2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.5 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 7-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 382 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

  • The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the benchmark for those desiring a large ultra-luxury sedan that has everything and can do everything.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    State-of-the-art luxury features, handling and performance of a smaller sport sedan, eye-watering acceleration of AMG models, available all-wheel drive, famed S-Class prestige.

  • Cons

    Expensive options, COMAND system is not intuitive, turn signal stalks are awkward to use.

  • What's New for 2009

    Only minor equipment changes make their way onto the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Both rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive versions of the S550 now come standard with the Premium 1 package, which adds an electronic trunk closure, as well as heated and active ventilated front seats.

Full 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

What's New for 2009

Only minor equipment changes make their way onto the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Both rear-wheel- and all-wheel-drive versions of the S550 now come standard with the Premium 1 package, which adds an electronic trunk closure, as well as heated and active ventilated front seats.


Perhaps no luxury sedan has ferried so many celebrities, foreign dignitaries and well-to-do professionals as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In recent years, this flagship four-door, with its über-luxurious interior, brand prestige and host of high-tech options, has been one of the finest luxury sedans one can buy short of much more expensive options from Bentley, Maybach or Rolls-Royce.

Although the 2009 S-Class has a bulky curb weight to match its imposing street presence, any of the available engines can pull the sedan's weight with ease. From a 5.5-liter V8 that delivers 382 horsepower to a twin-turbo V12 pumping out 604 hp, the S-Class offers a range of power plants that are sure to impress. Inside, the richly appointed cabin is adorned with high-quality leather and polished wood. High-tech accessories such as a hard-drive-based navigation system, adaptive seats, the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension technology and Distronic Plus cruise control offer an impressive range of capabilities that set the S-Class apart from the pack.

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 remains a favorite of ours due to its understated yet classy demeanor. And for those who can't decide between the two high-performance AMG models, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur sits nicely in between, both power- and price-wise. Still, Mercedes' S-Class essentially sets the standard here -- and that's something the world's celebrities, foreign dignitaries and well-to-do professionals will no doubt testify to.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Five trim levels are available on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan: the S550, the all-wheel-drive S550 4Matic, the V12-powered S600, the high-performance S63 AMG and the über-performance S65 AMG. Standard equipment on both S550 models includes 18-inch wheels, an automatic air spring suspension, bi-xenon headlights, an electronic trunk closer, heated and active ventilated front seats with 14-way power adjustments, leather upholstery, the COMAND control interface, a hard-drive-based navigation system, an in-dash memory-card reader, Bluetooth and a Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer and satellite radio. Optional on the S550 is the Premium 2 package that includes a rearview camera, a park distance system and keyless ignition and entry, as well as a sport package that includes 19-inch AMG wheels, dual-chrome exhaust and a body kit.

The S63 AMG, in addition to a larger, more powerful V8 engine, comes standard with all the features of the S550 and adds 20-inch lightweight AMG wheels, Mercedes' ABC adaptive suspension (optional on the rear-drive S550), larger brakes, park distance sensors, a rearview camera, specific exterior styling pieces, keyless ignition and entry and sport seats with massage function. An optional AMG performance package adds different 20-inch wheels and carbon-fiber trim, and the top speed of the car is raised from 155 mph to 186 mph.

The V12-equipped S600 comes standard with 18-inch wheels and all the features found on the S550, plus the Premium 2 package, the ABC suspension system, a panoramic sunroof, Night View Assist, the Distronic Plus system, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, four-zone climate control, dynamic-adjusting front seats with massage function, and power rear sun blinds. The S65 AMG includes all these features plus 20-inch wheels, dedicated AMG exterior and interior styling, special sport seats and a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles.

Many standard features found on the higher-end S-Class models are available as stand-alone options on models without these features as standard. In addition, a glovebox-mounted iPod integration kit is optional on all models.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S550 sports a 5.5-liter V8 that makes 382 hp and 391 pound-feet of torque. In testing, we've found that this is enough for a 6.1-second 0-60-mph time. A standard seven-speed automatic transmission routes power to the rear wheels. Opt for the S550 4Matic and this same transmission routes power to all four wheels. The Mercedes S63 AMG has a 6.2-liter V8 capable of 518 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The S63 also uses the seven-speed automatic, but it's recalibrated for faster, firmer shifts.

A choice of two 12-cylinder engines is found in the two remaining S-Class models. The S600's twin-turbo V12 is of the same displacement as the V8, but provides 510 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. For the S65 AMG, a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 develops a positively ludicrous 604 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Anything more would have to be fueled by nuclear fission. Mercedes says the S65 AMG can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. On the V12s, Mercedes sticks with a five-speed automatic since the seven-speed unit isn't capable of handling the V12's torque output. The S65 has a sport-tuned version of this automatic that provides quicker shifts.

Fuel economy is predictably mediocre for a heavy sedan with this much power. The S550 is rated at 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. The S550 4Matic comes in at 14/21/17 mpg. The S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG all somewhat surprisingly achieve the same 11/17/13 mpg.


The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has some of the most advanced safety systems on the market today. Active headlights, stability control, eight airbags (including full-length curtain and side rear airbags) and brake assist are all standard, as well as Mercedes' PreSafe system, which can sense an impending crash and automatically tighten the seatbelts and reposition the power seats for maximum airbag protection. The optional Night Vision Assist uses infrared technology to detect objects far beyond headlight range.

Interior Design and Special Features

Fit and finish is impeccable on Mercedes' flagship, and the materials quality is truly superb. 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.

Optional 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. Those in the rear seat can be taken care of in similar fashion, particularly when the S-Class is equipped with the rear-seat package that adds power adjustment, heating and cooled seats, and its own set of two-zone automatic climate controls.

Driving Impressions

Ride and handling on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class are compliant and fitting for a luxury sedan, yet the heavyweight four-door's capabilities go beyond what you'd expect. The Airmatic suspension system does a fine job gliding over bumps and ruts, and body lean is effectively minimized when the S-Class is equipped with the ABC system. The steering is fairly quick and precise with decent heft to the wheel, though we'd still give the BMW 7 Series a slight edge in road feel. Tight handling makes the car feel smaller than it is, even if we wouldn't exactly call the S-Class athletic.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Not the legendary reliability of

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Vehicle: 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)

Generally I loved to drive this car. Reasonable performance for a full-size sedan. However, it's exceedingly thirsty. As always, the published fuel economy is way more optimistic than real world driving condition. A typical mix of city and highway gets about 450km out of a 100l tank. Do the math -- consumption is generally high teens per 100km. After just over 4 years of age, and about 52000 kilometers, the transmission failed. The cost of parts and labour to replace the entire transmission was over $14,000. So where's the "legendary reliability, to quote Mercedes? It's a legend!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3rd mercedes i owned

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Vehicle: 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl 7A)

first of all, ive owned 2 lexus, not impressed, poor fuel economy, rough ride, cheap interior. at 385 hp my benz screams in passing gear on the highway, usually average 22-25 mpg hwy. 100 mph at 2300 rpm, that is a class all its own, and still plenty of pull. seats are the best ever, massage seats on both front seats, panoramic roof, great looking car, people actually get out of my way on the highway, except, of course those idiots driving saturns! bought it pre owned with 17000 miles...love it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Bar none

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Vehicle: 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)

This is my 5th S-Class, second one from this generation. Over the years the car has grown be the real luxury sedan it is known to be. If you're looking for a sport sedan, go for the AMG or Panamera. If you're looking for the most relax daily driver on the market, you can't go wrong with this. The pedal feels firm where you can feel the power through each inch you press. For 13" front and 11" rear brakes, the car stops effortlessly. The 7-spd transmission is one of the best I've driven so far. The car has been flawless over the years. The only problem I've ever had, was to replace the wiper blades.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Amazing feeling

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Vehicle: 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)

I switched from an Audi A8L to this magnificent ride-what a difference. Driving this car makes you feel so calm and relaxed. Very minimal road noise. This car is so great-I don't know what I will upgrade to, when time to change it will come

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

How good can it get

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Vehicle: 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl 7A)

Having moved up from an E500 that I thought was a good ride, this is sheer driving bliss. The quietness, feeling of solidity, lush interior ambiance, smart Euro styling, responsiveness, fore and aft roominess all combine for a memorable driving experience. Although my choice is not heavily optioned, the long list of standard features adequately satisfies my convenience and comfort wants. The paddle shifter capability is of dubious value for my driving habits and they inadvertently get bumped on occasion. I plan for this car to be a long term keeper and knowing that MB maintenance cost is expensive, I opted for the extended warranty.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Like a million bucks

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Vehicle: 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)

Waited 10 yrs to responsibly afford this car. WELL WORTH IT. My wife and I treat this vehicle like a family heirloom. A recent VA-NY road trip was blissful... too short even. Getting acquainted w/ the onboard systems is a fun adventure. Upgrading to the 2009 S550 4Matic (from our 2000 E320) was like being selected from an overcrowded coach class seat by a pretty flight attendant and being led by the soft, well-manicured hand to posh first class seats. Straight forward power is embarrassingly obliging. Leather, wood and interior touches are like a private men's club lounge that even a discerning lady can appreciate. Play it cool on long runs and flirt w/ 30 mpg. NY ice/snow: no problems!

Talk About The 2009 S-Class

2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Discussions See all Started By

E-Class - A facelift for 2007. The E500 becomes the 382hp E550. The E320 CDI trades its I6 for a new 3.0L V6. New E320 CDI will be offered with 4Matic for the first time. In Europe there is a 314h...

I just dropped off my 2009 C300 after a very satisfying 2 year lease. The dealer called my lease 5 month early. He wanted to sell me a 2010 E350. I took the 3 yr lease with free service and negoti?...

Well thats the whole point of the CLS it isn't "needed" they just wanted to do something different. I've heard different things about it's size, some are saying its as large as a S-Class, b...

Read more about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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