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2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class extends its long-held dominance over the luxury car realm. As well as the archetypal sedan version, the modern S-Class range incorporates coupes, convertibles and limousines. Some have AMG high-performance variants, while the limousines’ lambswool carpeting just gets deeper. No competitor can match this broad spectrum of choice.

The S-Class is the flagship among flagships, embodying everything Mercedes-Benz has stood for throughout its 100-year-plus history: absolute sophistication, peerless engineering, crushing power and cutting-edge technology.

There are so many features, it would take a book to cover them all. The seats don’t just offer a massage function, it’s a "hot stone" massage. Fragranced, ionized air wafts through the vents. There’s a suspension feature that makes speed humps virtually disappear.

As we approach the era of autonomous cars, the S-Class already has several functions. Adaptive cruise control, active steering, blind spot monitoring and collision prevention can all work together to help keep occupants, other road users and animals free from harm.

The S-Class is also a complete pleasure to drive and sit in. The ride is unruffled, the hand-crafted cabin is serene and the engines feel effortless.

What’s New for 2019?

Cosmetic tweaks here and there. The S 560 versions of the coupe and cabriolet are available in Exclusive Editions that bundle various features together. The S 560e plug-in hybrid sedan is expected to join the range mid-2019, but details were scarce when compiling this review. See the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class models for sale near you

What We Like

Tech features galore; amenities we never knew we needed; astonishing acceleration; confident handling; impeccable refinement; attention to the finest details.

What We Don’t

If there is anything, it’s too trivial to remember.

How Much?

$92,245-$254,245

Fuel Economy

The S 450 has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V8 making 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. This connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts fuel consumption for the rear-wheel-drive sedan at 19 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in combined driving. All-wheel drive (called 4Matic) adjusts those figures to 18/28/22 mpg.

The S 560 deploys a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 developing 463 hp and 516 lb-ft. This is connected to the 9-speed automatic transmission. Consumption for the sedan is 17 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined (RWD or AWD). Highway fuel consumption for the coupe and cabriolet is 26 mpg.

The AWD AMG S 63 features a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 generating 603 hp and 664 lb-ft. It uses a 9-speed automatic transmission and achieves 17 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined in sedan form. The coupe’s highway figure is 27 mpg, while the cabriolet version runs to 15 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/18 mpg combined.

The RWD only AMG S 65 rumbles with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12, linked to a 7-speed automatic transmission. Fuel use is 13 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined for the sedan. Subtract one mile per gallon for the coupe’s highway mileage. The cabriolet manages 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined.

The Maybach S 560 4Matic sedan (with the same drivetrain as the regular S 560) returns 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined; the RWD Maybach S 650 (with the same drivetrain as the S 65) achieves 13 mpg city/21 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan is offered in S 450, S 560, AMG S 63 and AMG S 65 trim levels.

The coupe and cabriolet versions are available in S 560 (AWD/4Matic in the coupe, RWD in the cabriolet), AMG S 63 and AMG S 65 forms.

The ultra-luxurious Mercedes-Maybach stretched sedans come as an S 560 4Matic or an S 650.

The S 450 sedan ($92,245) comes standard with full LED exterior and interior lighting, 19-in alloy wheels, semi-active air suspension (Airmatic), adaptive dampers, automatic wipers with heated blades, a wood/leather steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, synthetic leather upholstery (actually quite good), 12-way power-adjustable and heated front seats with memory settings, a cabin fragrance system, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-closing doors and trunk, an 115-volt power outlet, a 12.3-in digital instrument panel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a Burmester surround-sound system with dual USB ports, HD/satellite radio, 10 GB of music storage, Wi-Fi, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and the Comand infotainment system with a touchpad and its own 12.3-in display.

The S 560 sedan ($102,345) has many additional luxuries, such as quad-zone climate control, multi-contour rear seats with power adjustment and massage functions, and even heated door panels and armrests. It also has several driving aids, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, a self-parking system, Magic Body Control (which reads the road surface and adjusts the suspension accordingly), a 360-degree camera system and active front seat bolsters.

The S 560 4Matic coupe ($126,445) also has automatic parallel parking, a sport exhaust system and real leather upholstery. The RWD S 560 Cabriolet ($135,295) has a power-folding fabric roof, heated/ventilated front seats, a wind deflector, a hands-free trunk lid and keyless entry/ignition.

The AMG S 63 sedan ($150,545), coupe ($170,445) and cabriolet ($181,095) have their own exterior styling enhancements, 20-in AMG wheels, upgraded brakes, performance suspension, front and rear parking sensors, predictive adaptive dampers (Magic Body Control), a self-parking system, keyless entry/start, multi-contour front seats with active side bolsters and six massage programs, a hands-free trunk access with a foot sensor and Nappa leather upholstery.

The AMG S 65 sedan ($233,545), coupe ($242,245) and cabriolet ($254,245) ice the cake with V12 engines and an assortment of AMG styling and performance upgrades.

The Maybach S 560 4Matic ($172,195) and S 650 ($201,345) have almost every luxury and safety feature, along with extra rear passenger space.

Many standard items in the higher models are optional on lower trims. Additional options include carbon-ceramic brake discs and exterior carbon fiber trim (AMG models only), a night vision system, dual power rear seats with folding tables on the front seatbacks and a refrigerator for the rear cabin (these last two items can’t be ordered with the coupe or cabriolet).

The sedan’s trunk space measures 16 cu ft., average for the class. The coupe’s trunk area is 10.4 cu ft., not particularly roomy. The cabriolet’s cargo space is 12.4 cu ft. with the roof up, or 8.8 cu ft. when it’s folded away.

Safety

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) are all standard. Safety technology includes a collision-mitigation system, drowsiness monitor, lane-keeping assist, a 360-degree camera system, night vision and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Automatic collision notification and emergency response are also included.

Behind the Wheel

Although the S-Class is perfectly sedate under normal circumstances, every model contains a thrill under the accelerator. Even the "basic" S 450 hits 60 mph from a standing start in five seconds. Naturally, the other models are quicker.

Thanks to the standard air suspension with anti-roll technology, the S-Class stays uncannily flat through corners, providing the feeling of being completely composed. The ride is regal, the seats are beyond comfortable and the audio system would make Mozart weep for joy.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Audi A8 — All-new for this model year, crammed with up-to-the-second tech and down-to-the-finest-detail luxury features. Make a test drive part of the research for that new special sedan.

2019 BMW 7 Series — Phenomenal. Plenty of space and luxury appointments, but will also tempt you to demote the chauffeur to part-time duties.

2019 Jaguar XJ — Available in regular or long-wheelbase forms. Luxurious yet surprisingly fun behind the wheel.

2019 Lexus LS — A big improvement over the previous generation.

2019 Porsche Panamera — The driver’s choice. But no less luxurious because of that.

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

Autotrader’s Advice

S-Class cars are big and luxurious, so it makes sense to have the S 560 V8-based powertrain. And if it doesn’t come as standard, the self-parking feature will prove its worth many times. Find a Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale

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