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MSRP: $89,900 - 250,900

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class ranked #1 in Super Luxury Cars. Currently the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a score of 9.0 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 41 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

9.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 9.2
Interior: 9.3
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class finishes near the top of our super luxury car rankings. Whether you care more about performance or interior opulence, the S-Class delivers, making it one of the finest automobiles on the market.

Pros & Cons

  • Lavish, feature-filled interior
  • Outstanding seats
  • Powerful twin-turbo engines
  • Cushioned ride
  • Coupe and cabriolet models have small trunks
  • Modest learning curve for infotainment system

New for 2018

  • New V6-powered base model (S 450)
  • More powerful V8 in S 560 and AMG S63
  • More active safety features, including autonomous driving options

Is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class a Good Car?

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a great car. There are several powerful engines options, and the S-Class also provides poised handling and a sumptuous ride. This Mercedes offers more features than almost every other car out there, and its cabin quality stands above even other high-priced luxury vehicles. To top it off, both rows of seats provide plenty of space and support, regardless of body style.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

If you can afford the S-Class, you should buy it. That's a big if, though; this Mercedes isn't just one of the nicest cars on the road, it's also one of the most expensive. Still, the super luxury car class is filled with excellent vehicles. The BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 make fine alternatives for buyers unwilling to splurge on the S-Class.

Compare the S-Class, 7 Series, and A8 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

This Mercedes-Benz S-Class generation began with the 2014 model year. There haven’t been many major changes over the years, though the 2017 model year did introduce the S-Class cabriolet and add a nine-speed transmission to certain trims. For 2018, this Mercedes gets a mild refresh that adds a new base trim (the S450) with a 362-horsepower V6 engine. There are also several new driver assistance features, including lane keep assist, a head-up display, forward collision warning, and several more.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used car instead of a new one, though be aware that older models may not have as many features. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 S-Class »
We Did the Research for You: 41 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank. This review uses research and data from every year of the current generation, which spans the 2014 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cost?

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is expensive even by super luxury car standards. Its base price is just under $90,000, which is thousands more than most rivals’ starting prices. That number can skyrocket if you want higher trims and/or optional features. Every trim above the base starts at around or above $100,000 (some are more than $200,000), and most trims have several thousand dollars’ worth of options that you can add.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series?

The BMW 7 Series’s starting price is several thousand dollars lower than an S-Class’, but the BMW is also not quite as amazing. The Mercedes has a nicer cabin, more features, and a more comfortable ride. None of this is a knock against the BMW, as the S-Class has the same advantages over nearly every other competitor. At the end of the day, this matchup comes down to whether you're willing to sacrifice some opulence to save some money.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Audi A8?

The Audi A8 may not match the interior extravagance of the S-Class, but these two are on equal footing in terms of performance. The A8 feels agile, delivers a cushioned ride, and provides powerful engine options, including a high-performance model that can hang with the Mercedes-AMG trims. These German rivals have similar standard features lists, but the S-Class provides a level of luxury the Audi can't reach. This comparison boils down to whether you're willing to pay the extra money for the Mercedes' higher level of opulence.

Compare the S-Class, 7 Series, and A8 »

S-Class Interior

How Many People Does the S-Class Seat?

The Mercedes holds five people in sedan models and four people in coupe and cabriolet (convertible) models. There are no bad seats in the S-Class; the comfort level is off the charts, as are the amenities. Even in coupe and cabriolet models, the rear seats have plenty of legroom for adult passengers.

S-Class and Car Seats

The S-Class provides two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. You won’t have any problems with this system, as the anchor points are easy to find and use, and the rear seats are large enough for any kind of car seat.

S-Class Interior Quality

Looking for the swankiest interior around? Look no further than this Mercedes, which cocoons you in luxury thanks to a quiet, stylish cabin built with the finest materials.

S-Class Cargo Space

S-Class sedans have OK trunk space for the class – 16.3 cubic feet. Other body styles have significantly less space, though. Coupe models have just 10.4 cubic feet of space. Cabriolet models have 12.4 cubic feet with the top up and 8.8 cubic feet with the top down.

That’s obviously a wide range when it comes to how much stuff the trunk can hold. In an S-Class cabriolet with the top down, you’re talking about two sets of golf clubs or about six shopping bags. In a sedan, you can fit four sets of golf clubs and nearly a dozen shopping bags.

S-Class Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the S-Class include a 13-speaker Burmester audio system, satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, two USB ports, wireless device charging, and the COMAND infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen and navigation.

Available features include quad-zone automatic climate control, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 26-speaker Burmester 3-D audio system, a split-view front entertainment system, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

If you tell a car salesperson, "I want all the features," and they don’t point you to an S-Class, they’re doing a bad job. This car offers just about everything you could ever want in a car. At the center of it all is the COMAND infotainment system, which is easy to use once you master the touchpad controller and get over the somewhat steep learning curve.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

S-Class Performance

S-Class Engine: Plenty of Choices

There are several S-Class trims, each of which has its own powertrain. They range from the 362-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 powering the S 450 to the 621-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V12 found in the AMG S65. All the engines have ample power, but the larger engines deliver quicker acceleration. The AMG models have track-ready performance.

S-Class Gas Mileage: Class-Average Ratings

The Mercedes S-Class gets typical fuel economy ratings for a super luxury car, earning 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. As with many luxury vehicles, the S-Class requires premium gasoline. You’ll spend about as much on gas driving an S-Class as you will driving an Audi A8, but the BMW 7 Series will save you about $200 per year in gas money.

S-Class Ride and Handling: Poised and Polished

Large cars aren’t always the most graceful vehicles, but the S-Class is fairly agile for its size. It has good road grip around turns (even without Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system), and it doesn’t roll. The ride is virtually unmatched, and you’ll feel none of the bumps in the road as you’re driving.

Read more about performance »

S-Class Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Reliable?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That score is considered average for a new car.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Warranty

Mercedes-Benz covers the S-Class with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. Many other luxury vehicles have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

S-Class Safety

S-Class Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have crash tested the 2018 S-Class.

S-Class Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include driver drowsiness monitoring, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, crosswind assist, and Mercedes’ Pre-Safe, which automatically tightens seat belts and rolls up windows if it detects an imminent collision.

Available active safety features include a head-up display, active lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, evasive steering assist, route-based speed adaptation, active blind spot monitoring and lane change assist, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, night vision assist, a surround-view camera system, parallel and perpendicular park assist, Pre-Safe Rear, Pre-Safe Impulse Side, and Pre-Safe Plus.

Read more about safety »

Which Mercedes-Benz S-Class Model Is Right for Me?

There are four S-Class trims to choose from, two of which are performance-oriented. The S-Class comes in three body styles (sedan, coupe, and cabriolet), but not every trim is offered in each body style. Most trims also have their own powertrain, so stepping up in trim level generally means you’ll also get a more powerful engine.

When it comes to choosing the right trim, the first thing you need to know is that there is no wrong choice. Even the base trim – the S 450 – comes extremely well-equipped, and many more features are available. If you want a few more features and a more powerful engine, you could step up to the S 550 or S 560.

With that in mind, there are a couple trims worth highlighting because they offer things that other trims don’t. The two high-performance trims – the AMG S63 and S65 – both have engines that produce more than 600 horsepower, giving you track-worthy performance in a supreme luxury vehicle. It’s worth noting that all these cars carry starting prices in the mid-$100,000s, if not much higher.

Mercedes-Benz S 450

The S 450 sedan has a base price of $89,900. It comes with a 362-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, leather upholstery, driver drowsiness monitoring, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, a Burmester audio system, satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, and the COMAND infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen and navigation.

There are a number of available features and option packages that range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. These include things like massaging front and rear seats, heated rear seats, a refrigerator box for the rear cabin, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 26-speaker Burmester 3-D audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a litany of active safety features. All-wheel drive is available for an extra $3,000.

Mercedes-Benz S 560

The S 560 sedan starts at $99,900. The S 560 has a starting price of $122,750 for the coupe and $131,400 for the cabriolet. It comes standard with a 463-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Beyond those, the S 560’s standard and available features lists are the same as the S 450’s. All-wheel drive is available in the sedan for $3,000. AWD is standard in the coupe but not in the convertible.

Mercedes-Benz AMG S63

The AMG S63 sedan carries a starting price of $147,500. Coupe models start at $164,750, and cabriolet models start at $176,400. The AMG S63 comes with a 603-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 and all-wheel drive. It also has performance features like an adaptive sport suspension and high-performance composite brakes, and sedan models have cornering assist and a cylinder management system that deactivates cylinders you aren’t using.

As for comfort, convenience, and tech features, the AMG S63’s offerings match those of the other trims.

Mercedes-Benz AMG S65

The AMG S65 starts at $229,500 for the sedan and $236,250 for the coupe model. Cabriolet models start at $247,900. A 621-horsepower, twin-turbo V12 engine powers this bad boy. The AMG S65 comes standard with almost every feature you can get in an S-Class.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class specs and trims »

The Final Call

The mildly refreshed 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the best cars on the market. This car delivers terrific performance and has a nearly flawless interior; it deserves its spot near the top of our super luxury car rankings. If you’re shopping for a car in this class, this Mercedes absolutely belongs on your list.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Sure, the new S-Class engines offer more performance and greater efficiency, but luxury wars will no longer be won on those grounds alone. Rather, the battle for supremacy will [be] claimed from a matrix of luxury features, cabin comfort, performance – and yes, computer-aided driving. Based on those factors alone, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is more than ready for the future." -- Autoblog
  • "Few brands are as renowned for excellence and luxury as Mercedes-Benz, and the refreshed 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is nothing short of the pinnacle of its well-deserved reputation." -- Autotrader
  • "Simply put, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the finest cars in the world. There's no need for qualifiers like 'for the money' or 'within its class.'" -- Edmunds (2017)
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