The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a five-passenger, flagship sedan that was first introduced as a 1972 model. Now in its sixth generation, the full-size S-Class advances Mercedes’ cutting-edge design and typically introduces the latest innovations for this renowned Germany luxury marque.
2014 to Present: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
The sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class maintains its oversized proportions while providing a more streamlined design than the previous model. The front fascia is marked by a powerful, but elegant horizontal grille and large headlamps with pronounced LED daytime running light accents. A sporty lower grille is hemmed in by embrasures containing additional lights.
From bumper to bumper, the S-Class offers a commanding presence with its long hood, sweeping roofline, raised beltline and high-end aluminum-alloy wheels. A raised rear deck, wraparound combination lamps, body sculpting and embedded exhaust pipes bring up the rear.
Inside, the S-Class is awash in luxury and technology, with excellent room for five. The cabin is bright, expansive and whisper quiet, with exotic woods, rich leather and aluminum trim accenting the interior. Each model is equipped with a Burmester surround-sound audio system, navigation and smartphone app integration. Features like power-adjustable rear seats with memory settings, a surround view camera system and massaging front seats are available.
Leading technologies found in this model includes expanded night vision to detect and point out human and animal traffic on the road ahead and a COMAND infotainment system with a touchpad controller and a 12.3-inch display.
Upon its debut in 2014, the sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class featured just two models: the S550 sedan and the Mercedes-AMG S63 AMG 4Matic. An S-Class Coupe was introduced for the 2015 model year, and is available in S550 4Matic, S63 AMG and S65 AMG models.
The S550 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine and is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. This model makes 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
Beginning in 2015, Mercedes-Benz expanded the S-Class line by bringing to the market its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the S550e. This model is outfitted with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor.
Also new for 2015 was an S600 model, which is powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 engine with 523 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque.
The chief competitors for the S-Class are the BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS, Jaguar XJ and Audi A8. Other larger models from premium and luxury manufacturers to consider include the Cadillac CT6, Hyundai Equus and Kia K900.
Earlier Mercedes-Benz S-Class Models
The first-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class arrived on the market in 1972, replacing previous full-size models distinguished by various and usually changing names.
Subsequent generations were released beginning in 1981, 1992 and 2000. The fifth-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class was produced from 2007 to 2013 and offered in S550, S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG trims.
Early S550 models are powered by a 5.5-liter V8 engine that’s paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. This model makes 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque.
The Mercedes-Benz S600 is powered by a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-12 engine. This model comes paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission and offers all-wheel drive only. The S600 makes 510 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque.
Beginning in 2010, Mercedes-Benz introduced a hybrid variant of the S-Class, dubbed the S400 Hybrid. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an electric motor, this rear-wheel drive model makes 295 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. Also that year, Mercedes gave the S-Class a facelift, adding new LED running lights and tail lamps.
In 2012, Mercedes expanded the S-Class line by introducing an S350 Bluetec 4Matic model, which is powered by a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s rated at 240 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes also swapped out the V8 in the S550 for a more powerful, twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 that generates 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.