Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
In the world of high-end luxury sedans, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class reigns supreme. Its status and image are surpassed only by its granite-like build and ridiculously long list of features and options. When you want to arrive to impress, the S-Class is the sedan to be seen in.
You'll Like The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class If...
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class exudes the same sense of style as a fine Brioni tuxedo on the red carpet. The S-Class’ style and luxury complement its athletic abilities, making it one of the few large luxury sedans that is as enjoyable to be chauffeured in as it is to drive.
You May Not Like The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class If...
While the 2013 S-Class sedan’s luxury credentials are not in question, its conservative styling may appear more investment banker than young entrepreneur. A more exotic Maserati Quattroporte, or even the Audi S8 or Porsche Panamera, might feel a little more youthful.
Changes for the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class are minor and include the addition of the Premium 2 package (PARKTRONIC park assist, KEYLESS GO, rearview camera, Active multicontour front seat with massage) to the S350 BlueTEC 4Matic, S00 Hybrid and S550.
Following the tradition of the great European sedans, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior is a study in reserved elegance and clean design. Seating in the S-Class provides exceptional head-, hip- and legroom plus nearly prefect seating positions and ergonomics. If you can’t get comfortable in an S-Class, you should take up walking. Technology is the buzzword for the S-Class interior, with such interesting features as an available Splitview display that allows the driver to view one source, such as navigation, while the passenger can enjoy another, such as a DVD movie. Rear-seat passengers can enjoy a host of amenities, including DVD entertainment and climate and audio controls.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is little changed from last year, retaining its athletic bulging fenders, graceful arching beltline and aero grille with stand-up hood ornament. LED-style daytime running lights (DRL) line the lower half of the headlamps, while integrated turn signals reside outside the side mirrors. Toward the rear, there is a slight hint of BMW in the raised bustle-style trunk lid, but the horizontal-striped taillights are pure Mercedes-Benz. The S400 Hybrid and S350 BlueTEC trims wear additional badging to set them apart from the V8 trim levels.
When driving Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class for 2013, one experiences two very distinct personalities. On the one hand, the S-Class is a surprisingly agile automobile, contradicting its enormous size with a highly responsive chassis and such clever electronic assists as MB’s Active Body Control. On the flip side, there is the passenger experience which, for some owners, means they experience the S-Class only from the back seat. The S-Class sedan floats over road imperfections and cocoons its occupants from nearly all external noise. The 4.6-liter V8 is silky-smooth, delivering its 429 horsepower through a recently improved 7-speed automatic transmission. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive system (AWD) is standard on the S350 BlueTEC, which offers better fuel economy and acceleration than the S400 Hybrid. Those who equate performance with prowess will likely enjoy the S600’s V12 engine or, better still, the 4.3-second zero-to-60-mph run and 186-mph top speed of the S65 AMG.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2013 Mercedes Benz S-Class ranges from around $96,000 for the S550 to over $210,000 for the S65 AMG. The S400 Hybrid starts around $93,000, while the S350 BlueTEC begins closer to $94,000. To ensure that you get the best price on your Mercedes-Benz S-Class, be sure to check out KBB’s Fair Purchase Price, which shows you what consumers in your area are currently paying for theirs. The closest competitor to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is another prolific flagship automobile: the BMW 7 Series. The 7 Series is more of a driver’s car than the S550, but does not offer quite the same level of elegance or prestige. And Audi’s A8 and S8 probably take top honors for most impressive interior design. For that extra boost in status, the S550 starts at about $9,000 over the 7 Series and A8. When it comes to residuals, however, the 7 Series is the winner in the long run, with the Audi A8 a close second, staying just above the S-Class over time.
The roster of notable standard equipment for the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan begins with Mercedes’ COMAND multi-media interface with CD/DVD player, SD card slot and USB interface. Music is piped in via 14 speakers wired to a 600-watt harman/kardon Surround Sound system. Seats are covered in rich leather, and the automatic climate control includes separate settings for the front foot-well area. Standard safety features include Attention Assist, which monitors driver alertness; Torque Vectoring Brake, which initiates rear-wheel braking for greater stability through corners; a Pre-Safe pre-collision system; and a knee airbag for the driver. The S400 features a hybrid gauge and an animated flow-of-power graphic display.
The Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan has an enormous list of optional equipment and features, many of which fall under the category of Assistance Systems, high-tech driver aids that primarily have a focus on safety. There’s Speed Limit Assist, which recognizes speed-limit signs and alerts the driver of the posted miles per hour. Crosswind stabilization counters the effects of gusty weather and helps keep the car on its intended path. Night View Assist Plus spots pedestrians in low-light situations, and radar-based Distronic Plus Adaptive Cruise Control helps maintain a safe distance with traffic ahead. This sedan is nothing short of a technological showcase and masterpiece.
ACTIVE BODY CONTROL (ABC) WITH CROSSWIND STABILIZATIONThe 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan’s active suspension continually adjusts to the irregularities of the road, allowing the S-Class to optimize driving dynamics while offering an unprecedented level of ride quality. Crosswind stabilization adds further balance to the car by distributing wheel loads to maintain directional stability through strong lateral wind gusts.SPLITVIEWLocated atop the 2013 S-Class’ center stack, this innovative dual-screen interface allows the driver and front passenger to view different content at the same time. For example, the front passenger can watch a movie while the driver uses the navigation system.
Under the Hood
For 2013, the Mercedes Benz S-Class sedans offer the broadest range of power, performance and fuel economy to date. The S550 will, to many, be the most appealing of the model line due to its smooth and strong 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged gasoline direct-injection V8, yielding 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, and its lower price; it’s neither under- nor overpowered. The S600 and the AMG models can be a bit overwhelming, while the S400 Hybrid feels somewhat labored during harder acceleration. A nice middle ground is the S350 BlueTEC, which features a V6 turbodiesel with 455 lb-ft of torque and an impressive 31-mpg highway fuel-economy rating. For those who prefer an eco-friendlier alternative, they should opt for the S400 Hybrid, but expect a significant compromise to performance.3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6240 horsepower @ 3,600 rpm455 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-2,400 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg3.5-liter V6 mild hybrid295 horsepower (net) @ 6,000 rpm284 lb-ft of torque (net) @ 2,400-5,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25 mpg4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8429 horsepower at 5,250 rpm516 lb-ft of torque at 1,800-3,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/25 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 15/24 mpg (AWD)5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V12510 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm612 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-3,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8536 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm563 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (optional Performance Package)590 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm664 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm (optional Performance Package)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12621 horsepower @ 4,800 rpm738 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg
For 2013, the Mercedes-Benz S Class sedan continues to redefine the meaning of motorized transportation, elevating the automobile to the type of status symbol more commonly reserved for vintage works of art or designer labels. As one would expect of a luxury leader, the S-Class is offered in a variety of flavors, beginning with the entry-level S550. From there, the choices include the V12-powered S600, the clean-diesel S350 BlueTEC and the environmentally conscious S400 Hybrid. Leaving environmental concerns aside, the S-Class offers two very potent AMG models: the S63 and S65. No matter which S-Class you choose, you’ll be getting a car that is the epitome of performance, comfort, safety and technology. And, with a starting price of over $90,000, why would you expect anything less.