2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review
Edmunds expert review
As the current generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class reaches the halfway point in its life cycle, it receives the customary refreshening to keep it competitive against newer rivals. Those include the BMW 7 Series, Porsche Panamera and next year's redesigned Audi A8. To its credit, the S-Class would have remained a top pick in the premium luxury sedan class without the subtle styling tweaks and added features. That's how good it already was.
A slightly more affordable S 450 model debuts this year. Its V6 is down on horsepower compared to the S 560's larger V6, but otherwise it has the same exhaustive list of features. It's the best value here. The new driver assistance features aren't as well-executed as we would have expected, or as advanced as they might be portrayed, so we're more inclined to pass on those options. What you're left with is a stately sedan with an impeccable interior and a smooth ride that keeps occupants blissfully isolated from the harsh outside world. Quite simply, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class exceeds expectations.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is available as a five-passenger sedan, four-passenger coupe and convertible (cabriolet).
The S 450 is available as a sedan only while the S 560, AMG S 63 and AMG S 65 are offered in all three body styles. The main difference among these trims is what's under the hood.
Starting things off is the S 450 sedan. It's powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine (362 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque) that sends power to the rear wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is available as an option.
The S 560 has a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine (463 hp, 516 lb-ft) but is otherwise equipped similarly. The all-wheel-drive system is standard on the S 560 coupe but not available on the convertible.
Standard feature highlights include adaptive LED headlights, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, a power trunklid, an air-ride adaptive suspension, keyless ignition and soft-close doors. On the inside, you get a virtual instrument panel, leather upholstery, 16-way power-adjustable front seats (with heating and memory functions), an air fragrancer and a power rear sunshade.
On the tech front, the S-Class comes with remote control over some features via a smartphone app, a wireless charging pad, a 115-volt household power outlet, a 12.3-inch display with Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 13-speaker Burmester surround-sound system. Standard safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and a drowsy driver warning system.
The S 560 coupe and convertible add ventilated front seats, premium leather and an automated parking system but go without the household power outlet and rear sunshade. The convertible also features a folding soft top, Airscarf neck heating, and the Aircap system that deploys wind blockers atop the windshield and between the rear headrests.
Naturally, Mercedes offers a wealth of options to further solidify the S-Class' luxury status. You'll probably want the Premium package, which includes front multicontour seats with massage functions with instant heating and a surround-view camera system for the coupe and convertible while the sedan also adds ventilated front seats, power rear sunshades and the automated parking system. A head-up display is also included for the coupe and convertible. If safety is a priority, the Driver Assistance package bundles a wide assortment of advanced driver safety aids.
To keep rear passengers completely comfortable, there's the Executive Rear Seat package for the sedans with its multicontour seats with massage functions and a power-reclining right rear seat with ottoman and seat cushion airbags. There's also an optional Executive Rear Seat Plus package that replaces the center seat with a console and includes an entertainment system and refrigerated compartment.
Other add-ons include Magic Sky Control (dimming tint for the sunroof), Magic Body Control (a predictive suspension for sedans with a tilting function when cornering), a night-vision camera, a head-up display, a rear-seat wireless charging pad and a 26-speaker premium Burmester audio system.
The AMG S 63 has a sportier take on luxury with a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (603 hp, 664 lb-ft). A performance-tuned all-wheel-drive system is standard along with unique exterior treatments. The AMG S 65 ups the ante with a turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 (621 hp, 738 lb-ft) and is only available with rear-wheel drive.
The AMG models include the Premium package, 20-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, an adaptive sport suspension, a sport exhaust, unique sport modes and performance apps, the surround-view camera and an IWC clock (sedan only). The S 65 adds further enticement with standard Magic Body Control, a leather headliner, the premium audio system and the night-vision system.
Noise & vibration9.0
Ease of use8.5
Getting in/getting out9.0
Child safety seat accommodation8.0
Audio & navigation9.5
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.