Mercedes-Benz S-Class Interior
There are no disappointing Super Luxury Sedan interiors, but they are not all the same. The passenger cabin of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class creates a more classic, old world feel than the sleeker cabins of the Lexus LS or BMW 7-Series. Quilted leather panels, a minimal use of contemporary chrome trim, give it a connection to classic Mercedes-Benz cabins.
That is not to say, however, that the car is out of date. Advanced cabin electronics include an extraordinary 15-speaker harmon/kardon surround-sound stereo system, and a 40-gig hard-drive based navigation system that includes Zagat reviews for many restaurants, hotels and golf courses. Reviewers, however, are often frustrated with the COMAND interface that controls these systems. Like BMW’s iDrive, the COMAND system uses a single dial and a series of menus on the navigation screen to control everything from seat memory settings to radio stations. Reviewers are often critical of these systems.
- "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
- "Fit and finish is impeccable on Mercedes' flagship, and the materials quality is truly superb." -- Edmunds
Reviewers say little about the standard front seats of the 2010 S-Class, because most have only driven cars equipped with the optional Drive Dynamic upgraded seats. These may be the best offered in a Super Luxury Sedan. Constructed of 11 pneumatically-adjustable chambers, the seats are almost infinitely adjustable. They can even be set to change shape subtly in response to the car's movements, cradling the driver and passenger in place. The 14-way power-adjustable front seats are heated and cooled, and, optionally, offer four massage settings.
Eight-way power-adjustable, heated and cooled rear seats are available as an option, as is four-zone climate control.
- "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. Seats offer fan ventilation, automatic-inflating side bolsters, and a relaxing massage function. " -- Consumer Guide
- "Dynamic multicontour seats have 11 air chambers that fill and deflate as you drive, which allows the seat to cradle your body in virtually any position. During aggressive driving, the side bolsters can automatically pump up and down in response to cornering forces to better hold you in place. These seats can also provide a soothing massage." -- Edmunds
We have never found a reviewer complaint about the sumptuous materials found inside the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The standard leather and walnut found within the S550 are luxurious enough to satisfy almost any buyer -- but those who want something more exclusive can opt for the upgraded, cream-soft premium leather upholstery, hand-polished brown poplar trim and Alcantara headliner of the S600.
The S-Class sedan comes with an extraordinary array of cabin electronics, including an exceptional 15-speaker harmon/kardon stereo navigation system, but reviewers have little to say about them. Instead, auto writers tend to spend their time criticizing the systems’ controls. Its COMAND driver interface controls everything from radio stations to seat position settings though a single dial and a series of menus on the navigation screen. The only consistent criticism of the S-Class is that COMAND is needlessly complicated and difficult to learn -- but the S-Class isn’t available without it.
We should note, however, that all Super Luxury Sedans use a similar system. The automotive press generally considers the Audi MMI system in the A8, and Lexus’ new Remote Touch device in the LS, to be the most user-friendly versions, and COMAND to be among the worst. We should note, however, that the S-Class features an excellent voice recognition system that allows the driver to bypass COMAND for some functions.
- "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. Most climate functions are handled by simple buttons, but the COMAND system absorbs too many audio controls, complicating their use. It also governs a daunting array of navigation, phone, seat, suspension, and cruise-control adjustments. Further, COMAND's response to inputs via the center console knob or dashboard buttons is frustratingly slow." -- Consumer Guide
- "When it comes to usability, many find Mercedes' COMAND system quirky and unintuitive, although the current generation of the interface is easier to use than in the past. Another pet peeve is the S-Class' turn signal stalk, which is located down lower than on most cars and is somewhat inconvenient to reach." -- Edmunds
The trunk of the 2010 S-Class offers just over 16 cubic-feet of storage space -- more than the BMW 7-Series or Jaguar XJ, but less than the Lexus LS has to offer. The space is easily accessed, with an available power-operated trunklid. Some reviewers complain that interior storage spaces are small, but that is a common complaint about German sedans, so in this class, only the Lexus LS seems to avoid that critique. The rear seats of the S-Class do not fold to expand storage space.
- "The trunk is large, usefully shaped, nicely finished, and includes an underfloor storage bin. Lid hinges dip into cargo area but are covered. A power trunklid closer is available. No folding rear seatbacks or trunk pass-through is offered. Interior storage space is disappointingly meager" -- Consumer Guide