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2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Review: Tax Avoidance Has Never Felt This Good.

by Jared Rosenholtz

The term "trickle-down economics" suggests that as the rich succeed, their achievements, knowledge, and wealth will flow down to the middle and working classes, thus benefiting all those beneath them. In theory, this sounds reasonable, but in practice, not so much, except in the case of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which has for decades set the bar for safety and general car tech, and boy has it trickled down. The S-Class's accomplishments can be seen in the models below it, such as the E and C-Class; that's what flagship cars are all about, right? Now in its sixth generation, the S-Class is more accomplished than ever, and offers supreme levels of comfort and ride quality for those who are more interested in being comfortable on the road than actually enjoying the act of driving in itself. 2019 sees more modern rivals like the BMW 7 Series biting at its heels, so can this stalwart of German opulence keep its place on the throne of the full-size luxury sedan segment?

Read in this review:

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 S-Class Sedan?

The big Benz received a significant update in 2018 which included restyled headlights, an updated infotainment system, and standard wireless phone charging, so it enters 2019 relatively unchanged, but in classic S-Class tradition, they've snuck in some futuristic tech: you can now control a few more vehicle systems with voice commands thanks to updated voice control software.

Pros and Cons

  • There's enough power across the range
  • Five-star interior
  • Silky ride
  • Road noise is almost non-existent
  • It's not going to win any races around the Nurburgring
  • Some features are overkill
  • Eastern rivals are getting closer to offering a similar package for less

S-Class Sedan Exterior

The sixth-generation S-Class has been around since 2014, so it's starting to show its age despite Mercedes-Benz's best efforts to keep it looking fresh. A minor facelift and a shot of botox in 2018 spruced things up, but the 2019 S-Class is starting to look more like an aging mafioso than a young Silicon Valley CEO. Despite this, the exterior of the 2019 S-Class offers practical features that improve safety and comfort. Wheel sizes range from a humble 18-inches on the S 450 to 19-inches on the S 560, with 20-inch wheels being optional on both variants. A panoramic sunroof offers big corporates a view of their 35th-floor offices. The headlights on the 2019 S-Class sedan are full-LED units that cast an ultra-wide beam and feature adaptive high-beam assist, which makes driving in low visibility conditions that much safer. The driver will also appreciate the heated and auto-dimming side mirrors and hands-free start and locking system. A heated windshield is an optional extra.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Front View
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Side View
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Front Angle View
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The full-size sedan moniker doesn't really do the S-Class justice; it's a full-blown land yacht, and it flaunts it with gracious confidence. The flagship model from Mercedes-Benz measures 206.9 inches in length, which is ever so slightly longer than the BMW 7 Series and a full 13.1 inches longer than the mid-size E-Class. The CEO of Mercs sits 58.9 inches off the ground and rolls on a 124.6-inch wheelbase, 2.2-inches shorter than the 7 Series. Any car with these bloated dimensions will be weighty, but the S-Class, with all its extravagant interior appointments and high tech features, waves a silk-covered middle finger at any suggestion of weight-saving measures. A total curb weight of 4,553 pounds for the S 450 is the result, which is 358 pounds heavier than the 7 Series and 761 pounds more than the E-Class. The S 560 4Matic is the heaviest in the range at 4,850 lbs.

Exterior Colors

Mercedes-Benz has ignored the call by tattoo-covered 17-year old rappers whose names begin with 'Lil' to include colors like lean purple and green haze; instead, what's offered is a classically restrained color palette filled with 13 hues that scream old money and tax evasion. As with any large structure, person or vehicle, darker colors provide a slimming effect, which would explain why classic black and more exotic hues such as Magnetite Black Metallic or Obsidian Black Metallic are such popular choices on the S-Class. The more extravagant Ruby Black Metallic, Anthracite Blue, Lunar Blue, and Emerald Green are offered for those with a more eclectic taste, while a selection of three silvers is perfect for the Autobahn bombers. If you're a Rothschild or Rockefeller, then Cashmere White Magno should be your go-to color.

  • designo Diamond White
  • designo Diamond White Metallic
  • designo Cashmere White Magno (Matte Finish), Requires additional 6-8 weeks production time.
  • Dune Silver Metallic
  • Black, *PRICE TO FOLLOW*
  • Magnetite Black Metallic, *PRICE TO FOLLOW*
  • Obsidian Black Metallic, *PRICE TO FOLLOW*
  • Lunar Blue Metallic
  • Ruby Black Metallic
  • Emerald Green Metallic
  • Selenite Grey
  • Anthracite Blue Metallic
  • Iridium Silver Metallic
  • Diamond Silver Metallic
  • Black
See all 17 colors

S-Class Sedan Performance

You'd think that a full-size sedan with a curb weight of over 4,500 pounds would hamper performance, but you'd be wrong: the 2019 S-Class, in any spec, is a swift performer thanks to a range of turbocharged power plants that offer creamy power delivery and a real "iron fist in a silk glove" experience. The base model, powered by a twin-turbo V6, will out-accelerate most front-wheel-drive hot hatches on sale today with a zero to sixty time of only 5.4 seconds and will get you to your private boat party right on time, every time. The S560 steps up the game with a twin-turbo V8 which cuts the zero to sixty time down to 4.6 seconds (4.5 with AWD) and will continue to the same limited top speed of 155 mph. In any guise, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers serious overtaking power and ultra-smooth power delivery, which is reminiscent of a large capacity V12.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Front View Driving
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Rear View Driving
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Engine

Engine and Transmission

Mercedes has always been generous when it comes to their darling S-Class, especially when it comes to power plants. Who can forget the first-generation 450 SEL's 6.9-liter V8, or the fourth-generation 6.0-liter V12? Fans of the S-Class were left heartbroken when Mercedes-Benz decided to drop the large naturally-aspirated twelve-cylinder engines in favor of more efficient turbocharged units, but in reality, they have improved the everyday practicality of the S-Class by a considerable margin. The base model is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with direct injection, and produces 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque between 1,800 and 4,500 rpm: this wide torque range makes acceleration in the S-Class feel effortless. The larger twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 offers 463 hp and a serious 516 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a car that feels properly quick. Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic that sends power to the rear wheels or all four in 4Matic spec. The transmission feels intuitive around town and delivers almost imperceptible shifts but doesn't quite offer the responsiveness of BMW's ZF transmission.

  • Engines
    3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
  • Transmission
    9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Gone are the days of jello-like luxo-barges getting away with sloppy and unresponsive handling; modern luxury sedans have to perform well in any road condition, whether it be an autobahn dash or a potholed inner-city expedition. Mercedes-Benz has taken this into consideration, and it shows in the corners; the S-Class doesn't mind being chucked into a corner, and remains relatively flat and composed, with comfort mode allowing for a bit more body roll. Steering is vague and disconnected, but it isn't challenging to place the wheels with reasonable accuracy. Sportier driving modes help to load up the steering, but it doesn't give it any more feel. The sheer weight of the S-Class can be felt in the corners, but the all-season tires feel like the biggest limiting factor here, especially in 4Matic configuration, where a stickier set of tires would give the driver a lot more confidence in the bends. In day to day driving situations, though, the S-Class provides a level of road comfort that is on par with sitting on your favorite couch at home.

S-Class Sedan Gas Mileage

Modern-day turbo technology allows the 2019 S-Class to return gas mileage figures that would've been unheard of a decade or two ago: the S 450 with its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 will return a reasonably good gas mileage figure of 19/28/22 mpg (city/highway/combined) but is outclassed by its age-old rival, the 7 Series, which is fitted with a 3.0-liter turbo inline-six returning 21/29/24 mpg. The more powerful S560, propelled by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, is the thirstier option but comes surprisingly close to the V6's numbers with a figure of 17/27/21 mpg in both rear and four-wheel-drive variants. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 BMW 750i xDrive loses out with a figure of 17/25/20 mpg although it offers slightly better figures of 18/26/21 mpg in rear-wheel-drive form. With a fuel tank capacity of 21.1 gallons, the S-Class has an estimated range of between 464 and 496 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    21.1 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 19/28 mpg
* 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S 450 Sedan

S-Class Sedan Interior

Possibly one of the most important aspects of any full-size luxury sedan has to be the interior: this is where the rich and famous plan their next trip to Monaco, sell off mass amounts of bitcoin and send their money to offshore accounts on their way to some wasp party in the Hamptons. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has one of the most refined and comfortable interiors ever to have existed in the automotive world and is the perfect place to sit and ponder over your stock portfolio. Stepping inside the S-Class is an experience: a standard panoramic roof makes the interior space seem even larger than it is, while power rear sunshades keep prying eyes from seeing hungover celebrities lolling in the back on Nappa leather seats. Dual-zone climate control is standard issue, as is an air purification system, but you can upgrade to a four-zone system at an additional cost. Wireless charging comes standard in the front, but can be added to the back as well. An optional head-up display is available, and back seat passengers can get power controls for the front seats.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Steering Wheel
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Central Console
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Steering Wheel
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The throne room of the 2019 S-Class cradles occupants in sheer opulence: a more luxurious seating arrangement will be hard to find in this price bracket. Front passengers get standard power-adjustable and heated seats with optional ventilation as well as a multi-contour design with "hot stone" massage. Other seating options include heated front armrests, heated, ventilated, and powered rear seats with memory settings as well as a calf rest cushions. The whole idea behind ultra-luxurious sedans such as the S-Class is to provide as much comfort and space for the occupants as possible, especially those in the back, and the S-Class manages to offer an impressive amount of interior space. Front legroom measures in at 41.4 inches, matching the 7 Series, although the E-Class surprisingly offers even more at 41.7 inches. The BMW 7 Series leads in the front seat headroom class with 39.9 inches compared to the S-Class' 39.7 and the E-Class' 37.3 inches. In the back, passengers can enjoy 34.1 inches of leg freedom.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

What would a luxury interior be without thousands of possible color and material combinations? New owners can select between four different types of leather for the S450 and three types for the S560. Optional on the S450 but standard on the S560 is Nappa leather upholstery. Exclusive Nappa leather and Designo exclusive semi-aniline leather are further options.

The list of colors is even longer and ranges from a standard black to various color combinations, including Saddle Brown and Black, Silk Beige and Deep Sea Blue as well as Porcelain and Titan Red. The list of real wood inserts is just as impressive and ranges from the classic Walnut and Brown Ashwood to the more contemporary-looking Black Poplar, Black Piano, and Black Ashwood.

S-Class Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space

Large exterior dimensions do not necessarily translate into a large trunk and cargo space. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class' most important priority is transporting people in supreme comfort, with less of a focus on carrying all their stuff, but some might consider the compromise a little too hard to swallow. The S-Class offers a disappointingly small trunk space of 12.3 cubic feet, which is an even bigger letdown when you consider the fact that the BMW 7 Series offers more rear-seat legroom as well as a significantly larger trunk, measuring 18.2 cubic feet while the smaller E-Class offers 13.1 cubic feet. The rear seats on the S-Class do not fold down, but there is a center pass-through. Small-item storage is fair: passengers in the front get plenty of space for small objects and coffee cups while backseat passengers get their own center console and seat pockets.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Rear Angle View
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Side View
  • Trunk Volume
    12.3 ft³

S-Class Sedan Infotainment and Features

Features

Covering all the features on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class could fill a few pages, so a concise version will have to do. The exterior is at the receiving end of an advanced LED lighting system with daytime running lights and adaptive high beam assist, heated power-folding side mirrors with auto-dimming tech, and rain-sensing window wipers. The S-Class rolls on a set of 18 or 19-inch wheels. If you think that's impressive, the interior features will blow you away: getting in and out of the S-Class is taken care of via a keyless system with hands-free access, and an anti-theft alarm system regulates access to the unworthy. The Nappa leather-covered steering wheel with touch controls can be shifted via a power-adjustable telescopic steering column, and there's even an integrated garage-door opener. The interior opens up when the panoramic roof is opened up, but if sunshine isn't your thing, Mercedes provides power rear sunshades and dual-zone climate control with an integrated air purification system. The entire package is lit in crisp 64-color LED lighting.

Infotainment

The front of the S-Class' cabin is dominated by two 12.3-inch hi-res display screens, one behind the steering wheel and another centrally mounted in the dashboard. Both are configurable to display pretty much anything, and inputs are controlled by a combination of touchpad and rotary controller. Sound is channeled through a premium Burmester surround sound system, and a high-end 3D system is also available. Navigation comes standard, as does a three-year automatic map update and live traffic updates from TomTom. As is to be expected from a car of this caliber, Bluetooth, USB charging ports, an SD card slot, and HD radio are all standard features. Front passengers get wireless phone charging, with the same being an optional extra for those in the rear. Those who really care about who sits in the back will fork out the extra cash for a rear-seat entertainment system.

S-Class Sedan Problems and Reliability

The age-old saying "mo' money, mo' problemz" could be applied to the sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class which has endured over ten recalls in the last three years. 2017 model cars were recalled for malfunctioning seat belt pretensioners, power steering systems that cut out and doors that won't lock. In 2018, specific S-Class models were recalled due to loose fuses that could short and start a fire, as well as the semi-autonomous driving system not detecting that the driver's hands had left the steering wheel, which could lead to disastrous consequences. In 2019, the S-Class has been recalled four times for reasons ranging from the active braking system failing to engage, to seat belts that don't detect when they have been fastened. Despite these faults, J.D. Power gave the S-Class a consumer verified score of 87. Mercedes-Benz covers the S-Class with a BMW-equalling four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which includes corrosion, drivetrain, and roadside assistance.

S-Class Sedan Safety

Safety rating agencies tend to shy away from destroying $90,000 plus cars, so there are no official ratings for the 2019 S-Class. The smaller and less costly E-Class has been tested by the IIHS and NHTSA and delivered an exemplary performance: the NHTSA gave it full marks, and the IIHS awarded it with the prestigious Top Safety Pick Plus award. If the E-Class is anything to go by, then the S-Class should be one of the safest cars in the full-size luxury sedan segment.

Key Safety Features

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was one of the very first cars to make use of ABS braking technology and has traditionally been at the forefront of car safety technology. The 2019 model is no different, offering a stunning array of safety tech. Active brake assist with automatic brake drying, and hill start assist make sure you stop on a dime. The number of dynamic driver assistance features continues with a driver's attention assist system, a rearview camera and surround-view system, blind-spot assistance, active lane keep and rear cross-traffic assistance with semi-autonomous park assistance. The S-Class is fitted with a total of nine airbags, and plenty of optional extras: distance control, active lane change assistance, evasive steering assistance and congestion emergency stop are all available on-demand, as is pre-collision assistance, route-based speed regulation, and nighttime driving assist.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan a good car?

Some might consider the 2019 Mercedes-Benz a good car because of its long list of technological features and its general sense of occasion, but beneath all the tech lies a supremely capable and comfortable vehicle in the style of luxury limousines of old. The reserved styling and silky smooth range of engines and transmissions offer a five-star driving experience that is not only comfortable when puttering around town but impresses with its dynamic ability when pushing on. Although the S-Class feels disconnected behind the wheel, it can be placed with precision and confidence, the only weak-point being the all-season tires. Stepping inside the S-Class, one is transported to the first-class waiting lounge at any big international airport; peerless comfort, most notably in the back, is matched by a level of safety and tech features that would leave most everyday motorists dumbfounded. With a starting price of $91,250, the S-Class delivers performance, safety, and luxury on a level that's difficult to match.

What's the Price of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan?

Mercedes kicks off their S-Class range with the S450 Sedan, which starts with an MSRP of $91,250, a whole $7,600 more than the BMW 7 Series. Adding the optional 4Matic AWD system will up the price by $3,000. The twin-turbo V8 S560 starts off at $101,350 for the RWD version, with the 4Matic version again adding $3,000 to the bill. BMW's 7 Series catches up price-wise the higher you climb up the model range: the 750i xDrive will set you back $99,950, just below the $100,000 mark.

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Models

Besides the high-performance AMG S63 and S65 models, Mercedes-Benz offers the S-class in two variants, namely the S450 and S560. Both are available in either RWD or AWD formats. In sedan form, the S450 and S560 share a list of standard features, the only difference being their engine options. The S450 is fitted with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 producing 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The S560 gets a more powerful twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 kicking out 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Standard features on both cars include full LED lighting, twin 12.3-inch displays with touchpad and rotary knob controls, a Burmester surround sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as well as navigation, Bluetooth and wireless phone charging.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S450 Sedan
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$91,250
S450 4MATIC Sedan
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$94,250
S560 Sedan
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$101,350
S560 4MATIC Sedan
4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$104,350
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

A massive number of optional extras are available for the S-Class and include safety, infotainment, comfort and appearance upgrades. Exterior options include a $5,900 AMG exterior package, which adds 19-inch AMG wheels and a sportier appearance package. The interior can be improved with a $5,000 premium package, which adds ventilated massage seats in the front, active parking assist, and a surround-view camera system, amongst others. A backseat refrigerator will set you back $1,100. If you're not pleased with the quality of the standard Burmester surround sound system, you can opt for the high-end 3D version, which goes for $6,400. The options list is a long one, and checking every box will see the S-class venture deep into six-figure territory.

What Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Model Should I Buy?

When dealing with this class of vehicles, buyers become less sensitive to differences in price between models, and for that exact reason, we would suggest going with the top of the range S560 4Matic which goes for $13,100 more than the entry-level S450. What you get for that extra thirteen grand is over a hundred more horsepower, 147 lb-ft more torque, and all-wheel drive, not to mention a feeling of well-deserved superiority. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 found in the S450 is more than capable of shifting the S-Class around, but the V8 model makes it feel fast, and that's something you can't really put a price on (of course you can).

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Comparisons

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan vs Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan

Many wonder what the significant differences are between the E and S-Class sedans. The most obvious differentiation can be found in the size of both cars: the E-Class is a mid-size luxury sedan, while the S-Class is full-sized. This is also clearly apparent when you look at interior space, where the E-Class and S-Class offer similar front legroom space, but the S-Class's rear area is vastly superior. Engine choices available for the E-Class include an efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder capable of returning 25 mpg on a combined cycle. The E450 4Matic shares its engine with the S450. The E-class offers a more balanced offering for those who actually drive their cars themselves, whereas the S-Class has been built to cater for backseat drivers.

See Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan Review

2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan vs BMW 7 Series

The battle between these two cars stretches back decades, with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class having the advantage of heritage. The 2019 7 Series is better than ever and goes toe to toe with the S-Class and comes out on top a lot of the time. Power is supplied via a similar engine offering consisting of a 3.0-liter turbo inline six-cylinder in the 740i and a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the 750i. Fitted with the smaller engines, the Merc produces significantly more power. The same goes for the V8 option, with the Merc making slightly more power yet consuming marginally less fuel. The BMW plays its trump card once you step inside the cabin, offering more space for passengers as well as a larger trunk. The BMW is cheaper to buy and provides a more dynamic driving experience, but is outmatched in terms of sheer comfort. Both cars are now in their sixth generation and have been around for over five years.

See BMW 7 Series Review

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Popular Comparisons