Summary, Prices, Specs

By October 7, 2011


The Mercedes Benz S-Class is the baseline when car people talk about true, full-size luxury sedans suited for the daily grind. It comes in several varieties of fast, but only one brand of smooth and granite-solid, all-wheel drive optional. The S-Class is huge inside, with a quiet, coddling interior, an expansive array of mostly useful technology, unparalleled safety systems and a lineup that includes everything from a high-mileage diesel to one of the most powerful four-door production cars in the world.

New Car Test Drive correspondent G.R. Whale reported from Los Angeles; J.P. Vettraino reported from Detroit.

Model Line Overview
Model lineup:Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC ($93,425); S400 Hybrid ($92,725); S550 ($95,375); S550 4MATIC ($98,375); S600 ($160,375); S63 AMG ($140,175); S65 AMG ($211,775)
Engines:240-hp 3.0-liter diesel V6; 275-hp 3.5-liter V6 with 20-hp electric motor; 429-hp 4.7-liter V8; 536-hp 5.5-liter V8; 510-hp 5.5-liter V12; 636-hp 6.0-liter V12
Transmissions:7-speed automatic; 5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard):dual-stage front-impact airbags, front and rear passenger side-impact airbags, full-cabin head protection curtains, Pre-Safe accident sensing system, active head restraints, mbrace collision-reporting telematics, Active Bi-Xenon headlights with automatic high-beam dimming, electronic stability control (ESC), antilock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), tire-pressure monitor
Safety equipment (optional):Active Lane Keeping with Active Blind Spot Assist and brake intervention, Attention Assist drowsiness alert, Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control with automatic braking, Parktronic parking aid, rearview camera, Night View with pedestrian detection
Basic warranty:4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:Sindelfingen, Germany
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSPR):Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid ($92,725)
Standard equipment:leather upholstery, walnut trim, automatic dual-zone climate control, 14-way power adjustable heated front seats with ventilation and memory, GPS navigation with voice-recognition and 40-GB hard drive, harman/kardon Logic7 600-watt audio with in-dash six-CD changer, HD and Sirius satellite radio, SD-card slot and Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, power windows, power locks with remote, power rear sunshade, interior ambient lighting, power folding auto-dimming side mirrors, trip computer, power sunroof, fog lights, electronic trunk closer, 18-inch alloy wheels
Options as tested (MSPR):Premium Package ($3,360) includes massaging front seats, Parktronic parking assist and guidance, Keyless Go proximity key, rearview camera; Premium Leather ($2,290) with contrasting stitching ($300); Splitview video monitor ($700); heated steering wheel ($400)
Destination charge:$995
Gas guzzler tax:N/A
Price as tested (MSPR):$100770
Layout:rear-wheel drive
Engine:3.5-liter dual-overhead cam 24-valve Atkinson Cycle V6 with 20-hp electric motor
Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):295 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):284 @ 2400
Transmission:7-speed torque-converter automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:19/25 mpg
Wheelbase:124.6 in.
Length/width/height:206.5/73.7/58.0 in.
Track, f/r:62.9/63.2 in.
Turning circle:40.0 ft.
Seating Capacity:5
Head/hip/leg room, f:37.8/NA/41.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:38.5/NA/42.3 in.
Cargo volume:16.4 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:N/A
Suspension, f:independent four-link with air springs, hydraulic shocks and stabilizer bar
Suspension, r:independent multi-link with air springs, hydraulic shocks and stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:5.7 in.
Curb weigth:4474 lbs.
Brakes, f/r:disc/disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist and electricity generation
Fuel capacity:23.8 gal.
Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of October 7, 2011.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800 367-6372 -