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2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      21
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      382/391
    • ENGINE
      5.5L V8
    • MSRP
      $86,700
  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S600 Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      17
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      510/612
    • ENGINE
      5.5L V12
    • MSRP
      $144,200
  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S63 AMG Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      17
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      518/465
    • ENGINE
      6.2L V8
    • MSRP
      $127,000
  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S65 AMG Sedan
    • MAX MPG
      17
    • SEATS
      5
    • HP/TORQUE
      604/738
    • ENGINE
      6.0L V12
    • MSRP
      $194,000
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  • Review

2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

High-tech luxury sedan blends power and prestige.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

Given the success of its flagship sedan, it’s no surprise that Mercedes-Benz has changed very little in its 2008 S-Class line. Standard satellite is the only new feature for the illustrious S-Class, which continues to attract luxury-oriented buyers with its elegant design, powerful engines, and state-of-the-art engineering.

The S-Class is offered in four increasingly-sporty trims, each with a unique engine. The base S550 comes with a 5.5-liter V-8, the S63 AMG is equipped with a 6.2-liter V-8, the S600 with a twin-turbo, 5.5-liter V-12, and the S65 AMG with a six-liter V-12 making an impressive 604 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard; however, the S550 is also available with all-wheel drive. Inside the cabin, premium leather, adaptive seats, and a long list of standard technology features make for a comfortable ride. While the S-Class can’t match the agile driving dynamics of top-of-the-line sport sedans, its air suspension and sharp handling make it one of the best performers in the luxury sedan segment.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 5.5-liter V-8, 6.2-liter V-8, 5.5-liter V-12, 6.0-liter V-12
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, seven-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz S550, Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz S600, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

What's New

With the exception of standard satellite radio, nothing is new about the 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Exterior

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 comes equipped with 18-inch wheels, a chrome grille, bi-xenon headlights, foglights, a remote-operated power sunroof, a power rear sunshade, variable intermittent rain-sensing windshield wipers, a rear defogger, cargo tie-downs, and an air spring suspension. An AWD system and Mercedes’ Active Body Control (ABC) active suspension are optional. Upgrading to the S63 AMG adds the larger V-8, 20-inch wheels, performance tires, bigger brakes, the ABC suspension, and distinctive exterior details.

Both V-8 trims are available with optional keyless entry and ignition and an infrared night-vision assistance feature. An AMG package outfits the S550 with the S63 AMG’s wheels and trim, while a performance package provides the S63 with a limited-slip rear differential and increases the top-speed governor from its normal 155 mph to 186 mph. The S600 and S65 AMG come with all the features of the V-8 trims, plus its respective V-12 engines. The S600 also adds a fixed-glass rear sunroof.

Interior

Trimmed in premium leather and high-quality wood, the cabin of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is elegant and refined. Seats are well-bolstered and controls and equipment are laid out intuitively, though some have complained that the low-set turn signal stalk can be difficult to reach.

Standard interior features on the base S550 include leather upholstery, a leather tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with transmission and audio controls, an alloy-trimmed shift knob, 14-way adjustable front seats with lumbar support and multiple heat settings, memory settings for three drivers, a reverse-tilt passenger mirror, power-adjustable heated mirrors, power locks, one-touch power windows, retained accessory power, a universal remote transmitter, 12-volt power outlets, interior air filtration, dual-zone climate control, extended cabin heating, a trip computer, a compass, and an external temperature display. Technology features include a hard-drive-based navigation system, a COMAND multimedia interface, Bluetooth, a voice-activated phone, Mercedes’ TeleAid emergency communications system, satellite radio, and a 14-speaker 600-watt Harman Kardon surround-sound system with a CD player and MP3 playback.

The S63 AMG adds sport seats and aluminum trim. Both V-8 models are eligible for available ventilated front seats with massage settings or a Rear Seat Package, which adds four-zone automatic climate control and heated and cooled rear seats. All of the above features come standard on the S600 and S65 AMG.

Performance & Handling

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 comes fitted with a 5.5-liter V-8 producing 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque, while the S63 AMG features a 6.2-liter V-8 making 518 horses and 465 lb-ft. Both V-8s are matched to a seven-speed automatic transmission, but the AMG version has been tweaked for faster gear changes. Upgrading to the S600 adds a 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-12 churning out 510 hp and 612 lb-ft. The top-of-the-line S65 AMG is powered by a six-liter V-12 producing an eye-popping 604 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Each V-12 is paired to a five-speed automatic gearbox.

At 4300 pounds, even the lightest of S-Class models is still undeniably hefty. However, the S-Class’ high-tech air suspension manages to minimize body roll and bumps while its sharp steering lends a sporty feel.

Safety

As with most everything else about the 2008 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, safety features are state-of-the-art. Standard safety equipment on all S-Class models includes front and rear head airbags, dual front and rear side-mounted airbags, front whiplash-reducing head restraints, cornering lights, dusk-sensing self-leveling headlights, night-vision assistance technology, stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, emergency braking assist, brake drying, tire pressure monitoring, and pre- and post-collision safety systems.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mercedes-Benz S550: 14/21 mpg city/highway
Mercedes-Benz S600, S63 AMG, S65 AMG: 11/17 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Sumptuous styling
  • Innovative technologies
  • Impressive acceleration
  • Available AWD

You Won't Like

  • Pricey options
  • Awkwardly-placed turn signals

Sum Up

High-tech luxury sedan blends power and prestige.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Audi A8
  • BMW 7-Series
  • Bentley Arnage
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom

See the New 2015 S-Class.

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