Lots of adjustment in the steering wheel and driver’s seat
The S-Class gets an electrically adjustable driver’s seat as standard (it includes four-way lumbar adjustment) and a steering wheel that moves in and out, as well as up and down. As a result, you – or your driver – should have no problems getting comfortable. The seat – like all of them, it’s trimmed in leather as standard – is also extremely supportive and well bolstered.
The dashboard is extremely well designed with major controls grouped sensibly, and all of them within very easy reach. Indeed, many of them are either voice controlled or automatic, so you rarely have to operate them. Even steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles are standard. As you might expect in a vehicle of this type, the central armrest is vast.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class visibility
This big car manages to hide its bulk well
Even a standard-wheelbase S-Class is a large car, and the stretched version is a proper full-length limousine. However, there’s sufficient all-round visibility to make it less daunting to drive than you might expect. It helps that even the entry-level SE Line trim gets front and rear parking sensors, and a reversing camera as standard.
Also fitted as standard is Mercedes’ excellent Magic Vision Control. This features windscreen wipers incorporating multiple water jets to provide more effective cleaning. In addition, the water is heated, so icing in winter is never an issue.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class infotainment
Glorious widescreen display standard on all models
All S-Class models, including even the entry-level SE Line editions, have a digital radio and a crisp 12.3in widescreen display in the centre of the dashboard. It is used to control not only the audio systems and sat-nav but also a number of vehicle functions including drive-mode selection. The interface is similar to those on lesser Mercedes, but the shortcut buttons for individual systems are by the rotary dial that’s positioned between the front seats, instead of up on the dash, so it’s easy to find and use them. The system offers impressive integration with smartphones, as well as connections to Facebook and Google, and with music players and other devices. Additional control is provided by the multi-function steering wheel.
A high-end Burmester surround-sound system is optional on most models. All versions have so-called Near Field Communication. This enables a convenient, wireless connection of the mobile phone with the vehicle’s telematics, simply by holding the mobile phone near the NFC logo on the head unit.
Also fitted as standard is Mercedes’ Connect Me. It includes an emergency call system (eCall), accident recovery, breakdown management and maintenance management, in-car internet access for Facebook, internet radio and Google Maps. An internet-enabled mobile phone is required.
Few rivals can claim to have such a comprehensive array of infotainment services as the S-Class. There are also 12V sockets in the centre armrest, in the rear cabin and in the boot.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class build quality
Beautifully built from exquisite materials
The cabin is beautifully finished with high-quality metal detailing, real wood, bespoke switchgear and swathes of double-stitched leather. However, it also feels modern, because the dashboard is dominated by a central infotainment display and another widescreen that acts as the instrument panel.
AMG models are liberally logo’d as such but even standard cars rarely let you forget you’re in a Mercedes, either through their badging or by the sheer quality of their materials. The ultra-exclusive Mercedes-Maybach S600 edition takes things to another level again, with even plusher materials.
An Audi A8 and a BMW 7 Series are both beautifully finished but they lack the sheer sense of luxury imparted by the S-Class.