2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
As much as almost any other vehicle on the market, Mercedes-Benz’s full-size S-Class flagship represents the pinnacle of luxury. Spectacular even in standard form, the 2019 S-Class comes in three body styles, in addition to the ultra-luxury Maybach spin-off.
A new Exclusive Edition for the coupe and convertible has been added for the 2019 model year. AMG versions can have a new wood/leather performance steering wheel, or one made of carbon fiber. Maybach sedans can now have two-tone paint (for a mere $12,000 extra). Mercedes-Benz also has been developing an S 560e plug-in hybrid sedan, to be added during 2019.
Rather than trim levels, the S-Class is organized according to powertrain: V-6, V-8, or V-12. The base S 450 contains a marvelous twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that whips up 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. With its smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission, the S 450 can reach 60 mph in 5 seconds or less, according to Mercedes-Benz.
Stepping up to V-8 power, the AMG S 63 gets a twin-turbo engine that blasts out (in an appropriately genteel manner, of course) a mind-altering 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Hitting that 60-mph mark takes a startling 3.4 seconds – among of the swiftest sedans on the market.
Output from the 6.0-liter V-12 in the AMG S 65 rises to 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet, but it’s slower in acceleration than the V-8.
The S-Class hasn’t been crash-tested. As expected from an automobile in this league, plenty of safety features are standard. They include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control. Safety options include night vision and a surround-view camera system.
An optional Driver Assistance package combines cameras and sensors with satellite-derived data to make certain driving actions semi-autonomous. Tapping the turn-signal lever, for instance, can permit the vehicle to change lanes after scanning for nearby vehicles. The system also helps it steer away from oncoming vehicles or obstacles, and issues an alert if the driver exceeds the speed limit.
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
S 450 Sedan ($91,250 with rear-wheel drive, $94,250 with all-wheel drive) comes with the V-6 engine, navigation, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Burmester surround sound, 18-inch wheels, 16-way power front seats, keyless ignition, twin 12.3-inch display screens, plus a cabin fragrance dispenser.
S 560 Sedan ($101,350 with RWD, $104,350 with AWD) holds a 4.0-liter V-8 engine and includes all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels and nappa leather.
S 560 Coupe with 4Matic ($125,450) has 4.0-liter V-8 and all-wheel drive.
S 560 Cabriolet ($134,300) has 4.0-liter V-8 and rear-wheel drive.
AMG S 63 Sedan with 4Matic ($149,550) comes with 20-inch wheels, AMG performance exhaust, multi-contour adaptive sport seats, and all-wheel drive.
AMG S 63 Coupe with 4Matic ($169,450) is equipped similar to S 63 sedan.
AMG S 63 Cabriolet with 4Matic ($180,100) is equipped similar to S 63 sedan.
AMG S 65 Sedan with V-12 ($232,550) has 6.0-liter V-12 engine, rear-wheel drive, 20-inch wheels, Burmester 3D surround-sound, multi-contour seats, ambient lighting, heated front armrests, wireless smartphone charging, and AMG head-up display.
AMG S 65 Coupe with V-12 ($241,250) is equipped similar to S 65 sedan.
AMG S 65 Cabriolet with V-12 ($253,250) is equipped similar to S 65 sedan.
Maybach S 560 Sedan with V-8 and 4Matic ($171,200) has 4.0-liter V-8 and all-wheel drive.
Maybach S 650 Sedan with V-12 ($200,350) has 6.0-liter V-12, and rear-wheel drive, offering exclusive leather and paint choices. Luxury touches borrowed from top S-Class sedan include multi-contour front seats, power rear seats with memory, four-zone automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, adaptive suspension, and 3D Burmester sound. Also includes wood/leather steering wheel, leather-covered door sills, 20-inch wheels, and Executive rear seats with 43-degree recline.
The flagship status of the 2019 S-Class is evident almost at a glance. More than any other Mercedes-Benz model, its expressive design sets a styling tone all its own.
Harmonious body lines cut an especially attractive outline in coupe and cabriolet form. Sedans lead off with a wide, slatted grille, while convertible grills feature vertical ribs with an LED-illuminated three-pointed-star logo. Viewed in profile, the S-Class blends a degree of formality with an athletic stance, punctuated by numerous eye-grabbing details.
Each S-Class manages to exude status without focusing on dimensions – which are ample. Maybach sedans evolve from the regular four-doors, with their own distinctive styling touches and available two-tone color schemes.
Not only are S-Class cabins beautiful, they’re blissfully spacious. Fabulously finished, the S-Class makes brilliant use of leather, wood, and metal trim, accompanied by digital displays. Flowing shapes are wrapped in quilted leather and incised wood – suggestive of British car culture as well as German craftsmanship. Details matter, and Mercedes-Benz does them right.
Front occupants get a true first-class seating experience, as well as an enviable driving position. Even base-model seats promise all-day comfort – just as expected from an authentic luxury car. Seats have long, wide cushions, as well as broad adjustment range. Options can cover them in semi-aniline leather, perhaps adding a heated armrest. Multi-contour seats alter grip on front passengers, while traversing winding roads.
Coupes and convertibles are more confined in the rear. As expected, sedans are roomier. Sedans can be fitted with an Executive back-seat group that includes power buckets, a power footrest, and a refrigerated cabinet – all covered in soft leather.
Dual 12.3-inch display screens form a band across the dashboard, in a flowing configuration that wraps front occupants within what amounts to an elegantly formal, gorgeously-finished cocoon.
Mercedes-Benz’s complex infotainment system involves a touchpad controller, voice commands, and steering-wheel controls. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility is more appealing.
Trunk space in the sedan is adequate but not massive, at 16.3 cubic feet.
Each S-Class delivers effortless power along with sublime handling, helped immeasurably by smooth, forceful powertrains. Acceleration that ranges from impressive to scalding matches the S-Class’s finely tuned big-car handling talents.
In the base S 450, tromping the gas pedal sends the generally muted engine note into a warm ripple. Silent and smoother, the engine delivers all the power most drivers will ever need.
AMG models can assault the senses when pushed harder than usual, belying the ample size of each S-Class. The potent twin-turbo V-8 sends out a veritable thunderclap when accelerating forcibly, which seems a bit out of character in this luxury league. In contrast, the V-12 is simply silken – though it does seem like a relic of the past when classic automobiles ruled the road. Both engines mate with a 9-speed automatic that use a wet-starter clutch, for improved launch power.
Ride comfort and handling prowess deserve any superlatives they happen to receive. On base models, adaptive dampers and air springs all around work in concert with driver-selectable modes, eager to smother pavement flaws. No S-Class is likely to bob or float in response to unchecked ride motions.
In upper models, Magic Body Control takes over handling chores. Working with an active hydraulic damper setup, it can even cause the car to lean slightly into turns. While absorbing bumps effectively, it keeps the vehicle flat through corners.
Fuel economy is more acceptable than might be expected. An S 450 sedan is EPA-rated at 19/28 mpg City/Highway, 22 Combined. With all-wheel drive, the estimate dips just slightly, to 18/28/22 mpg.
With either rear- or all-wheel drive, the V-8-powered S 560 sedan is EPA-rated at 17/27 mpg City/Highway, 21 Combined. Moving up a notch, the AMG S 63 convertible is EPA-rated at a less-thrifty 15/24/18 mpg The Maybach V-12 sedan is even less frugal, at 13/21/16 mpg.
Not many automobiles emit such an indisputable impression of wealth and taste. Each 2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class benefits from a delectable blending of refined power, form, and function. Safety features are bountiful, and welcome. Not many of us are likely to gravitate toward a V-12 Maybach, but it’s satisfying to know that such a creation continues to exist.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.