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Mercedes-Benz S-Class Performance

Reviewers agree that the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a velvety smooth ride and exceptionally powerful twin-turbocharged V8 and V12 engines. Auto writers add that the S-Class offers responsive handling for its size, though they note that the sedan isn't particularly fun to drive compared to other cars in the class.

  • "Effortless. That's how the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class feels when you're behind the wheel." -- Edmunds
  • "The S63 AMG coupe hauls ass while keeping yours comfortable, providing a driving experience engaging enough to distract you from the space program's worth of electronics on board." -- AutoWeek
  • "There isn't much to complain about here. Simply put, the new S-Class drives wonderfully." -- Popular Mechanics (2014)
  • "Given that the S-Class is as close to an autonomous car as we've ever seen, it's not surprising that driving experience from behind the wheel is rather detached. Certainly an accurate handler with well-weighted steering and a ride quality above reproache, this big four-door nonetheless registers very low on the fun-to-drive scale despite its robust powertrain." -- Left Lane News (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 engine that makes 449 horsepower. According to the EPA, the 2015 S550 sedan gets 17/26 mpg city/highway, which is on par for the class. The S600 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that makes 523 horsepower. Both trims come with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The performance-oriented S63 AMG has a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that produces 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The S65 AMG has a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that makes 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard in the S63 AMG, while the S65 AMG has a seven-speed automatic. Mercedes-Benz estimates that the S63 AMG sedan and coupe have a top speed of 186 mph and will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

Critics agree that the S550 sedan has more than enough power for any passing maneuver you throw at it, and they say the lighter S550 coupe feels even faster. They add that the AMG models offers sports car-like acceleration along with a slightly louder exhaust note.

  • "Fire up the 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, and the exhaust rumbles louder than the S-class sedan's, despite the fact that it's the same engine making the same 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. The coupe feels quicker to accelerate, shift, and shed speed." -- Car and Driver
  • "The way the S550 gets up to speed is also, well, effortless. Acceleration from the turbo V8 is ferocious, yet its noises are reduced to a whisper inside the cocoon-like cabin. You're more likely to hear the AMG models, but they're not as vociferous as other AMG models. You're also more likely to get into trouble with Johnny Law since they get up to speed quicker than many sports cars." -- Edmunds
  • "Even a 'base' S550 model has impressive acceleration and power thanks to a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that enables the S-Class to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Delve deeply into the long accelerator-pedal travel and the S550 can blast around slower-moving traffic, creating opportunities even in short passing zones." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The all-new 2015 S550 Plug-in Hybrid has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor that produce a combined 436 horsepower. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. Mercedes-Benz says it has an electric range of 20 miles and can fully charge in 4.1 hours when using a 230-volt outlet.

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system is available. The S-Class is also available with a feature called Magic Body Control, which uses a camera to scan the upcoming road for imperfections then adjusts the suspension accordingly. Critics say that despite its comfort-oriented design and low-effort steering, the S-Class feels agile for its size, adding that AMG models are even more nimble. They note that Magic Body Control absorbs large bumps as if they don't exist.

  • "With much of its structure built out of aluminum, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class feels light for its size as you maneuver it through its paces." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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. That is especially true of the AMG models." -- Edmunds
  • "… the S class's most byzantine feature must be Magic Body Control, supplied with the optional hydraulic active body control (ABC) suspension. … It is a truly bizarre feeling to expect to be tossed into the roof at 30 mph over a speed bump, only to feel...nothing." -- Car and Driver (2014)
  • "For this incarnation of S-class perhaps more than any other, the question might better be, 'How does it ride?' From any of the seats fore and aft, the answer is a resounding 'Ahhhh-mazingly.'" -- AutoWeek (2014)
Review Last Updated: 4/7/15

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