- Imperious quality of build and materials
- Some finishes won’t suit all tastes
- Effortless cossetting and easy to use
Those dual 12.3-inch dashboard screens in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class serve a dual purpose. First and foremost they display a vast array of data about how the car’s performing, what you’re listening to and where you’re going.
But beyond that they’re a – slightly showy – reminder of how high-tech this generation of S-Class really is. Somehow a pair of analogue, physical dials, however classy they were, just wouldn’t feel right.
The dashboard arrangement won’t be alien to the majority of recent Mercedes-Benz drivers – in fact, the contemporary E-Class’s interior is similar, if not as opulent.
There’s a range of options when it comes to seats, dashboard coverings and interior design details but all of the materials used feel of particular high quality. Whether you find the finishes and colour schemes classy or chintzy will be a matter of personal taste.
You can personalise yours S-Class’s cabin even further with Mercedes’ Designo service, although such a degree of modification will come at a significant price.
Like on other Mercedes, all of the main functions are operated by the Command Centre controller on the centre console and it doesn’t take long to work out how the system is navigated.
There’s no time required to get comfortable either, the electric adjustment for the seats and steering wheel ensuring any driver can find their perfect position.
Anything to grumble about? We’re nit-picking largely, but the interior door handles are mounted rather low on the door and we found our hands naturally reaching for the seat controls on the top of the door card instead.
Perhaps more significant was the dropping of the steering column-mounted cruise control stalk as part of the 2017 facelift. A Mercedes mainstay for over four decades, newer S-Classes have their cruise controlled by the pads on the steering wheel instead.
- One of the most comfortable cars on sale
- Magic Body Control takes it to another level
- Passengers feel truly cosseted
Comfort: that’s what a luxury limousine such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Saloon should be all about, and it doesn’t disappoint.
With the S-Class it plays out in many ways, not least in its ride quality. Yes, this generation of S-Class feels fractionally firmer than its predecessor, but it’s still without doubt one of the smoothest riding cars you can buy.
Should you seek perfection though, then fear not, Mercedes has the answer. Opt for the Magic Body Control system and the Mercedes becomes even more compliant and level – eerily so.
Mercedes started the development process eight years before this-generation S-Class’s launch in 2013 and it’s the car’s stand-out feature.
Using cameras to read the road ahead it prepares each individual wheel and suspension assembly for every forthcoming surface imperfection. The result is the body stays remarkably flat as the damper takes the strain, and the S-Class effectively steps over anything in its way.
Speed bumps that would normally require a crawl to traverse disappear at speeds of around 25mph and the system will continue to work its magic on less extreme changes in the tarmac past the UK legal limit. It’s slightly otherworldly and by far one of the most exciting automotive developments we’ve ever experienced.
All of the seats are comfortable, but it’s the rearmost pair in the long wheelbase and Maybach models that impress the most. With the Executive seat option the rear bench can recline by up to 43.5 degrees – the most of any car in the sector – and combined with the adjustable under thigh support, super-soft headrest cushions and front passenger seat that slides neatly forwards while revealing its heel support platform, it proves more comfortable than a modern first class airline seat.
Like the front seats, the rears also provide a choice of massage settings including two new hot-stone functions that are incredibly relaxing. The seats are optionally cooled too, while there’s even the ability to heat the armrests as well as the seats themselves.