2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

Pros & Cons

  • Luxury features
  • well-crafted interior
  • eye-popping performance from AMG engines
  • available all-wheel drive.
  • Expensive options
  • telematics interface could be more intuitive.
List Price Range
$15,434 - $32,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Its competitors are impressive, but the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class remains the quintessential premium luxury sedan.

Vehicle overview

If you ever want to see how the automobile has progressed over the last 50 years, look no further than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The name itself comes from sonderklasse, which is German for special class. Over the years, the S-Class has been a standard-bearer for technology, design, innovation, safety and performance.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class continues the tradition with a few new features. On the technology front, the interior display screen now allows the driver and front-seat passenger to view separate on-screen content, entertaining the passenger without distracting the driver. The lane-departure and blind-spot monitors have been enhanced by the ability of the brakes to engage and keep the vehicle in its lane. Later in the 2011 model year, a Bluetec diesel model will debut.

The diesel should complement the S-Class lineup nicely. Currently, the least expensive model is actually the S400 Hybrid, and it has all of the model's prestige but with tangible improvements in fuel economy. The standard S550 is available with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, while the raucous S63 and S65 AMG deliver stunning levels of performance. Whichever S-Class pulls at your heartstrings, you're guaranteed the highest level of comfort in a cabin that embodies luxury.

Of course, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is not without rivals. The new 2011 Audi A8, recently reworked 2011 BMW 7 Series and stylish 2011 Jaguar XJ represent more modern interpretations of the S-Class theme. The Porsche Panamera offers up the best handling of the segment, while the 2011 Maserati Quattroporte provides a welcome dose of Italian passion. But in some way, all the others are obliged to pay homage to the special and evolved Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class models

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup comprises the S400 Hybrid, S550, AWD S550 4Matic, S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG.

Standard equipment on the S400 Hybrid, S550 and S550 4Matic includes 18-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, automatic wipers, a sunroof, automatic adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, adaptive high-beams, foglights, power-folding heated mirrors, a power rear sunshade and a power trunk lid.

Inside the cabin, the S400 and S550 also feature a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors, 14-way power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, front seat memory functions, leather upholstery and a wood-and-leather steering wheel. Also standard are voice control (for audio, phone and navigation), Bluetooth, a navigation system, the COMAND electronics interface and a 15-speaker Harman Kardon stereo with six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack, an iPod interface, HD radio and satellite radio.

Optional on the S400 and S550 is the Premium II package which adds upgraded front seats, keyless ignition/entry, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. An upgraded Active Body Control suspension is offered on the rear-drive S550. All of the above equipment comes standard on the S600 along with 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, a lane-departure warning and prevention system, a night-vision system with pedestrian monitoring, upgraded leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, massage functions for the front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, power rear side window sunshades and a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Making the leap to the S63 or S65 AMG will add 20-inch wheels shod with high-performance tires, aerodynamic and styling enhancements, a sport exhaust, larger brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, premium leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power rear seats with memory, a rear-seat entertainment system, a unique steering wheel with shift paddles and an AMG instrument panel with a race timer. The S63 reverts back to the Harman Kardon audio, while the S65 receives the Bang & Olufsen system.

Many of the features found in the higher trim levels are available as part of several option packages for supporting models. Other add-ons include an AMG Performance package (for the S63 only) that includes a power increase of 27 hp and 74 pound-feet of torque and ups the top speed to 186 mph.

2011 Highlights

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class sees numerous enhancements for 2011. The S63 AMG receives a smaller but more powerful V8 engine, while the S65 AMG gets a slight bump in horsepower. The lane-departure and blind-spot monitoring systems now feature automatic brake intervention. A new split-view display screen also debuts. Lastly, a Bluetec diesel model is expected later in the model year.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz S550 is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 that produces 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, the S550 required only 5.7 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 mph. A standard seven-speed automatic transmission directs power to the rear wheels. The S550 4Matic is motivated by the same engine and sports all-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with rear-drive, and 14/21/17 mpg with the 4Matic. Every V8-powered S-Class gets a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the V12s are attached to a five-speed capable of handling prodigious torque.

The S400 Hybrid features a 3.5-liter V6 coupled to a mild hybrid system (it stops and restarts the engine at stoplights but cannot motivate the car by itself). The combined output is 295 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque that's good enough to reach 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19/25/21 mpg. The S600 gets a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V12 that pumps out 510 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque on its way to a Mercedes-estimated 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy is 12/19 mpg.

The S63 AMG features a new twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 with 536 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. It's expected to hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (4.3 seconds with the AMG Performance package) and achieves fuel economy of 14/22. The S65 AMG has a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 that produces a whopping 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. It hits 60 in 4.2 seconds. Fuel economy is an estimated 11/17/13.


The 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class boasts an impressive list of safety features that includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags and side curtain airbags. A driver fatigue and inattention warning system is standard on all but the S400.

Also standard is Mercedes' PreSafe system, which can sense an impending crash and automatically tighten the seatbelts and reposition the power seats for maximum airbag protection. Optional features, depending on the trim, include a lane-departure and blind-spot warning system with automatic brake intervention, infrared Night Vision Assist and PreSafe braking, which uses the optional adaptive cruise control radar system to sense an impending crash and automatically apply the brakes.

In Edmunds brake testing, the S550 came to a stop from 60 mph in an excellent 108 feet. The S400 Hybrid required 121 feet.


The 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class rides just as you'd expect from a top-tier luxury sedan. The compliant suspension ably cancels out road imperfections while also keeping body roll in check, and the cabin remains as quiet as a library even over rough pavement.

Compared to some competing models, the S-Class isn't quite as involving to drive, though the AMG models are plenty entertaining thanks to their otherworldly levels of power. The S400 Hybrid is obviously slower and has a less natural-feeling brake pedal, but otherwise it drives just like you'd expect from a Mercedes-Benz.


The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the standard-bearer for luxury for several decades and the latest incarnation upholds that tradition in grand style. With exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail, the cabin features top-notch materials and exacting construction. 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.

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. The trunk can accommodate up to 16.2 cubic feet.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great car - real value as a CPO
S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
Bought the 2010 S550 4-matic with every option as a lease return CPO at almost 1/2 the original purchase price at two years old and with 20K miles on the ode. Bought an extra 2 year warranty and have only had to use it once for the drivers wheel sensor. Dealership replaced all the wheel sensors just to make sure. Oil, brakes, windshield wipers, air filters and one set of tires is all I've put into this car with over 60K miles of almost daily use. Tires made a huge difference - bought Conti DWS and that made this car perfect in all weather and super quiet, including managing a foot of snow on the road. I've had no issues with transmission or engine - starts off the line fast in sport mode, rides smooth in comfort, shifts great with no hesitation between gears. I've owned over fifty cars (all types) and this car is one of the best. I'm 6'6" and the drivers seat fits perfect - If I want, I can put the seat back far enough so I can't reach the pedals. Massage, heated/cooled and fine leather seats are perfect for long trips. Oil changes at the dealer (MB-PDX) with a free loaner (due to the car being S-Class) has been great. 60K highway / freeway miles has averaged 20 mpg (per the panel). Finally, I can sell / trade the car for about 1/2 of what I paid which isn't too bad for driving this level of comfort.
Nicely Designed Ride requires constant attention
D. Monroe,06/14/2019
S550 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
Bought this Car in 2018 with 40k miles on it , it was a one owner vehicle in meticulous shape. In the 6 months I've owned the car I've had to change both front air struts(4800.00 at MB ) both control Arms and The motor mounts and transmission mounts also need to be replaced. The car is beautifully designed , but lacks a little bit in iron clad reliability compared to say the Lexus LS460. Beautiful and fun car to drive that turns heads, but be prepared to give this car constant maintenance attention as it tends to be really finicky particularly with the suspension.
MY 2011 550 S CLASS 4 MATIC
S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
I JUST BOUGHT MY 2001 S CLASS AND IT IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE BEST CAR i HAVE EVER OWNED. i HAVE HAD MANY BMW"S AND 2 AUDI'S. i LOVE THIS SO MUCH MORE. iT IS IN A CLASS BY ITSELF. i DID LOOK AT Thre new audi 8. It has this big grill which some like and some hate. From the drivers door back it is boring. From the back is it a 4,6,or 8. Who knows. The s class is just that, class.You must drive it to realize what it can do. I have the P2 package which has the most comfortable seats ever. The sides of the seats inflate as you go around a turn to keep you in your seat. I have the 20 inch amg wheels and the new magnatite black color. It stands out so much and has a young look. Nit your dads s class.
Living room comfort
S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
Drives like a dream. As we travel through the rough roads in daily Seattle traffic I’m reminded of being in the comfort of my living room with the quiet that allows my wife and I to have a normal conversation without the road noise from surrounding traffic to interfere. I’m amazed that we have recognized 20-21mpg in mixed mode driving. I will admit that the mpg decreases with increased use of the gas pedal. The transmission functions flawlessly and allows either paddle shifts or automatic shifting. In sports mode it hold gears to redline before shift application. While the technology is prevalent throughout once understood the infotainment system provides a rewarding results and the suspension & engine responses are intuitive and rewarding. My only complaint or challenge is with its length as parking in the garage proves to be tight and it’s a three car garage.

More about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Overview

The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is offered in the following submodels: S-Class Sedan, S-Class S65 AMG, S-Class Hybrid, S-Class S63 AMG. Available styles include S550 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl 7A), S550 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl 7A), S400 Hybrid 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7A), S63 AMG 4dr Sedan (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A), S600 4dr Sedan (5.5L 12cyl Turbo 5A), and S65 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.0L 12cyl Turbo 5A). Pre-owned Mercedes-Benz S-Class models are available with a 5.5 L-liter gas engine or a 3.5 L-liter hybrid engine, with output up to 382 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes with rear wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550 4MATIC is priced between $15,434 and$23,995 with odometer readings between 79819 and143253 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S63 AMG is priced between $32,990 and$32,990 with odometer readings between 76536 and76536 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 2011 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) 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2011 S-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,434 and mileage as low as 76536 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 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Can't find a used 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale - 5 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $7,745.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 9 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $12,473.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz S-Class for sale - 3 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $13,505.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $22,630.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 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