2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid Interior
This interior review was written when the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid was new.
Super luxury car interiors seldom disappoint, but the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid stands out. Inside the S400 Hybrid, you’ll find a design that looks classic when compared with the sleek cabins of the BMW 7-Series Hybrid or Porsche Panamera Hybrid. Quilted leather covers the interior panels, while Eucalyptus wood trim finishes off the distinctive cabin.
But don’t let the classic design cues fool you -- the S-Class Hybrid is loaded with interior tech. A full suite of cabin electronics includes a 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and hard drive-based navigation. Despite these attributes, not all reviewers like the COMAND system, which controls most cabin electronics through a single knob.
- "Gorgeous interior." -- Automobile Magazine
- "First-class materials and soft accent lighting create an elegant interior ambience that's as good as it gets. Ingot-solid structural integrity adds to the appeal." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the standard-bearer for luxury for several decades and the latest incarnation upholds that tradition in grand style." -- Edmunds
The S-Class Hybrid’s comfortable, supportive seats are among the best most reviewers have tested. Many have driven models that feature Mercedes’ optional dynamic front seats, which are almost infinitely adjustable thanks to their 11 pneumatic chambers. These adaptive seats can increase bolstering when the driver changes direction. But if you decide to skip the upgraded seats, the standard ones are still impressive. They’re 16-way power-adjustable, ventilated and heated. Regardless of which seats you choose, front and rear passenger have ample space to stretch out.
Additional seating upgrades include eight-way power-adjustable rear seats that are heated and cooled. Four-zone climate control is also available.
- "The S-Class affords outstanding room and comfort. Only the very tall will find headroom lacking due to this car's sloping roofline and intrusion from the sunroof housing." -- Consumer Guide
- "Space is plentiful in any seat and added creature comforts like heated and ventilated seats with massage are sure to please even the toughest critics, whether they're seated front or back." -- Edmunds
- "Personal thermostats, power window shades, massagers, and a good half-acre of legroom make calling ‘shotgun’ a fool's wager in a Mercedes S-Class." -- Boston Globe
- "The seats with their massage mode and the dynamic bolsters fit snugly and securely and allowed both driver and passenger to remain in the saddle for those long stretches between fuel stops." -- Road and Track
Reviewers love the lush surroundings of the S-Class Hybrid’s cabin. However, they’re somewhat divided on the S400’s tech features. While critics approve of the S400’s 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system and sharp navigation display, some still say that Mercedes’ COMAND interface is difficult to use.
Although it’s similar to the system in the E-Class, they say that the S-Class’ COMAND system lacks separate buttons to make simple adjustments. Instead, the S400 uses a single dial to control everything from radio and navigation settings to seat adjustments. You have to work through a series of menus on the navigation screen to adjust these vehicle settings, and many say that the system requires time to master. Still, not all dislike COMAND. One reviewer says that it is likely the best system on the market.
The S400 Hybrid features a voice recognition system that you can use to control many vehicle functions, but if COMAND turns out to be a deal breaker for you, don’t overlook the BMW 7-Series Hybrid. Many reviewers comment that BMW’s iDrive system has become much more user-friendly in recent years. Another option is the Lexus LS Hybrid, which has a conventional layout with separate buttons for its climate, entertainment and information systems. Many critics say the LS Hybrid’s system is easier to use.
- "Gauges are large and clear. Features and their related controls are in abundance; nearly all require some study to understand, and many divert the driver's attention." -- Consumer Guide
- "The COMAND electronics system uses a control knob and screen to work most entertainment and navigation functions, but the lack of physical dash buttons (like those in the E-Class) tends to complicate the operation of frequently used functions." -- Edmunds
- "The Comand system's infotainment controller is very intuitive and still strikes me as one of the best on the market, even after half a decade." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The COMAND system also benefits from continuous improvement and is more intuitive and easier to use with each generation." -- Road and Track
Normally, hybrid versions of non-hybrid cars compromise some trunk space to make room for their batteries. However, since the S400 Hybrid’s battery is under the hood, trunk space is the same as the gas-only S-Class. At 16.4 cubic feet, the S400’s trunk is one of the largest in its class. However, the rear seats of the S400 do not fold to expand storage space. Some test drivers also complain that the S-Class Hybrid doesn’t have enough interior storage. If you’re looking for a car with better small item storage inside the cabin, check out the Lexus LS Hybrid.
- "Folding rear seat backs or a trunk pass through aren't offered. Interior storage space is disappointingly meager." -- Consumer Guide
- "The trunk can accommodate up to 16.2 cubic feet, which is a decent size for this class." -- Edmunds
- "Mercedes was able to locate its smaller and more energy dense Li-ion battery pack, which consists of thirty-five cylindrical cells supplied by the French firm Saft, in the engine compartment, leaving the S-class's 16.3-cubic-foot trunk intact.” -- Automobile Magazine