Mercedes-Benz
S-Class
2019
Go
Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - November 20, 2018

Expert Rating

4.2 (Excellent)
MPG
16 City / 25 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

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4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class OVERVIEW

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class occupies a special place in that strange and wondrous overlap between automobiles and social strata. For years, it's been the choice of heavy hitters from all walks of life, from mafiosos and Russian oligarchs to diplomats and heads of state. It's as recognizable as the three-pointed star itself, and represents an exclusive upper echelon of existence. Available in a number of body styles and trims, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup is as diverse and indulgent as its well-heeled buyer pool.

What's New for 2019

A new hybrid plug-in sedan dubbed the S 560e is now part of the roster. Coupe and convertible models get taken into the powder room for quick facelift, while top-shelf Maybachs get a new grille and a variety of new two-tone paint schemes.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Those buying a car with the pedigree and price tag of an S-Class can be a demanding and discerning bunch. To appease their varied whims and wants, Mercedes offers their flagship sedan in a almost startling number of body style and powertrain combinations.

Sedans are the most common of the available body styles. The old "same sausage, different length" trope that's been beaten to death in regards to German sedans is literally true in this case, as two different wheelbases are available. The standard-length models use a 124.6-inch wheelbase and measure out to about 207 inches bow to stern. Long-wheelbase models are another eight inches longer on both counts. Only the S 560 models are offered in both wheelbases; Maybachs are exclusively on the longer one, while S 450 models make do with the shorter.

For a bit more flash, try the coupe or convertible. Compared to the upright and reserved sedan, the two-doors unabashedly cater to the new-money set – there's nothing subtle about the swooping roofline or the exaggerated proportions.

Building a car for the world's movers and shakers is as much about opulence and luxury and as it is about quality and performance. To that end, Mercedes offers their flagship with options ranging from mild to lavish. For the most part, these extras are broadly available, so you don't need to splurge on an S63 to get that one specific package you're hankering for. Top-spec Maybach variants come with almost all options as standard.

Of the various packages, there are few that are more notable than others. The Premium Package is $5,000 and includes active front-massaging seats, heated and ventilated front seats, keyless start and entry, active park assist, a surround-view camera, and power rear-window sunshades.

For $2,250, buyers can get nearly every active-safety feature in existence with the Driver Assistance Package. It brings adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, extended restart in stop-and-go traffic, automatic speed takeover, and route-based speed adaptation.

A Warmth and Comfort Package costs $2,600 and includes heated and cooled rear seats, heated armrests, a heated steering wheel, and power-adjustable rear seats. An Executive Rear Seat Package is $3,500 and includes massage functionality for the rear seats and an executive right rear seat that pushes the front passenger seat forward to maximize comfort and space for right rear passengers. An Executive Rear Seat Package Plus enhances things with four-place seating, rear tray tables, and heated and cooled cupholders for $1,950; it requires the purchase of nearly every other available package.

There are six trims in the S-Class lineup:

S 450

Pricing for the S 450 starts at $92,245 (all prices include a $995 destination charge). Only the 450 uses a V6 as motivation. Despite the 450 nomenclature, it's the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 found in a wide array of other Mercedes-Benz models. It makes the same 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque as it does in other applications. It's paired up with the nine-speed automatic transmission that's used throughout the S-Class range. Unsurprisingly, this six is the most fuel-efficient of the available engines. It's rated by the EPA to get up to 19 miles per gallon city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 combined for rear-wheel-drive models. With the all-wheel traction of Mercedes' 4Matic system – a $3,000 premium – city mileage drops by a single mpg. This engine is only available in the sedan.

The list of what's included on the S 450 reminds the world there's really no such thing as a base S-Class. Standard features include luxuries like air suspension, 18-inch wheels, a panoramic roof, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, full-leather, 18-inch wheels, and wireless charging. For audio and infotainment duties, drivers will look toward a 12.3-inch touchscreen that sits in a commanding position atop the center stack. Besides including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there's also navigation, Mercedes cloud-services, and controls for the 13-speaker Burmester sound system. There's also an additional 12.3-inch digital screen in lieu of a traditional analog gauge cluster. Its display can be customized based on driver preferences, and relays information about the car's vital signs as well as autonomous safety features, driver-assistance features, and other important information.

S 560

The S-Class volume trim is the S 560 variant, which starts at $102,345. Besides being widely available across all body-styles, the 4.0-liter V8 and its twin-turbocharger setup represent a sweet spot of performance and price tag. It makes 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, which is enough grunt to get it from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds for 4Matic-equipped examples.

As is common in the Mercedes hierarchy, moving up to the S 560 nets you more cylinders and more power, but not more features – 19-inch wheels are the only non-mechanical treat that the brand tosses to 560 buyers. Otherwise, the list of standard and available features mirrors the 450.

S 63 AMG

No Mercedes would be a proper Mercedes without at least one AMG-powered variant. The AMG S 63, priced from $150,545, is the first level of insanity from the dungeons of Affalterbach, and it's a veritable hot rod. Its calling card is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo motor that's handcrafted by the lads at AMG. Power increases mightily from the 560, with the AMG S 63 pumping out 603 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque.

To help put all this power to the ground, it comes standard with 4Matic and a launch control system, the latter to help buyers find out for themselves how true the 3.4-second zero-to-60 mph claim really is. Other standard features include performance brakes, an adaptive sport suspension, an AMG limited-slip differential, a high-performance braking system, and a performance exhaust system. Other exclusive standard features not performance-related are limited to hands-free access, power side-window sunshades, and heated 12-way power seats versus the 16-way seats in the 560.

S 65 AMG

For the ultimate in selfish luxury, there's the AMG S 65. Powering this personal limo is a handcrafted V12 engine, which produces 621 hp and a locomotive-like 738 lb-ft of torque. This engine is more about smoothness than outright speed; despite the prodigious amount of power, the zero-to-60 mph run takes 4.2 seconds, or almost a second longer than the lesser AMG S 63. Cost at checkout for an AMG S 65 will be a staggering $230,495 before options.

Maybach S 560

The Mercedes-Maybach 560 is the S-Class attempting to compete in the true stratosphere of the market – traditionally the realm of Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Priced from $171,745, it's powered by the same 4.0-liter engine found in the 560. Maybachs visually differentiate themselves with distinctive grilles and wheels, as well as increased length and exclusive two-tone paint schemes.

Standard features, however, eclipse that of the regular 560. Luxuries include massaging front seats, instantaneous heated seats front and rear, heated front armrests, power-adjustable rear seats with memory, a power right-rear footrest, and four-zone climate control. All active-safety features are also standard, as is a high-end Burmester sound system with 26 speakers.

Options include four-place seating, folding tray tables for the rear seats, semi-aniline leather, heated and cooled cupholders, a refrigerator box for the rear seat, and handcrafted silver champagne flutes.

Maybach S 650

Take the glorious excess of the Mercedes-Maybach S 560 and add the 12-cylinder engine out of the S 65, and you've got the formula behind the M-M S 650, which costs $199,695. Standard and available features are the same as they are on the V8-powered Maybach.

CarsDirect Tip

An S 560 is the way to go if you don't have the cash to throw at an S 63 or a Maybach. Compared to the S 450, the extra two cylinders and the torque-y smoothness of a V8 make all the difference in how the car feels wafting away from a stop or gliding along the highway. If you can afford a 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, do it right and get one with (at least) eight cylinders.

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