First Drive: The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan

It’s the little issues: the texture of the buttons on the steering wheel, the way in which the dashboard inlays wrap round onto the doorways, and even the refined tempo of the cup holder cowl sliding closed. Luxurious lives within the particulars, and the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan is a grasp class in bijou refinement.


After all, the German automaker’s flagship mannequin will get the large issues proper as effectively. Driving or using within the S-Class is a chic, flowing expertise. The cabin is lavish whereas the outside’s swooping traces declare its opulence with out pretension.

That is the seventh iteration of the S-Class because it was launched in 1972. Lengthy a benchmark within the full-sized luxurious sedan section, the 2021 mannequin raises the bar not solely when it comes to match and end, however for facilities and efficiency as effectively.

A Motoring Oasis

Contained in the beautiful and remarkably quiet cabin, Mercedes has created an indulgent, lounge-like expertise. All 4 power-adjustable reclining seats within the S-Class are among the many poshest we’ve had the privilege of sitting in. The non-compulsory therapeutic massage function is superb. Actually, on a number of events throughout our week-long check of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (a well-optioned S580 to be exact), we lingered within the driveway to take advantage of these massaging seats, which function 10 totally different packages.

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Within the again, there’s loads of room to sprawl out. The rear passenger seats are akin to a swanky business-class airline suite, although they don’t lay flat. The knees of a six-foot tall rider within the again will come nowhere near the seat again of a driver of comparable peak. All 4 headrests embody pillows, which look relatively incongruous with the inside’s general aesthetic. However they’re comfortable and provides your neck a little bit of respite on the street.

On your ears, the non-compulsory Burmester 4D stereo system kicks out the jams with 30 audio system. There’s additionally subwoofers and resonators constructed into the seats. You’ll undoubtedly wish to choose that improve when constructing your personal S-Class.

The brand new S-Class additionally makes use of the stereo to supply an “Energizing Consolation” program. For the uninitiated, the system makes use of sound, mild, temperature, vibrations, and therapeutic massage to set a spa-like temper. Whereas that will sound a bit hokey, take it from us—it’s fairly efficient at relieving stress or serving to you regain a little bit of focus.

On the Highway

As quickly because the retractable door handles greet your key fob, you already know you’re in for a deal with. The S-Class is available in two powertrains, a 429-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6 or a 496-horsepower twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 within the S500 and the S580, respectively. Every will get a lift from a 48-volt hybrid system (referred to as EQ Increase). They’re additionally paired with a nine-speed automated transmission and an Airmatic air suspension.

A white 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan driving on a road
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The S580 we examined was a lot fast, attending to 60 mph in four-ish seconds—not a significant shock from a Mercedes V8. But it surely’s extremely responsive for a automotive of its dimension. The S-Class is what we used to name a land yacht: It’s large. At 208.2 inches, it’s greater than three inches longer than the Mercedes GLS full-size SUV (and it barely slot in our storage). Even so, it manages to really feel a lot smaller on the street and drives nimbly each on the freeway and round city.


The cockpit centerpiece is the 12.3-inch OLED touchscreen pill that gives an interface with the software program that runs the automotive, which the corporate calls Mercedes-Benz Person Expertise (MBUX). From right here you’ll be able to function the 3D navigation and management a lot of the automotive’s settings and options.

It’s a slick and intuitive system, although the shortage of fast buttons to entry ceaselessly used packages is a bit annoying. If you wish to toggle between the nav and Apple CarPlay, you need to use the house button and navigate from there. House owners may also say “Hey Mercedes” to enter voice instructions. You possibly can even ask the S-Class what it thinks about some of its German rivals. (Gauntlet thrown, Audi!)

The steering wheel and digital gauge cluster on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan
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The driving force additionally will get a 3D instrument gauge cluster with with two eye-tracking cameras. Some might discover it wonky, however we favored it. These fortunate sufficient to search out themselves behind the wheel additionally get a large heads-up show. It’s truly so massive and supplies a lot data, together with augmented actuality navigation indicators, that it takes somewhat acclimation to get it to fade into the background whereas driving.

The MBUX permits homeowners to arrange seven private driver profiles, every with as much as 800 parameters. They will then be chosen utilizing a dash-mounted biometric fingerprint sensor or by facial or voice recognition.

A grey 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan driving, seen from the rear
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In case you’re going to be shuttling round babies (or hiring a chauffeur to ease your commute), Mercedes presents an non-compulsory rear-seat leisure system with a pair of 11.6-inch screens. Additionally non-compulsory within the again: rear seat airbags mounted at the back of the entrance seats, an industry-first.

All in all, the 2021 S-Class achieves a brand new degree of opulence. However that’s precisely what we’ve come to anticipate from the Stuttgart normal bearer: Mercedes-Benz chases perfection and luxurious within the particulars.

[Starting at $109,800;]

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