2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is beautiful, fast, soothing, spacious, and stunning. It should be: It’s priced from about $100,000, and Maybach versions easily double that.
For 2020, the S-Class gets active parking assist and standard keyless ignition. A redesigned S-Class comes in 2021.
The 2020 S-Class is available as a sedan, coupe or cabriolet, powered by everything from a plug-in hybrid to a twin-turbo V-12, making between 362 and 621 horsepower.
As one of the older vehicles in the Benz lineup, the 2020 S-Class lacks the slightly more angular styling of newer Mercedes sedans, but its long, sleek and sophisticated body is still beautiful. The Coupe and Cabriolet are truly head-turning.
The 2020 S-Class returns from 18 to 22 combined mpg, depending on the engine and body style. No crash-test data is available. All 2020 models get automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. Options include night vision with pedestrian and large animal detection, an advanced surround-view camera system, and a driver-assistance suite that uses cameras, sensors, and satellite data to provide semi-autonomous driving.
The S-Class offers three body styles and nine trims and powertrain options.
The S 450 starts at $95,245 including destination, and $3,000 more for all-wheel drive. Standard equipment includes twin 12.3-inch infotainment displays, ambient lighting with 64 colors, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, LED headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and 18-inch alloy wheels, among many other features.
S 560 models get a V-8, nappa leather upholstery, and 19-inch wheels as standard for $105,445 in rear-wheel drive and $108,445 in all-wheel drive.
The AMG-boosted S 63 4Matic+ costs $152,595, and has performance exhaust and suspension, a dynamic select system, big brakes, unique interior details like a sport steering wheel, and all-wheel drive with fully-variable torque distribution.
Finally, the lavish Maybach is available in two forms, all-wheel-drive S 560 4Matic and rear-wheel-drive S 650 V-12 form. Though the V-8 lacks the grunt of the AMG S 63 model and the effortless, earth-shattering torque of the V-12, it’s a better deal at $173,995 versus $203,545 for the S 650. Maybach models dial up the luxury rather than performance like the AMGs, featuring 20-inch wheels, executive rear seats with 43 degrees of recline, power leg rests, extended ambient lighting, standard wood and leather in more places than other S-Classes, active air suspension, and the excellent Magic Body Control system. Lavish options like the champagne chiller with silver flutes between the rear seats and an executive rear seat package are available at a significant cost, as are several $12,000 two-tone paint options.
Mercedes-Benz offers a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty for the S-Class, but rivals match that and include at least two years of maintenance, while that option is extra for the Benz.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is long, sleek and elegant, while exemplifying German restraint. Details are conspicuously classy. The Coupe and Cabriolet offer options like Swarovski crystal headlights.
Every S-Class cabin is first-class, from the S 450 to the lavish Maybach. Twin 12.3-inch displays that span one solid piece across the dashboard are configurable, bright, and clear, and control or display everything from ambient lighting to performance settings to optional cabin scents. With several woods, metals, and carbon fiber available as trim options, not to mention a seemingly limitless selection of leather upholstery, the S-Class does its best to justify the price.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available through the infotainment system.
The 12-way adjustable front seats are supremely comfortable, and have the capability to be heated, with optional cooling and massaging. The two rear seats in the Coupe and Convertible are confined, despite the size of the vehicle. The S-Class Cabriolet, especially, is really meant for only two occupants only. And the Coupe’s rearward visibility is compromised by thick pillars and a sloping roofline.
In the back of the Maybach, four-way power bucket seats, a power footrest, massive entertainment screens, and even a champagne chiller with silver flutes can be fitted, pushing the price to well over $250,000. The fold-out tables aren’t big enough for a laptop, just your silver champagne flutes.
The powertrain lineup of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class matches the breadth of its price range. The S 450 uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Power is readily available through the rear wheels, or through all-wheel drive for an additional $3,000. It’s mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and predictably, and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 5 seconds—impressive for a car that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds.
The S 560 utilizes a proven 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that makes 463 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It has a muscular engine note and effortless acceleration. There’s also an S 560 Maybach that comes standard with all-wheel drive.
The AMG S 63 takes that engine and boosts it to 603 hp with a mind-boggling 664 lb-ft of torque. It’s awesomely powerful and smooth, able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in a breathtaking 3.5 seconds. The engine capably replaces a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 that made a mind-blowing 738 lb-ft of torque.
The S 650 Maybach uses the V-12. It’s rear-wheel drive, and also uses an older 7-speed automatic transmission instead of the 9-speed.
The S-Class is supremely smooth and comfortable, with a regal ride. The standard air suspension with adaptive damping is sublime, getting even better with the addition of the millisecond-perfect Magic Body Control system, which constantly adjusts air springs and dampers to maintain the car’s even keel.
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class lays claim to the title of best car in the world. It’s offered in a variety of configurations and in body styles, sports effortless luxury and performance in any of them—and offers the ultra-luxe Maybach model to those who might check out a fabled British brand instead.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection