2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review
This review was written when the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class was new.
The flagship sedan of the world’s oldest automaker, the exemplary 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class shows off everything that Mercedes engineers can do. It offers a level of luxury even some similarly-priced cars can’t match, and safety systems no other automaker builds. Much of the same can be said, however, of its less-expensive E-Class sibling.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the most luxurious and exclusive sedan built by the legendary engineers at Mercedes-Benz. It is a well-balanced luxury cruiser, offering refined road manners, sumptuous luxury and high-end technology packaged within an old-world ambiance that many rivals can’t approach. Available with a powerful V8 or an astonishing twin-turbo V12, it is as fast as many sports cars. With exceptional Napa leather upholstery and a revised technology package including an updated navigation system that stores Zagat reviews of thousands of restaurants and hotels, it coddles its occupants like few cars ever have. Its unique, optional Drive Dynamic seats, which actually change shape to cradle passengers in response to the car’s movements, are something no rival can match.
For 2010, the S-Class also debuts some extraordinary new safety systems, such as Mercedes’ new, heavily-advertised Attention Assist driver drowsiness monitor, which attempts to detect and alert a tiring driver.
Reviewers continue to be frustrated with the car’s complex COMAND system, which makes adjusting everything from the radio station to the firmness of the seats a complicated process involving a series of menus on the navigation screen. A few also say that a new steering system, found only on the S550, is disappointing, feeling overboosted.
Other Cars to Consider
The Super Luxury Car class has seen several significant new entries in recent years, and the S-Class is no longer an obvious favorite. Buyers interested in an opulent interior can save thousands, while retaining a similar level of comfort, in the Lexus LS. Buyers looking for raw performance can out-corner the S-Class in BMW’s redesigned 7-Series -- or, for a similar price, can buy what many consider the world’s fastest four-door sedan, the all-new Porsche Panamera.
S-Class buyers might also pause to notice that, one step down on the price ladder, the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan carries much of the same appeal, and all of the same safety systems, for a lower cost.
Those who have always seen a Mercedes-Benz S-Class as the epitome of luxury motoring won’t be disappointed with the 2010 edition. This is still a superb car in every way. But those who aren’t attached to the idea of a Mercedes might want to consider a few competitors before settling on this car.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class: The Details
A new, hybrid edition of the S-Class is available for 2010. The S400 hybrid differs from conventionally-powered S-Class sedans in many ways. We review it separately. A pair of high-performance AMG models, the S63 and S65, also get separate reviews.
For 2010, Mercedes has made subtle exterior changes to the lights and side mirrors of the S-Class, added considerable new safety equipment and slightly altered the mix of options available on each trim level.
- "The S-class in any incarnation is still one of the finest cars in the world. It's ultra-luxurious, ultra-refined, and ultra-comfortable, and it doesn't shy away from being hustled. The refreshed 2010 S-class is-as the S always has been-satisfying in a way other cars simply aren't.” -- Car and Driver
- "One of the finest luxury sedans one can buy short of much more expensive options from Bentley, Maybach or Rolls-Royce. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will no doubt satisfy just about any ultra-luxury-sedan buyer. But it's still worth taking a look at other options. Specifically, the all-new 2009 BMW 750i should be a more athletic-handling alternative to the S550, and the often-overlooked Audi A8." -- Edmunds
- “S-Class defines luxury motoring. Encompassing serenity and inspiring road manners are among its hallmarks. Unfortunately, cars of this caliber also force the driver to interact with diversionary hi-tech features, many of which require far too many steps to adjust. In that regard, the S-Class runs with the pack. Our picks here are the S550 versions. They deliver such high levels of performance and luxury that it is difficult to justify paying so much more for other S-Class models.” -- Consumer Guide