2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • Elegantly appointed and spacious cabin, feels nimble for its size, state-of-the-art safety features, strong resale value.
  • Complicated COMAND system, not as athletic as some of its competitors, a few low-grade interior materials.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

The S-Class is a top choice when it comes to a no-compromise, full-size luxury sedan.

Vehicle overview

The S-Class is Mercedes' flagship sedan. The current generation, introduced in 2000, brought sleeker styling, more advanced technology and greater performance than the heavier versions that preceded it. Two models were available initially, the S430 and S500 sedans, with V8 engines of 4.3 liters (275 horsepower) and 5.0 liters (302 horses), respectively. Lighter and less expensive than the robust Benz sedans that preceded it, the 2000 S-Class earned praise for its sleek body, exceptional comfort and performance that belied its size. However, it was criticized for overly complex controls, especially the standard COMAND system that operated the navigation and audio systems. Soon after, two more S-Class sedans joined the lineup, the top-dog S600 (with its 362-hp, 5.8-liter V12) and the AMG-tweaked S55 (which had a 5.4-liter, 355-horse V8), making sure both the ultraluxury and ultraluxury/sport sedan markets were covered.

For 2003, Mercedes made a number of significant advances in performance and safety. Responding to the ever-rising performance bar in this class, Mercedes installed a new, more powerful 493-hp V12 in the top-of-the-line S600 and added a supercharger to the S55, also yielding 493 horses albeit less torque. (If that's still not enough for you, Mercedes has slotted an even more powerful S65 AMG model into the lineup for 2006.) Practical technology comes in the form of all-wheel drive, dubbed 4Matic, which is available on the S430 and S500 models. Ideal for those who live in rainy or snowy climates, 4Matic automatically directs power to whichever wheel(s) have the best grip. And at the forefront of safety is the Pre-Safe system, which can sense an imminent accident and automatically tighten the seatbelts and position the power seats to afford the best protection for the occupants. For those who don't need the ultimate in power for their large sedan, Mercedes-Benz introduced the S350 for 2006. This S is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 with 241 hp. Regardless of engine choice, the S-Class is still one of the top sedans in its class and certainly the winner when it comes to curbside prestige.

2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class models

The four-door S-Class sedan is available in four models: the S350, S430, S500 and S600. All models come with most of the luxury features you would expect in a sedan of this caliber, including 14-way power-adjustable front seats, a DVD navigation system, Bose premium audio system, and rich leather and wood trim. Notable options include ventilated front seats with a massage feature, a keyless entry and start system (called Keyless Go), adaptive cruise control and a sport package that includes larger wheels and tires, resculpted bumpers and side skirts.

2006 Highlights

The S350 arrives as a new entry-level S-Class model, powered by a 241-hp V6. The S600 now includes Keyless Go, an electronic trunk closer, heated steering wheel and rear side window blinds as standard equipment, while the Hands Free Communication system has moved to the options list.

Performance & mpg

The entry-level S350 features a 3.7-liter V6 with 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The S430 is powered by a 4.3-liter, 275-hp V8, while the S500 offers more power courtesy of its 5.0-liter V8 rated for 302 hp. Both V8 engines use a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 uses a five-speed unit. The top-of-the-line S600 uses a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V12 rated to produce 493 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque; it's paired with a five-speed automatic. Mercedes claims that the S600 can hit 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, placing it in a league usually occupied by exotic sports cars. The S430 and S500 are available with either the standard rear-drive setup or the fully automatic 4Matic all-wheel-drive system as a no-cost option. Note that 4Matic-equipped cars use a five-speed automatic instead of the seven-speed.


Every S-Class sedan includes "Pre-Safe," which determines accident probability by using sensors in the stability control and BrakeAssist systems. Should an accident seem unavoidable, the system applies split-second tensioning of the seatbelts, moves the front-passenger seat and power-adjustable rear seats to the most favorable positions and closes the sunroof (if the vehicle is skidding). If the accident is averted at the last moment, the seatbelt tensioning is cancelled and the seats are reset to their original positions. Of course, Pre-Safe joins a list of already impressive safety features that includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for front occupants and side curtain airbags that protect both front and rear passengers.


The S-Class has that enviable quality of feeling smaller and more nimble than its substantial size suggests. Strong acceleration, precise handling and a relaxing ride remain strong virtues of Mercedes' senior sedan. The S600 provides truly exceptional performance in a straight line, but BMW's 760Li is still a more involving driving experience. Buyers needing all-weather capability should consider the 4Matic versions of the S430 and S500.


Virtually every luxury and convenience item to be found in an automobile, including a DVD-based navigation system and power door-closing assist, is standard on each S-Class sedan. Still, there are optional designo interior trim packages which include more dramatic leather and wood combinations, as well as dynamic multicontour front seats, four-zone climate control and power-adjustable rear seats.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Simply Awesome!
S55 AMG 4dr Sedan (5.4L 8cyl S/C 5A)
This is my 5th Mercedes S Class and my 12th Mercedes. I have owned my share of Bimmers, Porsches, Lincolns, Caddys, Land Rovers and other luxury rides and I keep coming back to a Benz. A several year old, low mile, S Class, is the best car buy on the planet. Who in their right mind would spend upwards of $75,000 for a Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, or any other NEW luxury ride, when you can purchase a well sorted and well maintained pre-owned S Class for under $35,000 with a comprehensive warranty? I have put over 175,000 miles on two S Class Benz's, without any significant expenses other than normal service. I just spent over $7,000 on my 4 year old Grand Cherokee with under 100K on the odometer.
best ever riden in
S500 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.0L 8cyl 5A)
I have owned many luxury vehicles. I would never buy another American luxury car, especially Cadillac. The MB surpasses the Cadillac 1000% in comfort, stability, design, and value in the long run. Find a good MB mechanic vs. the dealer to do the maintenance because the dealers rip you off - like $300 for a oil change!
A little DIY makes this a fantastic deal
S430 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (4.3L 8cyl 5A)
I bought my '06 S430 4matic in 2011 with 130,000 miles on it. It had a very subtle but nice lower body kit and new 20" aftermarket wheels with fresh tires. I paid $13,000 for the car. Despite the high mileage, it was in great shape. Having owned several German luxury cars in the past, I knew going in there'd be maintenance costs. I came up with a strategy for dealing with that inevitability. First, although it was to be my daily driver, I had backup vehicles to use when (not if) something broke on this car. That's important because it took away the urgency whenever something broke on the car - I would just drive my old BMW 3 series convertible for a few days or a week while waiting for a part to arrive and for me to have the time to install it. Second, although I'm not a mechanic, I can do research on the internet to diagnose a problem and hopefully find easy to follow instructions to complete common repairs. There are an unbelievable number of detailed, step-by-step instructions with pics and videos on the internet Mercedes forums and Youtube. Third, I have a 4-post hobbyist lift in my garage. That makes doing many, many diagnostics and repairs so much easier. 4 post lifts cost about $2,000 and can be delivered directly to your garage. You can put it together yourself in a day or hire someone to set it up for you for about $500. Fourth, I have a mechanic that lets me provide my own parts and he just charges me labor. This saves me ALOT in repair costs. You will probably need to develop a relationship with the mechanic before he allows this, but referring friends and family to him is a shortcut to developing such a relationship. It also means staying away from the Mercedes dealership and using an independent repair shop. There are some repairs that I just don't have the time, talent or tools to take on, and having good mechanic for the tough stuff is a must. Fifth, gathering up a decent set of tools and an OBDII scanner is a must. But, with Harbor Freight and Northern Tools and other discount tool sources, it's not that expensive to do that. Be sure to get a decent toolbox or chest to keep your tools organized. Sixth, don't be afraid to buy used parts when appropriate from salvage yards as well as use quality non-OEM parts. This can save you 50% to 80% easily on parts over what a dealership costs. My S430 now has over 200,000 miles on it and it is going strong. I have gotten to know the car and am not afraid to do some easy repairs - for example the Airmatic suspension system. It's relatively easy to fix the air suspension, and with aftermarket suppliers, I would even say it is cheap to repair. For example, the first Airmatic problem I had was a big one requiring replacement of the air pump and problems with both front struts. Had I taken it to the dealer, it would have been nearly $7,000 to repair. After researching on the internet, I was able to buy a rebuilt air pump and replace the top strut seals all by myself. About 6 hours of total labor and $900 in parts, including the cost of a special strut tool. If your mindset in buying a used Mercedes that's out of warranty is to take it to the dealership every time it breaks, pretty much any model Mercedes (or other luxury vehicle of any brand) will eat you alive in repair costs. But, with a DIY mindset, you can keep them running great on a reasonable repair budget. The W220 series cars are fantastic automobiles. Update: September 7, 2018 - I sold the car about 10 months ago. Replaced it with an '08 Audi A8L. The Audi is a newer generation with technology than my old S430, but it has been in constant need of repair, literally from the moment I bought it. I expect things to go wrong with an older German luxury sedan, but the Audi makes my S430 seem like a Honda Accord in terms of reliability. I will probably sell the Audi soon and go back to another S-Class Mercedes, around a 2010 model. Every Mercedes I've had has been a relatively reliable vehicle, and I've had 3 with well over 200,000 miles.
My Mercedes s500 Experience
S500 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 7A)
HI everyone, I bought my 06 Mercedes s500 with only 40k on it about a year ago and put about 60k on it. The car has 100k now, but here is where the horror story begins. At 100k the Service needed to be done (Spark Plugs, Oil change, all lubes) $560 and $2000 at the dealer. After two months the SAM went out, my TPMS sensors went out, Brakes went out, AIRMATIC PUMP went out and the car sat to the floor, The Secondary Air Injection went out. This car is very beautiful and comfortable and I used it a lot. If I went to the dealership I would have paid over $9000 for all of those services i mentioned above, I am not that type to go to the dealer but $4000 is still not a cheap price to pay. This car has many pumps and gadgets that can go out, be prepared to replace them at 100k! After that hopefully it will go for another 100k with normal maintaining.

More about the 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Overview

The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is offered in the following submodels: S-Class S55 AMG, S-Class Sedan, S-Class S65 AMG. Available styles include S65 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 5A), S55 AMG 4dr Sedan (5.4L 8cyl S/C 5A), S430 4dr Sedan (4.3L 8cyl 7A), S500 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 7A), S350 4dr Sedan (3.7L 6cyl 5A), S430 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (4.3L 8cyl 5A), S500 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.0L 8cyl 5A), and S600 4dr Sedan (5.5L 12cyl Turbo 5A). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz S-Class models are available with a 6.0 L-liter gas engine or a 5.4 L-liter gas engine or a 4.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 604 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic, 7-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a unlimited yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S65 AMG is priced between $13,495 and$13,495 with odometer readings between 121552 and121552 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2006 S-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,495 and mileage as low as 121552 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Can't find a used 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale - 2 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,451.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,934.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale - 5 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,928.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 6 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $24,137.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz S-Class lease specials