Mercedes-Benz S-Class Performance
If you’re looking for the ultimate balance of comfort and composure, reviewers say the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a tough car to beat.
- "Aside from some very mild thumping over sharp bumps, travel is serene, with little road or wind noise." -- Consumer Guide
- "The S-Class sedan floats over road imperfections and cocoons its occupants from nearly all external noise." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class provides a ride you'd expect from a top-tier luxury sedan." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "The S Class just has a certain sound and feel about it when you're driving. It's heavy but still crisp. Every movement is intentional and every piece of the car feels exceptional." -- The Detroit News (2012)
Acceleration and Power
A wide range of S-Class models are available, which differ primarily by the engine under the hood. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec comes with a 240-horsepower turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 engine and standard all-wheel drive. The EPA reports that the S350 Bluetec gets 21/31 mpg city/highway, which is better than most cars’ fuel economy in the class. If you prefer a hybrid luxury car, the Mercedes S400 Hybrid comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an electric motor, which produce 295 horsepower combined. However, at 19/25 mpg city/highway, the S400 Hybrid isn’t as fuel-efficient as the S350 Bluetec. S550 models come with a 4.6-liter twin turbo V8 that generates 429 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional on the S550 model. S350, S400 Hybrid and S550 models all use a seven-speed automatic transmission. S600 models are rear-wheel drive only, and come with a 510-horsepower twin-turbo V12 engine, which is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
The high-performance S63 AMG comes with a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that generates 536 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 590 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 to 4,500 rpm. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard. An optional AMG performance package boosts engine output to 563 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Lastly, the high-performance S65 AMG comes with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine that produces 621 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 738 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Reviewers generally approve of the S350 Bluetec’s engine. They say that the S350 feels powerful in the city, and one reviewer is also surprised at how quickly it hustles down a twisty road. S550 models also earn praise for their power, and one reviewer writes that the S550’s turbocharged V8 engine and automatic transmission feel exceptionally refined.
- "The 4.6-liter V8 is silky-smooth, delivering its 429 horsepower through a recently improved 7-speed automatic transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book (S550)
- "The S550 doesn't disappoint. The new 4.6-liter direct injection twin turbo V-8 blasts out 429 horsepower. The surprising feat with this engine is that engineers figured out a way to make it 20 percent smaller but create more than 30 percent more power." -- The Detroit News (2012)
- "Stepping up to the S550 will likely deliver all the power anyone could ever need. The new twin-turbo V8 offers ample thrust while returning better fuel economy than before." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "With the seven-speed automatic deftly surfing the diesel engine's lazy torque, the S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC is surprisingly quick down a winding road." -- Motor Trend (2012)
Handling and Braking
The S-Class features an air suspension, which allows the driver to adjust the firmness of the ride between Comfort and Sport modes. Reviewers are generally impressed with the balanced ride it provides, noting that despite its size, the S-Class still feels composed. Additionally, one test driver notes that excellent steering feel and strong brakes are also among the S-Class’ attributes.
- "Mercedes-Benz leaves the sporty pretense to its AMG-tuned models (S63 and S65), but the ‘standard’ cars are plenty capable in their own rights. Steering feel is superb, body lean in fast turns is almost non-existent, and the brakes have firm pedal action." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan's active suspension continually adjusts to the irregularities of the road, allowing the S-Class to optimize driving dynamics while offering an unprecedented level of ride quality." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "It simultaneously gives you that stately luxury-car feel, without making you feel overly isolated from driving." -- Edmunds (2012)
- "We've found all the S-Class models handle well for big luxury sedans. They are composed, responsive and stable at any speed." -- New Car Test Drive (2012)