2021 Mercedes-Benz S Class Review

5/5

Overview

The Mercedes-Benz S Class has always been an opportunity for the German car giant to demonstrate to the world its array of skills and mechanical invention. It was in the S Class that Mercedes first gave the world anti-lock brakes and airbags. Looking at the technology on display in the current S-Class is about as close as most of us will ever get to getting a glimpse of the future. With the all-new W223 S-Class, Mercedes have arguably made more innovations than on any other model since the Sonderklasse was first introduced in 1972. Expectations are naturally extremely high for this car but Mercedes has matched and exceeded those expectations with aplomb. 

Pros
  • Typical Mercedes-Benz pedigree and reliability
  • State of the art interior design
  • Comprehensive list of safety equipment
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Expensive to buy

Exterior

There is a larger grille than before while the body-sides and flanks are straighter but still opulent in every respect. The headlights and taillights are equally deceptively simple to look at but hidden with is extremely complicated and sophisticated technology. Multi-beam LED’s come as standard with Digital Light a desirable option. It uses intelligent technology to project a road sign onto the road ahead to warn a driver of road works, or shine a light on a pedestrian if required. The level of detail that Mercedes engineers have invested in the small details is quite extraordinary. There are even two different types of door handle; standard ones and handles that are flush-fitted and are able to detect the key-fob before gliding down to meet your hands on arrival. They also form part and parcel of the cars aerodynamic performance which is spectacular – the S-Class cuts through the air with a minimalist drag co-efficient of just 0.22.

Interior

Here Mercedes-Benz have managed to successfully mix cutting edge technology with traditional refinements to give us what is surely the best interior money can buy. Once inside you are immediately greeted by the wonderful array of ambient lighting. Mercedes have adorned the S-Class interior with 250 LEDs which gently light the interior in a comforting warm glow. It is also connected to the vehicles numerous safety systems and pulses if something is picked up. There are ‘floating’ screens above the dashboard while the window buttons appear on a panel that also appears to be in mid-air. The 12.3 inch instrument display comes complete with 3D functionality while the instruments can be displayed in four different guises and three modes. The seats contain no less than 19 massage motors and some rather wonderfully soft headrests. Even Kraftwork would be proud of the top of the range audio system which has 31 speakers and subwoofers built into the back of the front seats.

Performance

The S-Class weighs 1,990kg which is less than you might think for such impressive car. It is most at home at cruising speed on the motorway (or autobahn) where it is as quiet and refined as you would expect. There are four different drive modes to choose from: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. Comfort is the one that probably suits Irish roads best and it works well with the nine-speed automatic gearbox, especially when you push it into Sport mode and assume control via the steering wheel paddles.

Reliability

Mercedes-Benz recent reliability record is second-to-none and all models come with a two year/unlimited mileage warranty. 

Running Costs

Although expensive to buy, the S-Class should not be prohibitive to own. The S350d that will power most Irish S-Class’s returns more than 50 miles per gallon and emits 139g/km of CO2. The S 500 L averages just over 40 miles per gallon while the 560 e mild-hybrid returns an incredible 113 miles per gallon. Mercedes tell us that over 50 electronic components in the car are capable of receiving over-the-air updates including the driver display and driving assistance systems. With a pure-electric motor coming down the line this could be the last attempt at an internal combustion S-Class from Mercedes so enjoy it!

Handling

Wind noise is minimal and the standard air suspension glides over bumps with ease. Yet it is still agile with slick, well weighted steering. Sport mode will stiffen the adaptive dampers and makes a twisty b-road surprisingly good fun.

Safety

The S Class comes with a range of standard safety equipment and was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
100%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The Mercedes-Benz S Class has always been an opportunity for the German car giant to demonstrate to the world its array of skills and mechanical invention. It was in the S Class that Mercedes first gave the world anti-lock brakes and airbags. Looking at the technology on display in the current S-Class is about as close as most of us will ever get to getting a glimpse of the future. With the all-new W223 S-Class, Mercedes have arguably made more innovations than on any other model since the Sonderklasse was first introduced in 1972. Expectations are naturally extremely high for this car but Mercedes has matched and exceeded those expectations with aplomb.