2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class


$45,770 - $67,730

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class was new.


Performance: 9.2

According to automotive journalists, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class delivers an utterly magnificent ride quality with its available Magic Body Control system, has poised handling and can be hustled through corners with ease. They agree that the S550 has plenty of power on tap for every driving situation and the S63 AMG reaches high speeds effortlessly. Reviewers also add that the S-Class' available Distronic Plus with Steering Assist system makes it possible for the S-Class to pilot itself in low-speed situations, such as traffic jams, with no input from the driver. Due to this level of self-driving capability, reviewers say that though the S-Class is a capable and willing performer, the driving experience can feel somewhat isolated.

  • "The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a pleasure to drive and be driven around in. The S550 rides silently, sweetly and comfortably on an adjustable air suspension, and uses a twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 to make a muscular 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque." -- AutoTrader
  • "It also goes blazing fast and inspires confidence in every corner. Not too many cars have ever managed to 'Walk softly and carry a big stick' so perfectly." -- Road and Track
  • "There isn't much to complain about here. Simply put, the new S-Class drives wonderfully." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Given that the S-Class is as close to an autonomous car as we've ever seen, it's not surprising that driving experience from behind the wheel is rather detached. Certainly an accurate handler with well-weighted steering and a ride quality above reproache, this big four-door nonetheless registers very low on the fun-to-drive scale despite its robust powertrain." -- Left Lane News
  • "The S63 works to pound home the message that there is still no performance rival in any lineup anywhere that can compete with what it offers." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 S550 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 that produces 449 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. At an EPA-estimated 17/25 mpg city/highway, the S-Class' fuel economy is in line with that of its rivals.

The high-performance S63 AMG has a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 that produces 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a seven-speed AMG Speedshift MCT transmission. Mercedes-Benz estimates that the S63 AMG will accelerate to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and has an electronically governed top speed of 186 mph.

Test drivers write that the S550 has more than enough power to make quick, effortless highway passing maneuvers. With its seven-speed automatic transmission, reviewers agree that the S550 has a smooth driving demeanor. Others say that the S63 AMG is tamer than other AMG vehicles, but is still exceedingly powerful and effortlessly climbs to high speeds.

See full 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class specs »

  • "Delve deeply into the long accelerator-pedal travel and the S550 can blast around slower-moving traffic, creating opportunities even in short passing zones. In more relaxed driving, one appreciates the luxuriously smooth and predictable throttle tip-in; turbo lag is unmentionable." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The way the S550 gets up to speed is also, well, effortless. Acceleration from the turbo V8 is ferocious, yet its noises are reduced to a whisper inside the cocoon-like cabin. You're more likely to hear the S63, but it's not as vociferous as other AMG models. You're also more likely to get in trouble with Johnny Law since it gets up to speed quicker than many sports cars." -- Edmunds
  • "Just one engine will motivate S-Class sedans in the U.S., at least for now - a carried-over 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that debuted just last year. Sending power to the rear or, in 4Matic models, all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox, the big eight is a smooth and powerful operator." -- Left Lane News
  • "Even with its magical enhancements, the firmly tuned suspension can thump into a pothole, and every so often the seven-speed automatic duffs a shift with a slight jerk. Perhaps total isolation from internal combustion machinery isn't possible, but the interior roar at autobahn speed is so muted that you can whisper directions to your driver as needed." -- Car and Driver
  • "But the S63 AMG 4Matic is more velvety in character than that, and it retains that central trait to all large AMG models where you're forever driving at higher speeds than you intend because the whole experience is so stealthily effortless." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

The S-Class comes standard with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional on the S550 and standard on the S63 AMG. The S550 is also available with a feature called Magic Body Control that uses a camera to scan upcoming road for imperfections and makes suspension adjustments accordingly. For a large luxury sedan, reviewers write that the S-Class handles quite well, saying it tackles twisty roads without drama. Most auto journalists tested models equipped with the new Magic Body Control system, and nearly all are bewildered at how the system seemingly dispatches every road imperfection and makes the ride quality feel essentially perfect. Reviewers add that the steering is very light, requiring little effort to turn the wheel.

  • "The boast from Mercedes is that in mere milliseconds, Magic Body Control can adjust the suspension so that you never even feel rough spots in the road, and the truth is that it works miraculously well - as long as you've got the right size bumps. As jaded as we may be after years of hype over new features, we can't help but be wowed by how good this system is." -- MSN Autos
  • "… the S class's most byzantine feature must be Magic Body Control, supplied with the optional hydraulic active body control (ABC) suspension. … It is a truly bizarre feeling to expect to be tossed into the roof at 30 mph over a speed bump, only to feel...nothing." -- Car and Driver
  • "One oddity of the system, however, is that it works only when the suspension is in comfort mode, not sport. It seems to us that a suspension in sport mode is more likely to suffer harshness and therefore would benefit much more from Magic Body Control than the cushy standard mode." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The steering is fingertip-light, and when equipped with lane-keeping assist, it will even subtly steer the car for you. Still, you'll be surprised at how adeptly this very large sedan will hunker down and go around a corner." -- Edmunds
  • "The 14-foot sedan is actually a bit bigger than its predecessor, and we immediately noticed its size as we maneuvered through a crowded hotel parking lot. That said, the car is far from unwieldy or cumbersome." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Trees blur, and the car inspires confidence in the corners." -- Road and Track

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