The gold standard. Many luxury brands make a palatial cruiser, but few carry themselves with the gravitas of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This is the car against which all other luxury sedans are measured.

The S-Class’ reputation is built on sophistication and class. The interior is swathed in leather and wood, and the exterior manages both elegance and extravagance. A Maybach edition gets a longer roofline and striking two-tone color schemes.

The S-Class comes in four-door, coupe, or convertible forms. All have seating for four, and all are equally polished.

Power to spare. But the S-Class isn’t just about show – there’s a lot of go here, too.

The base engine is already formidable, with 362 horsepower propelling the large sedan from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. At up to an EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon combined, efficiency isn’t terrible either. The competition is fierce – the BMW 7-Series offers less power, but it’s just as quick and a couple mpg more efficient.

But things only get more dramatic from there. The S 560 gets a twin-turbocharged V8 for 463 hp and nearly a second shaved off the zero-to-60 time. Still not good enough? Two AMG versions boast horsepower numbers above 600. One is powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12, a rare sight these days and likely in its final model year.

The ride matches the power. Adaptive dampers come standard, and the higher trims get “Magic Body Control” for both flat cornering and supreme comfort. The S-Class isn’t a sports car, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Life’s better in the back. Although the S-Class is plenty of fun from the driver’s seat, it may be even better from the back seat. Cabin space is excellent (although rivals like the 7-Series or Audi A8 offer slightly more), and the seats are supportive.

The limits of luxury are hard to find. Executive rear seating gets heated, cooled, and massage-capable seats, along with refrigerated compartment filled with silver champagne flutes. The climate control system can control the temperature, audio, lighting, and fragrance to produce moods like “Joy.”

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Cutting-edge tech and safety. The sophistication extends to the technology in the S-Class. Active safety tech is plentiful, from adaptive cruise control to autonomous lane changes.

Infotainment runs through twin 12.3-inch screens. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. Options include a photochromic roof and rear-seat wireless charging.

The only sour spot is Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system. While the brand’s newest sedans come with the newly modern MBUX interface, the system hasn’t yet made its way to the S-Class. That'll surely change for next year, but the S-Class is stuck with a clumsier version until then.

Final thoughts. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class isn’t alone in its class, and the competition is formidable. The BMW 7-Series is just as comfortable and dynamic, while the Porsche Panamera offers a sportier experience.

But nothing does it quite like the S-Class. It oozes class and sophistication, and it’s a pleasure from either the driver’s seat or the back. This is Mercedes at its most Mercedes.

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