Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S63 AMG 4MATIC
- Unparalleled blend of luxury and technology
- "magic carpet" ride
- effortless acceleration
- endless safety and entertainment features
- opulent cabin.
- Sheer volume of tech features can overwhelm
- competitors are more engaging to drive.
Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S63 AMG 4MATIC for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a step above other elite full-size luxury sedans in refinement, technology and luxury. It's one of the world's finest automobiles.
The best or nothing. It sounds like a load of marketing schlock, but that's exactly what Mercedes-Benz set out to create with the all-new 2014 S-Class. Ever since this nameplate debuted in the 1970s -- and indeed even before then -- Mercedes' flagship sedan has been a hallmark for automotive excellence and a benchmark for the rest of the industry. This is the car that's sought after by luxury sedan buyers from every corner of the world.
The 2014 Mercedes S-Class delivers a blend of technology and luxury that permeates everything from the suspension to the stereo. This is a car that can scan the road ahead for bumps and actually adjust the suspension to counteract them, making the ride even more comfortable. It can detect potential collisions and react to them before you do. And for good measure, there's an interior fragrance dispenser (four different scents are available, should you care to know), six seat massage selections, 24 speakers and either 449 or 577 horses under the hood.
And perhaps best of all, this elite full-size luxury sedan is designed and crafted to an opulent degree. More so than in the past, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class feels like a step above traditional competitors like the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series in its design, quality and technology. Arguably, it's now the middle ground between those cars and top-echelon sedans from Bentley or Rolls-Royce, which makes sense since it not only replaces the last S-Class but also the defunct Maybach ultra-luxury brand.
So is the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class the best automobile in the world? That's a difficult statement to verify, but it's without question one of the finalists. This is a car that all others in its segment will be compared to while representing a glimpse into the future for the entire Mercedes-Benz brand.
Trim levels & features
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a full-size luxury sedan. It's presently available in standard S550 (with either rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive) and high-performance S63 AMG trim levels. Hybrid and ultrahigh-performance S65 AMG models will be introduced later. Seating for five is standard, while an optional two-person rear seating configuration lowers capacity to four.
Standard equipment on the S550 includes 18-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, automatic adaptive LED headlamps, LED running lights and taillights, a rearview camera, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, an electronic trunk closer and soft-close doors. Comfort and convenience features include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated 12-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, front seat memory functions, leather upholstery, MB-Tex synthetic leather interior trim, LED accent lighting and a power rear sunshade.
Standard technology features include the COMAND electronics interface, twin 12.3-inch configurable displays on the instrument panel, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Mercedes' mbrace2 telematics system (including smartphone app integration), an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and a 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system with USB/iPod audio interface, HD radio, satellite radio, TuneIn Internet radio, a six-CD changer and digital music storage.
The S63 AMG differs with a more powerful engine, a different transmission, 20-inch wheels, AMG-tuned suspension components, more aggressively bolstered seats and slight styling differences.
Options are plentiful. The Premium 1 package (standard on the S63) adds active "multicontour" front seats (ventilation, upgraded heating, six massage settings, adjustable bolsters and shoulder supports), hands-free trunk access, front and rear parking sensors, automatic parallel parking and power rear-side sunshades. The Warmth and Comfort package adds heated armrests and door panels, a heated steering wheel and four-way power-adjustable outboard rear seats with memory functions, heating and ventilation (many of these features are available separately). The Rear Seat package adds four-zone auto climate control, a power right rear footrest and rear seatbelt airbags. The Executive Rear Seat package adds "multicontour" rear seats, a right-rear recliner-style footrest and greater adjustment than the Warmth and Comfort package offers. The Executive Rear Seat Package Plus replaces the center seat with a full-length center console complete with fold-out tray tables and heated and cooled cupholders. The Air Balance package adds a cabin fragrance system.
Other options include extended leather interior trim, a surround-view parking camera, adaptive cruise control, night vision assist, an automatically adjustable Magic Body Control suspension, a rear refrigerated box, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin displays and a 24-speaker Burmester 3D surround system. There are also several packages available that bundle emergency communications, information and apps.
A pair of Sport packages adds body cladding and either 19- or 20-inch wheels to the S550. Different 20-inch AMG wheels can be added to the S63.
Performance & mpg
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 comes with a 4.6-liter turbocharged V8 good for 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, and 4Matic all-wheel drive is an option. At Edmunds' test track, an S550 sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. That's a bit quicker than its chief rivals, which run in the still quick, mid-to-high 5-second range. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/25 mpg highway).
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG gets a 5.5-liter turbocharged V8 that produces 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. A specialized seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. Mercedes says it will hit 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, which would be on par with the SLS AMG supercar. EPA estimates for fuel economy are 18 mpg combined (15 mpg city/23 mpg highway).
Every 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class includes advanced antilock brakes (predictive braking, automatic brake drying, hill-start assist, traffic-light hold feature), stability and traction control, a radar-based collision prevention system, a driver inattention warning system, front and rear seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver-knee airbag. The mbrace2 communications system includes automatic collision notification, an SOS button, stolen vehicle location, geo-fencing (which allows owners to set boundaries for other household members who drive the car), alarm notification and remote door lock/unlock.
The Driver Assistance package adds an advanced blind-spot assist system (will help steer you back into your lane if you fail to heed its warnings), lane-keeping assist and an adaptive cruise control system that includes steering assist and automatic braking. Also optional is a night vision alert system that shows pedestrians and animals that may not be visible in the headlights.
During Edmunds' brake testing, an S550 came to a stop from 60 mph in a short 115 feet, a little better than average performance for a large luxury sedan on all-season tires.
Effortless. That's how the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class feels when you're behind the wheel. The steering is fairly light, and when equipped with lane-keeping assist, it will even subtly steer the car for you. Still, you'll be surprised at how adeptly this very large sedan will hunker down and go around a corner.
You may think you've enjoyed a comfortable ride before, but it most likely pales in comparison to the adjustable air suspension fitted as standard to the S-Class. Not only does it iron out bumps, there's not a hint of floatiness, which is a requirement for a car designed to cruise effortlessly at triple-digit Autobahn speeds. Plus, the ride gets even better with the optional Magic Body Control. Utilizing a windshield-mounted camera, the car detects bumps and other imperfections in the road ahead and automatically adjusts the air suspension to compensate. We're not exaggerating when we say large speed humps can feel more like pebbles.
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 S63, but it's not as vociferous as other AMG models. You're also more likely to get in trouble with Johnny Law since it gets up to speed quicker than many sports cars.
The cabins of most flagship luxury sedans feel like bigger, fancier versions of "lesser" models, sharing a general design aesthetic and many control components. Not so the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. There is a clear differentiation between it and other Mercedes models, indicating that this is a special car that exists above the rest. Even things like the seat control buttons are bespoke to the S-Class. More importantly, however, there is an elegance and sense of opulence here that make it feel more like a competitor for a Bentley than a BMW 7 Series.
Beyond aesthetics, few cars can approach the new S-Class sedan's comfort and infotainment features. The standard seats are lovely, but you'd be nuts not to select the Premium 1 package's multicontour seats with their additional adjustments, ventilation and six massage settings. That's right, six. One even simulates a hot stone massage by utilizing the seat's heating elements. And just in case your rear passengers are the jealous sort, the same opulent front seat features (including adjustments) are available in the enormous backseat. Plus, you can add an entertainment system, airplane-style pop-out tables and even a fridge.
All those infotainment functions are controlled by the latest iteration of Mercedes' COMAND system, which remains one of the most user-friendly around (even if its immense number of functions renders it a tad overwhelming at first). Compared to the setup in other Mercedes-Benz models, the S-Class sedan's upgraded COMAND interface features a colossal, crystal-clear central screen with all-new graphics and a different physical button layout (buttons for frequently used functions are now grouped around the main control knob rather than on the dash). Immediately adjacent is a new instrument panel, which houses a full set of digital gauges. The result is a truly contemporary cabin that offers ample functionality while keeping buttons to a minimum.
The trunk, as you might expect from a 17-foot-long sedan, is sufficiently large at 16.3 cubic feet.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
The launch of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 is a milestone in automotive circles. The S-Class is the car that has dominated the luxury car ranks for years, so when a new one comes along there's a certain level of anticipation that comes along with it.
Try as they might, the likes of Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Lexus have yet to match the sheer cachet that comes along with the "big" Mercedes: something that is fully reflected in its ever buoyant global sales figures. In its final year of production, the outgoing model still managed to beat the competition in sales volume. To suggest the new one has a lot to live up to is perhaps understating things a little.
A Wide-Ranging S-Class
The new rear-wheel-drive, long-wheelbase S550 driven here is just one of six different variants of the new S-Class that will eventually hit the market. Among them are short-, long- and extra-long-wheelbase variants together with a Pullman limousine, two-door coupe and two-door convertible. All except the short-wheelbase variant are planned for sale in North America, with deliveries of the long wheelbase scheduled to get under way in September.
This S-Class follows an evolutionary path, eschewing big changes for subtle modifications, all aimed at seeing the S-Class attract new customers without turning off its current owners. This latest model looks more stately than the car it replaces, with a bolder front end appearance, greater structuring to its flanks and a more confident-looking rear. Dimensionally, there's not much between it and its predecessor, the new S-Class being less than an inch longer, only 1.1 inches wider and not even half an inch higher.
During the early conceptual stages for the new S-Class, a number of construction techniques were apparently discussed, including a possible switch to a space frame like that used by the Audi A8 in a bid to shed weight. In the end, though, Mercedes-Benz's engineering brain trust decided on a more conservative approach, retaining conventional monocoque construction in the interests of production continuity.
With an all-aluminum body and more high-strength steel within its floorpan, the new S550 is marginally heavier than its predecessor at 4,442 pounds. Where it does manage to score is in rigidity. We won't bore you with the details but the overall integrity of the body has risen dramatically, with Mercedes-Benz's own figures pointing to an almost doubling in rigidity levels compared to the old S-Class.
Familiar Engine With More Power
The new S-Class will initially be sold with just a single engine in North America. The twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 is carried over from the old model with slight revisions. The result is a slight bump in output to 455 horsepower, while torque remains at 516 pound-feet.
Mercedes-Benz planned to launch the S-Class with a new nine-speed automatic gearbox but ended up going with an updated version of the seven-speed unit used by its predecessor. The nine-speed gearbox will eventually make its way into the S-Class, but likely not before a planned face-lift in 2016.
Even without the extra gears, the S550 is capable of startling performance figures. Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-60-mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph.
From behind the wheel, there is a dual personality to the S550. On the one hand, it is remarkably smooth and superbly refined, providing relaxed and soothing qualities at part throttle in Comfort mode. But it also has the in-gear acceleration to keep in touch with some highly fancied performance cars in a straight line when you switch into Sport mode, something that sees it dispatch big distances with great authority.
Never Forgets What Makes It Comfortable
So, it is strong on performance and terrifically refined, but the one factor that continues to lift the S-Class clear of the competition is its imbibing comfort. The new model builds on the inherent strengths of its predecessor with great poise to the body, a superbly cosseting ride and a level of refinement that reaches well beyond that of the A8, 7 Series and XJ and tops even the LS.
The standard suspension employs adaptive damping in combination with air springs, a layout closely related to that used on the old S-Class but with detailed changes to the elasto-kinematic properties to enhance its ability to soak up potholes with even greater control.
The big news, however, surrounds the availability of an advanced new system that goes under the name of Magic Ride Control. An option on the S550, it uses a stereo camera mounted within the windscreen to constantly scan the road surface and then automatically prime the underpinnings. It is an active system, meaning there is a continuous altering of firmness within the suspension for an optimum ride up to speeds of 81 mph.
The result is a wonderfully supple feel, with a consistent ride height and next to no movement of the body even on big bumps. It sounds complex, and in terms of engineering clearly is. But there is little doubt Magic Ride Control will alter the luxury car landscape as it takes the idea of adaptive suspension one more step in the right direction.
Less satisfactory is the steering: a newly conceived electromechanical setup. It may have slightly better weighting but it comes with a lack of feedback. It often feels detached from the action so there's a little less involvement than we would like, especially for a car that's so capable of extreme performance.
Cabin Worthy of the Hype
The promise delivered by earlier photographs of the new S-Class interior is fully backed up when you open the door and climb inside, where you are met by an inviting combination of luxurious leather, deep grained wood, high-quality plastic and flashes of brushed aluminum.
Perceived quality is hugely impressive: every bit as good as that offered by the A8, 7 Series, XJ and LS, if not better. The design represents a big break from old, giving the new sedan a far more luxurious and thoroughly contemporary feel.
There's a compelling softness to the cushioning of the seats that immediately tells you the clear emphasis here is more on outright comfort than anything to do with sporty pretension. Despite riding on the same 124.6-inch wheelbase as before, Mercedes-Benz says the new S-Class offers marginally more head-, shoulder and elbow room both up front and in the rear.
All this, along with generous levels of steering wheel and seating adjustment, soon has you finding a decent driving position and feeling fairly confident about what's to come. The only real criticism is a slightly obstructed view out back owing to the high-set rear window and rather large rear-seat headrests.
Plenty of Extras
Buyers will be able to choose among five different rear-seat configurations, ranging from a conventional fixed rear bench all the way through to a setup that offers 43.5 degrees of backrest adjustment in what Mercedes-Benz dubs its first-class seating option.
As you'd expect from a car sitting at the very top of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, there is no shortage of safety features, although the most advanced items, including new rear seatbelt airbags, are mostly optional equipment.
What you do get as standard on North American specification models is radar-controlled collision prevention assist, so called Magic Vision Control that provides infrared images during nighttime driving; a Burmester sound system; and LED interior lighting with a choice of seven different colors, five dimming levels and four different dimming zones.
Only a Few More Wishes
The new S-Class is quite a machine: a celebration of contemporary engineering, state-of-the-art safety technology, bank vaultlike solidity and soothing calmness. It is a bit surprising that Mercedes-Benz did not see fit to provide its new flagship with a driveline to fully complement the rest of its achievements. With efficiency on the minds of even the wealthiest buyers, an advanced hybrid right out of the gate might have set the tone in a way that no one expected.
Mercedes head of research and development Thomas Weber tells us such a model is under intensive development and planned to join the lineup in time. Good thing, too, as a new Audi A8 is in the works for next year, along with a redesigned BMW 7 Series after that. No doubt those sedans will have endless arrays of technological gadgets to go along with newly designed interiors and sports-carlike performance.
Until then, however, this S-Class should have no trouble attracting the level of attention it has grown accustomed to. All the elements of a top-notch luxury sedan are there and even some elements you don't expect. The standard has been set once again. Now it's time to see how long it stays that way.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S63 AMG 4MATIC Overview
The Used 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S63 AMG 4MATIC is offered in the following styles: , and S63 AMG 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (5.5L 8cyl Turbo 7A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2014 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.