Mercedes-Benz S-Class is lit. But not in the way kids are using it, and not in the way we used it when we were kids. In this case, we mean it literally. The S-class just got a major redesign with new headlamps with three points of light, and the interior scored new ambient lighting. The S580 lights up like a Christmas tree, illuminating the driver with any one of an infinite number of hues. The bright lights that run from the dash all the way to the backseats might seem gimmicky for some, but we think it’s super cool.
The all-new S-Class is offered in two grades, S500 and S580. The base model starts at just under $110,000 and comes with the company’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with EQ Boost making 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. But the one we had on test was the more powerful S580 ($116,300) with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and EQ Boost making 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.
The car is quick and incredibly luxurious, competing with the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 in the full-size sedan category. But it’s going to win the sales battle with its tech, which is staggering. Forget the Hyperscreen in other new Mercs; the gorgeous central screen in the S-Class sweeps up from the center console and is easily within reach. Can the S-Class retain its position as the default luxury sedan in this segment, though?
2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Changes: What’s the difference vs 2020 S-Class Sedan?
The 2022 S-Class is an entirely new model from the ground up. The S-Class may look quite evolutionary from the outside but it has been comprehensively revised under the skin. It has a longer wheelbase for more space and an interior that makes the average iStore look outdated. Both models in the current range are faster than their predecessors but weigh less and are more efficient.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Exterior
Most humans want the world to know how successful they are. It’s an entirely normal thing, and there’s nothing wrong with buying an object that reflects success. The S-Class used to be such an object. It was more tasteful than a massive diamond necklace, for example. You saw an S-Class parked in the driveway, and you just knew its owner was winning at adulting. Things have changed, however. Merc’s overall design language is nice, but they all look the same. You’d walk right past an S-Class and not even know it. It’s a CLA, but around 30 percent larger. It’s getting to a point where customers are going to buy Mercs based on size alone. You’ll enter the dealership and say, “I’d like to buy 17 feet of Mercedes, please.”
On the plus side, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is an undeniably elegant sedan and its size gives it considerable presence. Both models come with standard all-LED exterior lighting, a panorama roof with dual interior sunshades, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Power-folding side mirrors, soft-close doors, an automatic trunk lid, and heat- and noise-insulating glass are some of the features every S-Class owner would expect and they’re all there.
The design might not blow you away, but the four-door sedan’s footprint is mighty. It’s 208.2 inches long, 83 inches wide including the mirrors, and 59.2 inches tall. These dimensions are perfect for a luxury barge. The wheelbase is arguably the most important figure, and we’re happy to report that the S-Class has grown nearly two inches in this department. Its 126.6-inch wheelbase is more substantial than all of its rivals. The S-Class even beats the Bentley Flying Spur in this department. In terms of curb weight, the S500 weighs 4,740 pounds while the meatier S580 weighs 4,775 lbs.
It seems as if Mercedes-Benz contracted E.L. James to make the color palette suggestions. She’s most famous for writing 50 Shades of Grey, but Merc’s color count doesn’t go up that high. Here, it’s more a case of eight shades of grey plus green, white, or dark red. The three extroverted options include Rubellite Red, Emerald Green, and Anthracite Blue. Other options include Black, Obsidian Black, Onyx Black, Cirrus Silver, Graphite Grey, Mojave Silver, Selenite Grey, and designo Diamond White. Only the Diamond White will add to your bill and carries a charge of $795. To be fair to Mercedes, limited color options are par for the course in this segment. Although it seems most unusual on a non-AMG S-Class, Mercedes will let you add a rear spoiler in black or body-color if you want to.
S-Class Sedan Performance
Mercedes launched the S-Class with two powertrain options, both of which send power to the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system via a 9-speed automatic transmission. The S500 uses Merc’s new 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder with mild-hybrid assistance. It produces 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. The claimed figures suggest this model can complete the 0-60 mph sprint in 4.9 seconds.
The second engine option is the well-known 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. It’s a Swiss Army Knife of an engine, being both silent and effortless in its workings. Instead of the usual loud but glorious growl, you get a barely discernible rumble. With specs of 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the S-Class can get to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. In case you think that’s too slow, future AMG variants should be significantly quicker. Both models have a limited top speed of 130 mph.
Engine and Transmission
Both engine choices in the new S-Class provide smooth progress and enough performance. The S500’s 3.0-liter inline-6 turbocharged engine is supplemented by an EQ Boost system with an electric auxiliary compressor. It produces 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque from a usefully low 1,800 rpm. The larger 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbocharged engine in the S580 produces a more substantial 496 hp and 516 lb-ft. Both engines are paired with a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission.
The S500’s silky smooth power delivery is a hallmark of inline-six engines and the EQ Boost system helps to eliminate turbo lag. It suits the personality of the car and will get you around town and onto the highway without any complaints. The S580’s V8 isn’t as loud as some AMG V8s but the rumble under hard acceleration is still a treat. Passing power is utterly effortless in this model and although it isn’t much faster on paper, the mere presence of the added two cylinders gives it a more appealing character.
Handling and Driving Impressions
This is an S-Class, so as we expected, it’s very coddling. But we want to note here that Mercedes did a great job keeping it that way with the huge 21-inch wheels. We’ve said before that even when a company can mute a jolt to the cabin, it doesn’t always mute the sound, especially with low-profile tires. Mercedes may have taken our comments to heart, as this S-Class seems old-school cushy and quiet.
With all that being said, not even Mercedes can hide all of that weight. The S580 comes in at 4,775 pounds, which is less than we would have guessed. Still, in the steering and braking, you can feel the mass of the vehicle, even in the sportier modes that stiffen up the adaptive suspension and tighten up the steering. It feels sportier in S and S+ modes, but we wouldn’t call it “sporty.”
It does feel confident, though. This model has the optional 4.5 degrees of rear-wheel steering, which makes it quicker to change lanes and much quicker to creep out of a crowded parking lot.
And taking a high-speed sweeping expressway cloverleaf shows off how much grip this heavyweight has.
2022 S-Class Sedan Gas Mileage
According to the EPA, the S500 will return 20/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined, making it quite a lot more efficient than its V8-engined sibling. The S580 will manage gas mileage figures of 17/25/20 mpg by comparison. You could argue that it hardly matters on a car that retails for more than $100,000, and you’d be right. The cost of fuel is of little consequence. Having one’s day disrupted by annoying chores does matter, however. Nobody likes the bothersome task of refueling a car, especially S-Class owners who likely have some important meeting to get to. Thankfully, the new S-Class comes with a 22.2-gallon tank. That means you can expect a range of approximately 533 miles for the S500 and 444 miles for the S580.
S-Class Sedan Interior
The interior is arguably the most critical part of any S-Class. That’s where the owner will spend most of their time, so it matters. Mercedes took the S-Class in an entirely new direction, but we’ll get to that in a minute. There are a couple of elements that Mercedes has executed exceedingly well. Material quality is superb, and the seats are sublime. Even from the base Luxury Line model, Mercedes includes active multi-contour front seats with a massaging function. These seats are also heated and ventilated. It’s the cladding that counts the most, however. Unlike a few other high-end Mercs, the S-Class doesn’t do synthetic leather. Every other surface is covered either in real wood or aluminum. What little buttons are left are made from the highest quality soft-touch plastics in the automotive industry. So far, it’s pretty much standard S-Class.
The way you interact with the car is more divisive, however. We can’t even reach a quorum in the office, so we’ll present the argument from both sides. The S has always been a technological masterpiece, showcasing the goodies and gadgets that will eventually filter down to the rest of the range. We’re talking 3D graphics, a digital center console, and an augmented reality head-up display that projects blue lines directly in your line of sight in this latest model. As a technological showcase, the S-Class certainly delivers.
On the flip side, some think Mercedes forgot the definition of luxury. Luxury is not technology, even though it plays a role. Previous models also had screens, digital instrument clusters, and the like, but they were never the main focal point. The tech played second fiddle to the beautifully designed and crafted interior. Here, the tech dominates to the detriment of specific design elements expected in an S-Class. Where’s the analog clock, Mercedes? Why don’t the upper air vents align with the center console? Why does one have to use a screen to set the temperature? Not to mention the sheer amount of smudges when you switch the car off. These are minor niggles that would be acceptable on an A-Class but not so much on a flagship model.
Seating and Interior Space
This is one of the few sedans we’d say can fit five adults comfortably. Even with tall drivers and passengers, the S580 we reviewed has first-class seats. In the front, you get heating, cooling, and massage functions, in addition to 12-way power adjustments with memory. If you can’t find a comfortable position in an S-Class, you’re just shaped wrong.
The space is almost the same in the front and back seats. Front occupants get 42.1 inches of headroom, 41.7 inches of legroom, and almost 60 inches of shoulder room. Back passengers get 39.4 inches of headroom, 43.8 inches of legroom, and 59 inches of shoulder room.
In both rows, everything is stitched beautifully with a diamond pattern while brushed metal controls are integrated. This one also had the head pillows in front and back. We didn’t use them while driving, but when relaxing in the back, they’re great. The S580 can be specced in Executive Line guise which adds massaging rear seats, rear-seat neck heating, and an executive right rear seat that can recline by 43 degrees.
Interior Colors and Materials
As mentioned earlier, Mercedes uses only real cows for the interior. The leather options include standard, Nappa, and Exclusive Nappa. The base and Nappa leather options are available in Black, Sienna Brown/Black, and Macchiato Beige/Magma Grey. Exclusive Nappa leather is also available in the colors mentioned above but adds Silver Grey/Black and Carmine Red/Black. On the S500, Nappa leather carries an additional cost of $2,290 while Exclusive Nappa leather goes for $5,400.
The base Luxury Line specification is available with five interior trims: Slate Poplar wood, Natural Grain Anthracite Fineline wood, Black Piano Lacquer with Flowing Lines, Brown Burl Walnut wood, and Silver Aluminum with Fanned Walnut wood.
The AMG Line drops the brown wood options but adds Black/Silver blended stainless steel. The S580 gets Nappa leather upholstery as standard and carries its own cost if you want to upgrade to Exclusive Nappa leather.
S-Class Sedan Trunk and Cargo Space
These luxury limos may look big from the outside, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a big trunk. Most of the space is used for front and rear passenger comfort. The new Mercedes S-Class has 13.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity, up from the old model’s 12.3 cubes. The rear seats don’t fold forward, but the same can be said of most other competitors in this segment. Still, 12.9 cubes are enough for most occasions. If it’s a deal-breaker, you can always upgrade to the GLS SUV. It has 17.4 cubes with the third row in place and 42.7 cubes in a five-seat configuration.
As you’d expect, interior storage is ample. There are multiple cupholders, cubbies, and hidden spaces to put things.
S-Class Sedan Infotainment and Features
Mercedes had to swap to a digital owner’s manual two generations ago because a book listing all the S-Class’s features would result in an object ten times thicker than the entire Harry Potter collection. Because we don’t want this page to be a mile long, we’ll stick to the essential features that will be used daily. The S500 is equipped with active multi-contour heated and ventilated front seats with massage functon. Those who live in a smoggy city will enjoy the cabin air purification and fragrance system. Rear passengers get power side-window sunshades. A surround-view camera makes parking more effortless, and you can set the mood using the 64-color active ambient lighting system. Dual-zone climate control, power-folding mirrors, soft-close doors, hands-free access, and an illuminated entry system are all included.
The safety specification is just as generous. As standard, the S-Class comes with adaptive cruise control, attention assist, blind-spot monitoring, evasive steering assist, parking sensors, and a surround-view camera system.
The second row can be lavishly trimmed and equipped if you go for the S580. It can be had with individual climate control zones, an executive right rear seat with a reclining function and power footrest, and rear-seat massage.
This is the coolest part of the S580. As we said, the interior space in a Mercedes is more important than the exterior look, and tech is probably the biggest factor in today’s world. The new MBUX screen measures 12.8 inches and uses OLED technology, which is brighter and more colorful than plain old LEDs.
The screen, which comes up from the armrest, features all of the controls including climate, media, and navigation. It all works super fast and it was easy to figure out the main functions (including the ambient lighting). It does require a harder press than you might expect, but we were able to get used to it in a couple of days. Mercedes allows individuals to set up and store their favorite profile, which is very convenient if you aren’t the only driver as it’s easy to instantly call up your preferred seating position, radio settings, and more.
Being an S-Class, all the expected connectivity features are in place, including wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, Bluetooth, and multiple USB-C ports. Listening options include both HD Radio and SiriusXM with a six-month trial subscription. Mercedes also throws in its navigation system with augmented video, along with three years of live traffic information.
The standard Burmester 3D surround sound system includes Frontbass subwoofers and a total of 15 speakers. Sound reproduction is predictably excellent but if it’s not enough, there is an available Burmester high-end 4D surround sound system with 30 speakers and seat-integrated resonators. On the S580, a rear-seat entertainment system, rear wireless headsets, and a rear-cabin MBUX tablet are further options.
S-Class Sedan Problems and Reliability
It’s early days for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but there has been one recall published by the NHTSA for an inaccurate location sent out for emergency services following a crash. This issue has affected just about every model in Merc’s lineup so is not unique to the S-Class.
According to the review conducted by J.D. Power, the 2022 S-Class has an overall rating of 75 out of 100 which isn’t quite as good as the likes of the BMW 7 Series and Porsche Panamera.
Mercedes covers the S-Class with a four-year/50,000-mile limited and powertrain warranty, although there is no complimentary scheduled maintenance.
S-Class Sedan Safety
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has subjected the Mercedes-Benz S-Class to review, and, considering the price, it’s unlikely they ever will. If this is a cause for concern, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan’s endless list of safety features and driver aids should provide some peace of mind.
Key Safety Features
Volvo may have introduced the safety belt, but Mercedes did everything else with the S-Class. The new S-Class doesn’t have a mind-blowing safety feature that can be labeled groundbreaking, but it improves existing drive assistance features. Standard systems include adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, traffic sign assist, active lane keep assist, active lane change assist, emergency stop assist, attention assist, blind-spot monitoring with an exit warning function, evasive steering assist, and upgraded Pre-Safe. A 360-degree camera system is standard. For anyone who isn’t accustomed to parking such a barge, the S-Class boasts front/rear parking sensors and active parking assistance.
The various driver-assist systems are available across a broader range of speeds, and the camera system can identify lanes, other cars, and pedestrians more effectively. In the event of a collision, the S-Class can even detect where it will be hit. The air suspension can raise the car within a few tenths of a second to further reduce direct impact forces.
A system of nine airbags provides 11-way occupant protection and includes side airbags for both rows, along with a driver’s knee airbag.
Verdict: Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan a good Sedan?
If you’re looking for a car in this size, layout, and price range, you’re probably looking for luxury. And if that’s the case, you have to go with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The BMW 7-Series is a little more sporty, while the Audi A8 rides the line between luxury and sport. Like a Cadillac used to, driving an S-Class now says to the world, “I’ve made it.”
Add to that a true luxury ride and enough power to blow by triple digits, and we have a winner here. It’ll take a bit to get used to that tech, but damn if it doesn’t make both short and long drives easier and more entertaining. And if you have a big family, in size, not number, the S-Class will fit the more ample examples of your gene pool, as well as their luggage.
Finally, we have the curb appeal. Does one really need a Maybach when the standard S-Class is so good? We think not, especially as the price difference between the two is about the cost of a well-equipped Corvette. We like the S580, but the S500 is a perfect concession prize.
What’s the Price of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan?
The price of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class range starts at $109,800 for the S500. That price applies to the S500 Luxury Line. If you want the sportier S500 AMG Line, the MSRP rises to $114,100. The more powerful S580 starts at $116,300 for the Luxury Line, increasing to $120,600 for the AMG Line and $131,450 for the Executive Line.
These prices exclude a destination charge of $1,050.
2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Models
There are two engine options and three trim lines for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. In total, there are five models: S500 Luxury Line, S580 Luxury Line, S500 AMG Line, S580 AMG Line, and S580 Executive Line.
Models wearing the 500 badge are powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with mild-hybrid assistance. The 580 models are powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. All models come as standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission and AWD.
All models are equipped with the new digital instrument cluster, augmented reality head-up display, and a digital center console. The Luxury Line comes as standard with heated and ventilated front seats with a massaging function, air purification, illuminated door sills, power rear side sunshades, dual-zone automatic climate control, a surround-view camera, and a 64-color active LED ambient lighting system. The safety package includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and pre-safe.
The AMG Line is more of a style package. It adds a subtle AMG body kit, 19-inch twin five-spoke alloy wheels, AMG floor mats, and brushed stainless steel pedals.
The Executive Line is the one to choose for the ultimate in rear-seat opulence. It adds various rear-seat packages including rear massaging seats, rear-seat heating/ventilation, and an executive right rear seat with a reclining function. Rear-axle steering and four-zone climate control are also included here.
Unlike some other Mercedes models, there are fewer options for the S-Class simply because it is a fully loaded luxury sedan by default. Still, you can add a heated steering wheel on the Luxury Line for $250 or a Burmester high-end 4D surround sound system for $6,730. The only package is the Warmth & Comfort Package at $3,800 which adds power rear outboard seats, heated and ventilated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated armrests. The AMG Line can also be equipped with these options but adds 4.5-degree rear axle steering at $1,300 and the Night Package at $400. The latter consists of 20-inch AMG wheels and gloss black exterior accents.
What Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Model Should I Buy?
Like we said above, we love the I6/48-volt combo, but this is a big car, so we’d start with the S580 with the big V8 and nine-speed automatic for $116,300 (we wouldn’t, but we’re talking hypotheticals here). The AMG Line upgrade is only $4,300, so we’d add that immediately. The colors are on the boring side, so we’d pick the Rubellite Red, which is like a cranberry.
We’ll keep the smaller 19-inch wheels to keep the ride nice, but we will take the Carmine Red leather to match the exterior for $3,110. This automatically adds the Warmth & Comfort Package. The rear-axle steering is a nice feature, but we’d skip that $1,300 charge. That brings us to $128,560 plus destination, for executive-level transportation that will both impress the neighbors and delight the family.
2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan Comparisons
2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan vs BMW 7 Series
This automotive battle has been raging since BMW introduced the first 7 Series in 1977 and it always plays out in the same way. Mercedes-Benz launches the new S-Class, and the 7 Series follows around two years later. The S-Class is the dominant car for those two years, and then the new 7 Series is launched and the battle becomes less one-sided. For the moment, the S-Class is in the lead. The current 7 has been around since 2015, and its age is starting to show.
Traditionally speaking, the 7 Series has always been more of a driver’s car. It’s always slightly more responsive and agile than the Benz. Then again, the S-Class’s ride quality and refinement are class-leading. It now also has a far more extravagant cabin design if you prefer that sort of thing. The BMW is excellent but the Merc has regained a comfortable lead.
2022 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan vs Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan
The recently revised E-Class is better than ever before. For the first time, you can refer to it as a downsized S-Class. Ride quality and overall refinement are sublime. You also get the latest MBUX infotainment system and a generous standard specification list. With the money you save, you can always add more. We’d stay away from the less powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine option and go for the E450. It uses the same inline-six engine with mild-hybrid assistance, albeit detuned to 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Buying an E-Class over an S-Class doesn’t feel like a significant downgrade, and the E is nearly half the price.