided unless attractively priced and scrupulously maintained.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The S-Class range has a long-established reputation for durability and reliability, but although this generation of car is not quite as solid as its predecessors, it’s by no means shabby.

The electrics are the most vulnerable with the Comand sat-nav system a possible weak spot, while the engine can slip into safe mode and require dealer attention.

The suspension is vulnerable to wear and tear, and there are isolated complaints of cabin trim rattles and squeaks, but these are few and far between.

Ex-limo and executive taxi cars are easily spotted – thanks to their astronomical mileages – and are best avoided unless attractively priced and scrupulously maintained.

Trade view

This mighty Merc is an impeccable luxury car, and lets you feel like a head of state.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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