Most S-Class customers opt for the S350 diesel. This has an official fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg in standard wheelbase form, and just over 52mpg in long wheelbase. We managed 35.1mpg out of the S 350 d long wheelbase on our True MPG testing. The S300 Hybrid is even cleaner, and its lower CO2 emissions make it a tempting company car choice. The other hybrid is also impressively efficient, thanks to it being a plug-in, but the petrol S500 is expensive to buy and run, and the AMG editions – S63 and S65 – demand some serious cash.
Key editions of the S-Class look keenly priced. The S350 undercuts a Range Rover, while the Maybach S600 looks good value against equivalent Rolls-Royce and Bentley models. Even then, Mercedes’ generous discounts and finance contributions mean the S-Class’s list prices are simply an indication only. In fact, it’s for this reason, that Mercedes’ once-prized resale values are not what they were.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class equipment
Too many desirable features cost extra
Even the entry-level SE Line doesn’t really want for kit with climate control, dual widescreen displays, parking sensors, a reversing camera and air suspension all offered as standard. AMG Line trim builds on SE Line with more styling features including sporty body trims, larger alloy wheels and AMG branding. However, the really desirable kit for luxury limo buyers – everything from rear entertainment screens and an adjustable fragrance system, to a 24-speaker audio set-up and massage seats – costs extra.
Opt for the Mercedes-Maybach S600, though, and you get masses of standard equipment. The only non-bespoke options are paint colours and a choice of rear-seat layout.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class reliability
Strong reputation based on owner feedback
Mercedes has an excellent reputation for reliability. It also achieved third place overall in our most recent customer satisfaction survey, which takes into account ownership costs, customer appeal and reliability problems, finishing behind Jaguar and Lexus, but well clear of BMW and Audi.
The model comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, which is impressive among German prestige cars. Key components (the high-voltage battery, electric motor and power electronics) on the S500e AMG Line L are covered for six years or 62,000 miles. This mileage limit is hardly generous given the S-Class’s appetite for high mileages.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class safety & security
Some seriously clever kit
The S-Class gets a vast quantity of state-of-the-art safety equipment as standard, including a Pre-Safe system that uses the seatbelts to pull occupants into the best possible position if it detects that a crash is imminent.
There are plenty of safety-related options, too. Buyers can order everything from a night vision system, to a system that allows the S-Class to automatically follow the car in front in traffic jams – you don’t have to brake, accelerate or steer. Few rivals can compete with the car’s level of standard safety equipment, or the array of options available for those buyers with very deep pockets. However, the model has not been crash tested by Euro NCAP, so it’s not possible to say how any of it performs.
According to Thatcham Research, a security firm, the S-Class scored the maximum five stars for its resistance to theft, and four stars for its resistance to being broken into.
It seems churlish to call SE Line the ‘entry level’ because it gets pretty much all of the standard equipment that any reasoned human being could require. You get climate control, parking sensors all round, a reversing camera and dual widescreen displays for infotainment and the instrument panel, as well as lots of double-stitched leather fabrics.
AMG Line is designed for those who want their S-Class to look a bit more sporty. It brings 19in AMG alloy wheels, AMG styling add-ons (bumpers and side skirts), AMG floor mats and AMG brushed stainless steel sports pedals. You also get a parking pack as standard which includes Park Assist.
The full-on AMG editions of the S-Class are the S63 AMG and S65 AMG. They come in long-wheelbase form only, and offer a retuned transmission, sports exhausts, ambient cabin lighting, 19in alloy wheels and AMG sports seats.
The Maybach edition of the S-Class is even longer than ‘regular’ long-wheelbase editions, allowing for an even more luxurious rear cabin. It sits on 20in alloy wheels and features a colossal standard equipment list including executive rear seats, Magic Body Control, a head-up display and even more luxurious materials and leathers. It’s only available as a V12 twin-turbocharged petrol.