Flagship of the Mercedes-Benz fleet, the S-Class is a full-size sedan configurable with a huge number of options. Currently, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is offered in seven models with numerous equipment packages to equip your perfect luxury sedan. The Mercedes S-Class lineup is divided primarily by engine and transmission with the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid as the entry model followed by the S550, S63 AMG, and finally the S600.
All Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans are well-equipped with standard features like 14-way power driver seat (heated and cooled, of course); GPS; Harman/Kardon entertainment system with 15 speakers; and 18-inch wheels. There are numerous option packages which include backup camera systems, larger wheels, massage chairs, and the cool Splitview feature which allows the driver to view one screen (e.g., navigation) while the front passenger views another (e.g., movie).
Competitors of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class include the Audi A8, the BMW 7 Series, and the Lexus LS. Because of the sheer number of drivetrain configurations available, the Mercedes-Benz S63 can also be compared against the Maserati Quattroporte and Porsche Panamera sedans.
Body style: sedan
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6, 3.5-liter V-6, 4.6-liter V-8, 5.5-liter V-8, 5.5-liter V-12, 6.0-liter V-12
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, seven-speed automatic
Models: Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC, Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz S550, Mercedes-Benz S600, Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class underwent a mild refresh of its exterior and interior in 2011 which carry over into the new model year. The biggest change this year is the addition of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC model, which is equipped with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine and standard all-wheel drive. Fuel economy of the S350 is an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 31 mpg, besting the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid which gets 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S550 also gets a new 4.6-liter V-8 engine as well.
There have been no substantial changes to the exterior of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, with the most significant changes occurring under the hood ala the new diesel engine and revamped 4.6-liter V-8. The S-Class continues on with its prominent front grille and hood ornament, with a prominent character line sloping down the sides at the front fender and trapezoidal rear taillights distinguishing the S-Class from other Mercedes-Benz cars. From the side, a character line slopes downward toward the rear tail lamps. Standard and optional wheel and tires vary upon model and packages including other exterior enhancements like color.
Like the exterior, there are no significant changes to the interior of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Driver and passengers are swathed in premium leather and wood accents, and the interior is spacious especially the rear row. Both instrument cluster and the infotainment system on the center stack are easy to see and use, with the latter primarily controlled via a central dial unit between the driver and front passenger seat.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan's standard air-cushion suspension absorbs all but the roughest bumps, potholes, and cracks. Engine noise is virtually nonexistent as benefiting a luxury sedan, and road and wind noise are well-controlled. Mercedes-Benz aficionados may find the steering on the lighter side for a German make, but the S-Class is primarily a cruiser (albeit a fast one) even the S63 and S65 AMG models.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is equipped with a huge assortment of active and passive safety equipment. Standard eight airbags include front row airbags; front and rear row side-impact airbags; and head-protection curtains airbags. Other safety technologies include antilock brakes system (ABS); electronic stability program (ESP) and stability control systems. Active safety systems like Attention Assist, ala driver drowsiness warning is joined this year by active lane keeping assist (which affects the vehicle's braking to keep the driver within one lane); and active blind spot assist systems.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC 4Matic: 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway
Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway
Mercedes-Benz S550: 15 mpg city/25 mpg highway
Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic: 15 mpg city/24 mpg highway
Mercedes-Benz S600: 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway
Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway
Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG: 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway
You Won't Like
- Interior storage space
What engine would you like with that, sir?
If You Like This Vehicle
- Audi A8
- BMW 7 Series
- Lexus LS