|Lease Term (months)||36|
|Miles per year|
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-class has long been a shining example of what luxury should be, largely due to its sumptuous looks and impressive performance. Whether you choose the spacious sedan, dignified coupe, or lavish convertible, these top-shelf Benzes are chock full with the latest technology and the finest of materials. The S-class has it all: an interior that could please a sultan, performance to please a hot shoe, and a road presence that is unmistakably majestic. It may be expensive, but if you’re shopping in this segment, you’ll be happy to know that you’re getting every last bit of your money’s worth.
Mercedes-Benz will introduce the 560e, an all-new plug-in variant of the 2020 560 sedan that couples an electric motor with the twin-turbo V-6 for added power and efficiency, plus a claimed 25-mile electric-only range. There are few changes for the rest of the lineup. Active Parking Assist and Keyless-Go—which is Mercedes-Benz’s version of push-button start and keyless entry—are now standard on all models. Additionally, the Premium Package is now standard on the coupe and cabriolet.
If we were in the market for an S-class, we’d have to splurge for a mildly optioned S560, not that there is anything wrong with the S450; its twin-turbo V-6 is silky smooth and plenty powerful, but we prefer the V-8. Given the higher starting price, optioning the S560 is an exercise in restraint. We’d go for the Driver’s Assistance package, which includes semi-autonomous driving and other driver assists. We’d also select the Premium package that includes niceties such as heated, ventilated and massaging front seats, power side-window rear-seat shades, and a 360-degree camera system.
The S-class sedan is available with one of two gasoline powertrains: a 362-hp twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and a 463-hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8. The former is sold with S450 badges, and the latter wears S560 on its trunklid. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive can be ordered with either engine. We clocked a rear-wheel-drive 2018 S450 at 5.3 seconds in our zero-to-60-mph test; the 2018 S560 did the deed in 4.2 seconds. The coupe and cabriolet come only with the V-8 and the 2018 S560 coupe managed a brisk 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph run at our test track. If these numbers aren’t exciting enough for you, the Mercedes-AMG lineup of S-classes (reviewed separately) are even quicker. We haven’t tested the 560e, but we expect that it will be slightly quicker than the standard twin-turbo V-6 models.
The S-class is relatively efficient for something weighing nearly 5000 pounds, and both V-6 and V-8 engines outpace many of their rivals in the EPA’s ratings. In our testing, the S-class’s highway fuel economy proved to be quite good, with the base S450 delivering 31 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test route, outperforming the BMW 740i by 1 mpg. The S560 sedan managed a respectable 26 mpg but was outdone by the V-8–powered 750i, which earned 29 mpg. Adding the 560e into the mix for 2020, we expect even greater efficiency than the non-hybrid models, but we have yet to get any fuel economy data of our own and the EPA hasn’t released any official numbers, either.
There are precious few automotive interiors we’d rather be in than that of the S-class. The cabin is contemporary and overtly luxurious. Buyers can choose from a host of leathers, woods, and intricate stitching accents for the seats, door panels, and dashboard, as well as power actuation for the rear seats and massage functions for the front and outboard rear chairs. The interior even smells decadent, thanks to the climate control’s integrated air-perfuming system. As with many of its competitors, the S-class has a smaller trunk than you might imagine and doesn’t have a folding back seat to open up extra cargo room. We managed to fit five of our carry-on suitcases inside the trunk of both the sedan and the coupe. If you’ll need more cargo capacity, we’d suggest taking a look at the Lincoln Continental, the Volvo S90 or the Cadillac XTS, all of which held more carry-ons and can be had with a folding rear seat.
Behind its impressive visage—and huge screen area from its dual 12.3-inch displays—the S-class’s infotainment system is complex and holds the potential to overwhelm users. The menu structures are straightforward enough, but they juggle a great number of functions and options. There are five choices of controls for navigating the system, including a main control knob, a touch-sensitive pad next to that knob, hard-button shortcuts to key menus on the dashboard, redundant steering-wheel controls, and voice commands. The standard list of infotainment features includes navigation, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability, and a wireless smartphone-charging pad. Onboard Wi-Fi and premium Burmester audio systems are optional.
It’s too bad Mercedes-Benz’s long-standing expertise in crash-test performance has yet to be validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the absence of crash ratings from either agency, we cannot comment on its performance. That said, the S-class’s available suite of driver-assistance technologies is cutting edge and affordable—relatively speaking. Key safety features include:
Mercedes-Benz’s four-year/50,000-mile warranty is better than the industry average yet is merely in line with what other luxury brands offer. What’s more, it falls short of the Genesis G90’s coverage.
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