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2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2015

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a lot to live up to, but the latest big-body Benz sedan is certainly up to the challenge. This is world-class luxury without compromise, which is exactly what longtime S-Class fans expect. The exterior exudes class, the interior is lined with fine leather and wood, and the engines deliver their freight-train torque with uncanny smoothness. If you're looking for a full-size luxury sedan or coupe that does just about everything exceptionally well, the 2015 S-Class is in pole position.

What's New for 2015?

Following its debut last year, the S-Class welcomes a coupe variant into the fold, and V12 power arrives in the form of the S600 and S65 AMG models. Minor equipment updates round out the changes.

What We Like

Tech features galore; amenities we never knew we needed; breathtaking acceleration; astonishingly confident handling; impeccable refinement

What We Don't

COMAND infotainment interface can complicate simple tasks

How Much?

$95,325-$231,825

Fuel Economy

All S-Class models employ a 7-speed automatic transmission, though the AMG models get a performance-tuned unit. The S600 and S65 AMG models are rear-wheel-drive only. The S550 sedan can be ordered with rear- or all-wheel drive (4MATIC), but the S550 coupe comes only with 4MATIC, as do the S63 AMG models.

The S550 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 rated at 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The S600 steps up to a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 good for 523 hp and 612 lb-ft, while the S63 AMG features a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 that pumps out 577 hp and 664 lb-ft. The top-of-the-line S65 AMG rocks out with a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 that cranks out 621 hp and 738 lb-ft.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 is offered in four trim levels: S550, S63 AMG, S600 and S65 AMG. All are available in the sedan body style, while all except the S600 are also offered in the coupe body style.

The S550 sedan ($95,325) and S550 coupe ($120,825) come standard with a V8 engine and luxuries including full LED exterior and interior lighting, a semi-active air suspension (AIRMATIC), adaptive dampers, a wood and leather steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, 16-way power front seats with memory settings, a cabin fragrance system, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-closing doors, a power-closing trunk, a 115-volt power outlet, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a Burmester surround-sound audio system with dual USB ports, mobile Wi-Fi, hard-drive-based navigation and the COMAND infotainment system with a touchpad-enhanced controller and a 12.3-in display screen of its own.

The S63 AMG sedan ($142,375) and S63 AMG coupe ($161,825) add more power and torque, subtle exterior styling enhancements, 20-in AMG wheels, upgraded brakes, a performance suspension, front and rear parking sensors, predictive adaptive dampers (Magic Body Control), a self-parking system, keyless entry/start, multicontour front seats with active side bolsters and six massage programs, hands-free trunk access with a foot sensor and Nappa leather upholstery.

The S600 sedan ($167,825) drops the S63 AMG's sport-themed features but boasts a V12 engine, a unique grille, 19-in wheels and numerous additional luxuries, such as quad-zone climate control, multicontour rear seats with power adjustments and massage functions, an executive passenger-side rear seat with a power footrest, and even heated door panels and armrests.

The S65 AMG sedan ($222,925) and S65 AMG coupe ($231,825) put the icing on the cake with a more powerful V12 and an assortment of AMG styling and performance upgrades.

Many of the standard features on higher trims are optional on lower trims. Additional options include carbon-ceramic brakes and exterior carbon-fiber trim (AMG models only), dual power rear seats with folding tables on the front seatbacks and a refrigerator box for the rear cabin.

Safety

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes standard with anti-lock disc brakes, an advanced stability control system and 11 airbags (front, front-side, front-pelvis/thorax, driver-knee, rear-side, full-length side-curtain). Also standard are a collision-mitigation system with automatic emergency braking, a drowsiness monitor, lane-keeping assist, a night-vision system and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. Mercedes additionally includes mbrace telematics with automatic collision notification and emergency response.

Behind the Wheel

Although the 2015 S-Class is perfectly sedate under normal circumstances, every model will give you a thrill when you plant your right foot. Even the base S550 is a rocket ship, hitting 60 miles per hour in less than 5 seconds with its seemingly endless twin-turbocharged thrust. Naturally, the other models are quicker still, with the V12-powered variants doing a fair impression of a jetliner barreling down the runway. Thanks to the standard AIRMATIC suspension with anti-roll technology, the S-Class stays eerily flat through corners, giving it an invincible feel. As you might expect, the ride is regally smooth, aided by the optional camera-based Magic Body Control system that scans the road ahead to prepare the suspension for bumps and other irregularities.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Audi A8 -- The A8 offers solid competition in this stratospheric category, delivering capable performance and a beautifully trimmed interior, albeit in a rather conservatively styled package.

2015 BMW 7 Series -- The 7 Series is one of the older models in this segment, but consistent updates have kept it fresh.

2015 Lexus LS -- As ever, the LS is a value play, providing similar feature content for less coin. Its aggressive front fascia may stretch the boundaries of good taste, however.

Used Rolls-Royce Phantom -- Perhaps the only car on the road with more presence than an S-Class, the Phantom can be procured in lightly used condition for the price of a high-end S-Class.

Autotrader's Advice

Believe it or not, the S550 is all the car you need. It's remarkably quick, fully loaded and utterly civilized, even with no options specified.

Find a Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader