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Test Drive: 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580 Review

2022 Mercedes S-Class
2022 Mercedes S-Class / Credit: Mercedes

Tech Makes V8-Powered S 580 Both Appealing and Frustrating

  • Trim Tested: S 580 4Matic Sedan
  • Price as Tested: $125,890 (including destination charge)
  • What We Like: Amazing tech; mix of comfort and power
  • What We Don’t: Tech overshadows elegance; fussy controls for some features

The S-Class is Mercedes’ flagship car and it’s so iconic that, for many, it’s the vehicle against which all other luxury sedans are judged. This mighty 4-door competes head-to-head with the BMW 7-Series, the Audi A8, and myriad other high-end sedans, from the Lexus LS to the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

My test vehicle was the S 580, the middle-tier trim between the S 500, Maybach S 580, and Maybach S 680. I drove the S 580 for a week and these are my impressions.

2022 Mercedes S-Class Rear
2022 Mercedes S-Class / Credit: Mercedes

How It Drives

Two characteristics define the S 580: power and comfort. They are so exquisitely balanced that one never outshines the other. The power in the S 580 comes from a 496-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine. The car is heavy – about 2.5 tons – but it still feels quick. Mash the pedal and the big engine takes a few beats to get going. Then the turbos kick in and any straightaway is demolished in a surge of power.

At more mundane speeds, the quiet Benz glides along, helped by ample sound deadening. At a stop, it is quiet as a church mouse, as the mild-hybrid EQ Boost system shuts the engine off.

That same mild-hybrid system adds extra thrust during heavy acceleration, something accentuated by turning the Dynamic setting to Sport mode. In Sport, the S 580 feels almost like a sports sedan. Almost. It’s too heavy to really fly around corners, even with its air suspension set to a firmer mode. That suspension is best left in Comfort, where it absorbs road imperfections.

2022 Mercedes S-Class Front Seats
2022 Mercedes S-Class / Credit: Mercedes

Interior Comfort & Quality

The interior of the S 580 looks like a mix between a traditional luxury car and a Tesla, demonstrating once again the outsized influence that Elon Musk’s company has had on traditional automotive brands. The centerpiece of the cabin is a huge touchscreen that sweeps up from the center console at a 45-degree angle. A second widescreen sits behind the steering wheel.

The front seats offer comfort par excellence, with 10 massage settings and suede headrests with pillowy stuffing. Head into a corner quickly, and the seat’s electronic cushions give you a little hug to hold you in place. The rear seats are capacious, as expected in a top luxury sedan, but the nicest seats in the house are still the fronts. This is a car to drive, not be driven in. The Maybach S-Class is the one for the chauffeured.

2022 Mercedes S-Class Dashboard
2022 Mercedes S-Class / Credit: Mercedes

Technology & Usability

The two screens – one in the center of the dashboard and one in front of the driver – dominate the S 580’s cabin. The central screen is enormous and can be distracting to use, as you’ll have to hunt for the right icon. With 12.8-inches of high-res OLED to work with, Mercedes packed a lot of buttons into it.

Some of the controls in the S 580 are straightforward – the window switches and lock buttons are on the door where you would expect them, and the transmission uses a straightforward column shifter.

However, most of the controls have some caveat:

  • The seat-position adjustments are touch-sensitive, so it’s hard to know if you have pressed them correctly.
  • The start button looks cheap and has a stop/start shutoff control below it that’s easy to hit accidentally.
  • The buttons below the touchscreen are needlessly small, mounted on a cheap-feeling bezel, and touch-sensitive, making them hard to use, especially the volume control. It should be a knob but it’s a plastic slider, instead.
  • In fact, the overall number of buttons that are touch-sensitive – the air vents, the steering wheel toggles, the seat heaters – is way too high.

Still, the innovation in the S 580 is impressive, especially the advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS). Parking is a breeze because of the automatic parallel parking functionality. The optional 4-wheel steering system, which can turn the rear wheels along with the fronts, effectively shrinks the turning radius of this large car to the size of a Honda Civic’s.

Read our full 2022 Mercedes S-Class review for more specs and information about the entire S-Class lineup. Carfax vehicle reviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.

If you have questions about this story, please contact us at Editors@carfax.com