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2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review


Few cars signal success more than the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup of sedans and coupes. For decades it has been the CEO's luxury liner of choice thanks to its power, grace and technological sophistication that keep rivals like the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS playing constant catch-up. All-new just last year, the latest S-Class has again thrown down the gauntlet with class-leading and class-exclusive technology that makes Mercedes' flagship sedan nearly smart enough to drive itself. Of course, this benchmark doesn't come cheap. A base S-Class begins near $100,000, while the lineup's new performance elitist – the V12-powered S65 AMG Sedan – bows at nearly $225,000. These figures shouldn't bruise the S-Class' exclusive buyers. If they do, there's always the seats' hot-stone massage feature.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you demand that your full-size executive sedan possess prodigious power, commanding presence, the latest technology and enough amenities to make a hedonist blush, you'll find all that and more in the 2015 S-Class. If you happen to require all that minus two doors, see the all-new S-Class coupe.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If the S-Class' 6-figure price tag is a turnoff, you'll be happy to know its luxury rivals open thousands below. Buyers less concerned with badge appeal who want a high-end sedan on an even stricter budget may find the Hyundai Equus and Kia K900 enticing.

What's New for 2015

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class expands its 2015 lineup with three V12 models – the stately S600 Sedan and the ferocious, range-topping S65 AMG Sedan and Coupe, – and a plug-in hybrid that arrived in early 2015. Other than a touch-pad controller replacing the keypad, the other, still-fresh models remain largely unchanged.

Driving the S-Class
Driving Impressions

With much of its structure built out of aluminum, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class feels light for its size as you maneuver it through its paces. As quiet inside as an...

... empty cathedral, Mercedes' flagship sedan and coupe also feels stiffer – in the positive "moving-as-a-single-unit" way – than past generations. The ride of the standard S-Class's Airmatic cushion-of-air suspension with adaptive damping is even – firm without being jarring and comfortable without slurring drunkenly into corners. Even a "base" S550 model has impressive acceleration and power thanks to a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that enables the S-Class to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. The 7-speed automatic transmission is smoother than smooth, with gear shifts nearly imperceptible. If you need your S-Class to breathe fire, the S63 AMG 4Matic (Mercedes' term for all-wheel drive) or the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG (621 horsepower) is ready to ignite in the most sophisticated way.

Imagine driving at speed over one of those extra-wide, flat neighborhood speed bumps and never even noticing it. Rear-drive 2015 S-Class models can be equipped with a stereoscopic-camera setup that can "read" the road ahead and instantaneously adjust the S-Class suspension to make some pretty dramatic road imperfections just disappear.

Who says an S-Class has to be serious all of the time? Beyond-all-reason options include a hot-stone-massage setting as one of the multicontour-seat massage functions, and – are you sitting down? – a glove-box-mounted fragrance atomizer that lets you infuse a choice of scents throughout the S-Class cabin. Yes, seriously.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Details
2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class photo Interior

The S-Class sedan's 5-passenger cabin goes far beyond mere wood, leather and the literal aroma of aristocracy. It has all that, of course, but so much more in terms of details that prove the emphasis is on passenger comfort. Heated armrests, anyone? Technology is also on wide display, from twin 12.3-inch high-resolution color screens that relay driving information and infotainment to copious LED lighting. Indulgence isn't lost on rear-seat passengers, either. The best proof is the available executive seating packages, which trade the 3-across bench for a pair of lounge-like, power-operated reclining seats. It's like first class on four wheels. Coupes offer generous seating fore and aft for up to four passengers.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class photo

With a tastefully sweeping rear, the 2015 S-Class executive sedan is endowed with some of the coupe-like design cues from the 1st-generation CLS to portray a fastback profile. From the blown-back shape of the headlights to the elegant flow of the C-pillar and the converging crease-lines in the profile, the S-Class feels low-slung and finessed without sacrificing any interior roominess or room in the trunk, which holds a generous 16.3 cubic feet of cargo. S600 and AMG variants can be distinguished by their pair of dual-tipped exhaust outlets. The coupe version, which rides on a shorter 116-inch wheelbase, is a true hardtop with no pillar.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

As expected on a car whose price can equal that of a house, standard equipment takes on new meaning in an S-Class, with features that would either be optional or unavailable in other cars. Among the standouts are 16-way power front seats, 13-speaker Burmester audio system (audiophiles just smiled), navigation system and power rear sunshade. Oh, and we mustn't forget the in-cabin fragrance system that uses replaceable vials of differing aromas. Also standard are all manner of highly advanced safety systems, including autonomous braking at speeds up to 65 mph. Another standard S-Class feature is 24-hour roadside assistance that never expires.

Optional Equipment

Options for the latest S-Class range from the self-indulgent (the massaging, climate-controlled front seats we've personally enjoyed) to the next generation of safe (infrared nighttime vision display and Distronic Plus with radar-based cruise control and autonomous steering to keep you within lanes). In between are even higher-grade leather seats with headrests so soft they feel like pillows, 4-zone climate control and the mbrace Plus with apps and access to a Mercedes-Benz concierge. For VIPs buying an S-Class sedan for the rear seats, there's the executive seating package, rear-cabin refrigerator, dual-screen entertainment system and power side shades for added privacy.

Under the Hood

The four current S-Class sedan models come in four variations on the twin-turbocharged V8 or V12 theme, while the coupes offer three variants. The S550 uses a twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 449 horsepower and is linked to a sublime 7-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is the standard setup, while optional all-wheel drive (AWD) 4Matic is standard on the coupe. The S600 Sedan employs a twin-turbo V12 rated at 523 horsepower and is rear-drive only, as are the S65 AMG Sedan and Coupe, which use an AMG-built version of the same engine making 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. AMG models are also represented by the S63 sedan and coupe that use a 577-horsepower V8 and are AWD only. AMG models have even quicker shifts, while the others have a fuel-saving Eco stop/start feature that shutters the engine at idle.

S550, S550 4Matic
4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8
449 horsepower @ 5,250-5,550 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26 mpg (Sedan, RWD), 16/26 mpg (Sedan, AWD), 16/24 (Coupe)

6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12
523 horsepower @ 4,900-5,300 rpm
612 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/21 mpg

S63 AMG 4Matic
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8
577 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
664 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg

6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12
621 horsepower @ 4,800-5,400 rpm
738 lb-ft of torque @ 2,300-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 mpg

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