What's the used Mercedes-Benz S-Class saloon like?
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is among the world’s most revered luxury cars. In fact it’s only really Rolls-Royce, Bentley and possibly Mercedes' own Maybach that could truly claim to trump it for reputation, but with those all being more than twice as expensive, that’s hardly surprising.
You could argue that what makes the S-Class special is its history. But in reality it’s the fact that Mercedes uses the S-Class as a showcase for its latest technology that makes it stand out.
The 2006-2013 S-Class is no different. For example, it was available with infra-red night vision, seats that massage their occupants and a pre-collision assist system of a type that’s taken almost a decade to become commonplace on other cars.
After reports of dubious build quality linked to the previous S-Class, Mercedes went to town on not only the design of the interior, but also its fit and finish. There was also a larger boot than before (think estate car space in a saloon body) and there’s enough room in the back seats to stretch out, particularly if you choose a long-wheelbase car.
The engine range at launch included three petrols: the S350 (268bhp V6), S500 (383bhp V8) and S600 (510bhp twin-turbo V12). But it’s the diesel S320 (232bhp V6) that's our pick of the range, combining strong performance with decent fuel economy and - crucially - a longer range between fuel stops. We aren’t alone, either, because diesel-engined S-Classes outnumber their petrol equivalents by about five to one on the used car market.
Air suspension ensures the ride is wonderfully cosseting, but not at the expense of handling. It's no hot hatch, of course, but the S-Class can still be steered precisely along a challenging road and hides its mass well.
For those who do crave more performance there’s always the 612bhp Mercedes-AMG S65 model or its baby brother, the 537bhp S63, both of which can crack 0-60mph in less than 4.5sec.
A facelift in 2010 resulted in the S320 CDI becoming the S350 CDI with improved fuel economy, the introduction of a function on the infotainment system that allows the driver and passenger to see different things on the same screen, and a general increase in the amount of standard equipment.