2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Interior
This interior review was written when the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class was new.
Interiors are seldom disappointing among super luxury cars, but their designs do vary. Inside the Mercedes-Benz S-Class you’ll find a design that looks classic when compared to the sleek cabins of the BMW 7-Series or Lexus LS. Interior panels are covered in quilted leather and wood trim gives the S-Class an old-world feel.
However, don’t let the classic looks fool you into thinking that the S-Class is out-of-date. A full suite of cabin electronics includes a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo system, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and hard-drive based navigation. Despite these attributes, reviewers still don’t like the COMAND system, which controls most cabin electronics through a single knob, and requires you to navigate on-screen menus to make selections. A couple reviewers also note that those over six feet tall may want for additional headroom as well.
- "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
- "It's hard to believe the cabin design in the S-Class is four years old. It feels contemporary, from its broad instrument shelf, which spans two-thirds of the dashboard, to the seamless row of climate switches." -- Cars.com
The S-Class earns high praise from the automotive press for its comfortable seats. Many reviewers have driven cars that feature optional dynamic front seats, which are almost infinitely adjustable thanks to their 11 pneumatic chambers. These seats are adaptive, and can be set to increase bolstering if the driver turns right or left. If you don’t opt for the upgraded seats, the standard ones are still impressive. They’re 14-way power-adjustable, and also ventilated and heated. Other seating upgrades include front seat massage with four different settings, as well as eight-way power-adjustable rear seats that are heated and cooled. Four-zone climate control is also available to increase passenger comfort.
Most reviewers are impressed by the comfortable accommodations front and rear, although a couple reviewers note that some taller folks may want some additional headroom. Additionally, many reviewers don’t like that many seating adjustments are made using the COMAND interface.
- "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
- "The S-Class is not available in a longer-wheelbase version as are some of its competitors, but we suspect few owners will desire more than what the Benz offers. Space is plentiful in any seat and added creature comforts like heated and ventilated seats with massage features are sure to please even the toughest of critics." -- Edmunds
- "The front seats are thrones of comfort -- wide and flat, with enough thigh support for someone well over 6 feet tall. The backseat is large; by the numbers, it offers more legroom than the front seats, though it doesn't quite match backseat legroom in the extended-wheelbase 7 Series and XJ." -- Cars.com
Reviewers rave about the posh materials used inside the cabin of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The standard leather seating and Burl Walnut trim in the S550 are luxurious enough to satisfy almost any buyer. If you want an even more luxurious interior S600 models are available with Poplar or Burl Walnut wood, softer leather and an Alcantara headliner.
The S-Class comes with a full suite of cabin electronics which include a 15-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo system that reviewers love. The navigation display also gets high marks for its excellent graphics. Despite these pluses, the S-Class continues to disappoint reviewers with its COMAND interface, which controls everything from radio and navigation settings to seat adjustments through a single dial. The system requires you to work through a series of menus on the navigation screen to adjust vehicle settings, and many reviewers say that it’s a complicated and takes time to learn.
Still, most other super luxury cars come with a similar interface. Test drivers generally prefer the MMI system in the Audi A8 or the Remote Touch device in the Lexus LS, noting that they’re more user-friendly than COMAND. Despite this issue, the S-Class does feature a voice recognition system that you can use instead of COMAND for many vehicle functions.
- "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 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
- "A standard 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo with surround sound includes a six-CD changer, high-def and satellite radio, and full iPod compatibility. From Vivaldi to Zeppelin, it sounded superb -- in the league of the Audi A8's excellent Bang & Olufsen stereo." -- Cars.com
With 16.4 cubic feet of trunk space, the 2011 Mercedes S-Class has more space to stow your luggage than the BMW 7-Series or Jaguar XJ, but less than the Lexus LS. The trunk is easy to access, and reviewers generally like the S-Class’ cargo bay. However, some reviewers mention that interior storage is minimal, and that the rear seats don’t fold or offer a center pass-through to increase cargo capacity.
- "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 trunk lid closer is available. Folding rear seat backs or a trunk pass through aren't offered. Interior storage space is disappointingly meager." -- Consumer Guide
- "Trunk volume is a competitive 16.4 cubic feet. Like many top-end luxury sedans, the S-Class does not offer a folding backseat. There isn't even a pass-through for skis, a feature a number of competitors offer." -- Cars.com