2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Performance


$71,304 - $155,034

2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 9.2

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has nimble handling for a car of its size, along with a smooth drive and powerful engine options. Its adaptive suspension keeps the ride enjoyable over bumps and dips in the road. However, it gets slightly below-average fuel economy estimates for its class.

  • The only way it falls short relative to other flagship luxury sedans is the driving experience; if you want some driver engagement, you can do better than the isolating S-Class. But that's a matter of taste rather than a fault. And as for the coupe and convertible, they really have only one competitor: the Bentley Continental GT. When you're cross-shopping with a Bentley, you know you're in rarefied air." -- Edmunds
  • "After driving the effortless and supremely competent S550 Cab, whose 449 horses, nine-speed automatic transmission, and standard Airmatic suspension made short work of wide-open expressways, rough city streets, and curvy mountain roads, I wondered: Why would you ever spend an extra $45,000 on the S63? The S550 is so capable and smooth that anything more seems, well, silly." -- Motor Trend
  • "Because of the extensive use of aluminum throughout its body, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan feels surprisingly light on its feet, especially given its rather ponderous size." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The S-Class comes with a 449-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Three additional engines are available: a 577-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter AMG V8; a 621-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12; and powering the S550e plug-in hybrid, a 436-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 engine with an electric motor. AMG models and the hybrid model come with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine is plenty powerful, and the S550's engine provides effortless acceleration. The AMG models offer intense acceleration, and both the nine- and seven-speed automatic transmissions offer quick, smooth shifts.

The S550 gets 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with its base engine. This is slightly below average for the class. With the 6.0-liter V12 engine, it gets 13 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, which is low for the class.

  • "As for engine choice, every S-Class is substantially quicker than you'd expect from such an enormous car. It's really power delivery that's the biggest difference. You'll be able to tell the V8 and V12 models apart by the way they dole out their power and torque, while the AMG models are showier in the noises they make." -- Edmunds
  • "There are high-powered AMG versions of the sedan, coupe and Cabriolet, but even the standard twin-turbocharged V8-equipped S550 is a powerful beast, sprinting to 60 mph in less than five seconds. The new 9-speed automatic transmission is smooth and seamless as it delivers power to the wheels. " -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Power comes from the big daddy of German luxury motors: Mercedes' twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter V-12 engine. It delivers that power like a swift-running stream – just a constant flow of output that you tap into whenever you're thirsty for some." -- Cars.com (2016)

Alternative Fuels

The 2017 S550e plug-in hybrid has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine and an electric motor that produce a combined 436 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. It can travel up to 12 miles on electricity alone, and it gets 58 mpg-e.

Handling and Braking

The S-Class comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is available. With its standard Airmatic adaptive suspension system, the S-Class has a smooth drive. Mercedes' Magic Body Control system, which uses a camera to scan the road for imperfections and then adjusts the suspension accordingly, is available and helps make the ride even smoother. The S-Class has somewhat light steering but handles well for its size.

  • "Effortless. That's really the best way to describe driving 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The steering is fairly light, and when equipped with lane keeping assist and/or Distronic Plus cruise control, it will even subtly steer the car for you. Still, you'll be surprised at how adeptly this very large sedan and coupe will hunker down and go around a corner." -- Edmunds
  • "The Airmatic cushion suspension uses adaptive damping to continually adjust the car's ride over various road surfaces, ensuring things inside stay serene, with a ride that's firm, but never jarring." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Most of all, though, the S550 Cabriolet, and all the S-Class variants, delivers what I consider the best ride quality of any car on the road today, even the ultraluxury models." -- CNET

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