Car Review: 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is luxury redefined

Brian Armstead, special contributor

While many automobile manufacturers are focused on the ever-hot sport utility vehicle market, Mercedes-Benz included, this iconic German brand has also retooled and reset the luxury sedan market with its all-new S-Class.

So instead of abandoning sedans, Mercedes-Benz has made each of its sedan offerings class leaders in terms of luxury, technology, safety and build quality. From the A, C and E-Class sedans, to the new S-Class and Maybach S-Class, Mercedes is all-in on this segment of the market, correctly understanding that not every consumer wants or needs a sport-Ute.


S-Class styling is handsomely evolutionary. The new model features a short front overhang, longer wheelbase and a proportionally balanced rear overhang. Along the sides, seamless door handles extend when the key fob is sensed and you approach the vehicle.


With the goal of making the S-Class one of the best luxury sedans in the world, it’s no surprise that inside the new model, no matter if you are driver or passenger, is a very good place to be. The list of standard and available interior luxury and convenience accouterments is both long and impressive.

Powertrain and driving experience

Two powertrains are available. S500 models get a 3.0-liter inline V6 turbo engine with EQ Boost and an electric auxiliary compressor that outputs 429 horsepower and 384 pound-foot of torque. The EQ Boost mild hybrid system adds up to 21 hp and up to an additional 184 pound-foot of torque.

S580 models get a bi-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine with EQ Boost. Output is 496 horsepower and 516 pound-foot of torque. EQ Boost adds up to 20 hp and 184 pound-foot of torque. 4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard on both models.

Cost: Mercedes-Benz S500 4MATIC — $111,100 / S580 4MATIC Sedan — $117,700. The destination charge is $1,050.

MPG: Up to 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway depending on trim.

Safety: Mercedes-Benz products are built with consumer and pedestrian safety in mind. The new S-Class continues the high safety standards with a long list of standard and optional safety features.

Things to know: Optional rear-axle steering gives the S-Class the maneuverability of a compact car in the city. The instrument cluster features 3D navigation with augmented reality.


  • More than 50 electronic components in the new S-Class can be updated with new software over-the-air (OTA). This technology saves the customer time, as the customer no longer needs to visit a dealership for these updates.
  • The interior is super roomy for front and rear-seat occupants.
  • Acceleration is sports-car fast as both trims offer 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds.


  • Cost will be prohibitive for many.
  • This is a very complex car. Maintenance costs are high for S-Class models.
  • Historically, resale value for German luxury sedans is lower than its Japanese counterparts.


Contributor Brian Armstead is a North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) Juror with over 45 years of radio, television, print and Web experience.

He is president emeritus of the Washington Automotive Press Association, WAPA.

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