2007 MercedesBenz SClass Consumer Reviews | New MercedesBenz…

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

New S550: once again the top of the heap?

by mkaresh: Feb 18, 2006 Updated Dec 16, 2006

Recommended: Yes

Features, performance, handles a smaller sedan, ride exquisite workmanship

Cons: controls, overly trendy somewhat artless interior

in the early 1980s the big Mercedes was acknowledged to be the best sedan A Rolls was more expensive, and had a interior, but was technologically antiquated. Few the BMW 7-Series seriously; that was mostly known for the 3-Series. emerged as a styling leader, but its top were powered by five-cylinder Jaguars were known for unreliability, and were nearly as far the technological curve as Olds. And the makers? Right.

The late-1980s mounted the first serious to the S-Class. In response, Mercedes a thoroughly redesigned, tank-like whose size, power, and feature list put it out of synch those recessionary times. criticized for being too big and simply too Mercedes redesigned the car to appear in the mid-1990s, and then replaced it a trimmer, much more styled model in 2000.

I liked the trimmer, sleeker sedan. But it was once again out of with where the market was In 2002 BMW introduced an overwrought, new 7-Series, and Audi followed a more stylish yet almost gadget-laden new A8. Compared to these the big Mercedes seemed plain, backward, and simply less Though criticized for its iDrive system and frumpy styling, the new 7 was copied by other manufacturers and the S-Class in sales.

We now have response, the ninth-generation 2007 I like to evaluate this of car with my father, as he unlike me is the consumer, so the first time he, I, and the new were in the same place we a test drive.


To my the previous S-Class was the most luxury sedan on the market. I liked the graceful arch extended the length of the bodyside. the market wanted something or at least Mercedes thought it The car’s fuselage remains styled; subtle surfacing its height. But the rear end is patterned the fussily styled Maybach sedan, and thus also resembles that of the 7, while bulges adorn the wheel (Come to think of it—the bodysides are also much those of Mazda’s sports The wheel bulges strike me as an trendy touch. The rear one in appears tacked-on. They suit such a large, sedan—is it pretending to be a sports will they stand the of time. Past Mercedes have been touted for timelessness. The new styling is anything It will age quickly.

Ironically, the front end—where first broke with its of non-trendy styling with the E-Class—is the most conventional and forgettable aspect of the car. You you’re looking at a Mercedes, which is the main task it must accomplish.

The interior is in leather, finely crafted and premium polymers, but to my eye generally style. The influence of the BMW 7-Series is apparent in the horizontal emphasis of the panel’s design and in the use of a column-mounted shifter. What’s next, a split bench? An American could never get away something as unsporting as this. the steering wheel hub and the wood that spans the dash a vague T shape that nothing for me. The basic design would not be out of place in a Chevy or Toyota Camry.

The binnacle for the nav screen has been integrated the overall design a bit better that in the 7, but not as well as those in the 5 and the premium sedans. Integrated is too strong a word.

Unlike in the the lower part of the center is not trimmed in wood—or in anything, for matter. I recently criticized a design in the Hyundai Azera for too large an expanse of plain front and center. In the Mercedes the is of a considerably higher grade. But why the center stack cleanly into the center console? It to be only hopeless American car that seemed to join the console and the instrument panel as an

In the end, I found only one artful part of the interior: the chrome framed analog that sits in the middle of the panel.

This said, I many people will the new S because of the artlessness of its interior To begin with, the materials and are first rate, with trimmed wood, solid control surrounds, and ambient strips running the perimeter. The sunglass holder even has a cover—every other I’ve is simply hard plastic. a mediocre design and execute it the finest workmanship, exquisite and premium materials and it almost good. It’s the Toyota squared.

But more than this are just so many controls and sprinkled about that the are overwhelmed. With so much to it’s not easy to attend to the design.

The big BMW is much the same So if you want tasteful, thoroughly styling inside and out, large, semi-affordable luxury the Audi A8 is pretty much only choice.


I out in the rear seat. Getting in, I an abundance of legroom. Then my and the salesperson positioned the front where they were comfortable—and rear legroom by a good half-foot. Mercedes appear to have plans to the short wheelbase version of the new S in the but it would usefully fill a gap in interior space between the E and the long wheelbase car. For my this much rarely space seemed excessive. prefer a merely spacious seat in a tidier exterior.

The seat itself is comfortably and high enough off the floor to good thigh support—especially even very tall can stretch their legs out. The car we drove lacked the seat package, which a number of power adjustments, lumbar, as well as heating and

In front I found just as room and a very large We drove an Audi A6 afterwards, and its look downright tiny in Both front and rear the aren’t as rock hard as seats used to be, but they’re firmer than most. I did not the front seats as comfortably as those in the big BMW. While length is adjustable, lumbar adjusts in and out.

For additional a somewhat better shape, and lateral support I’d the optional multicontour seats. also automatically inflate the bolster for additional support in and have a massage feature. compared to these very seats, though, BMW’s seats are better.

The driving falls between that of the S-Class, where you sat well the instrument panel, and the big BMW. So the forward is more open I expected given the imposing panel. The view rearward is open owing to a high and thick pillars, but both detection and a rearview camera are

Mercedes touts an enlarged but at 16 cubic feet it is still about average for the class. serviceable, but hardly worth about. As in other cars in class, the rear seat not fold; unlike in others, a does not appear to be available. In the favor, there are some compartments beneath its floor.

has scattered a large number of storage compartments throughout the even under the front armrests and beneath each seat. You should be able to a place to tuck just everything.


The iDrive-like supposedly minimizes the number of However, it seems that engineers took advantage of the opened up by adding buttons for I’ve personally never considered. Want to adjust the seat using controls on the door? Want to lower the rear window from the rear seat, or vice-versa? now you can do these things, and much, more. At least all of the shiny buttons feel of very quality.

I am very happy to see at two buttons. Unlike in the Audi A8 and STS, you don’t have to through the on-screen menus to between comfort and sport There’s still a handy provides for this. The lumbar are made through the iDrive-like but at least there is a dedicated for summoning up the appropriate screen.

I was not to test the latest gee-whiz Night assist was on the car, but we it during the daytime. In this the headlights project infrared in addition to the normal sort. An video camera reads the which are then displayed in a black-and-white image in the same that the speedometer dial resides. So that you’ll know how fast you’re the speedometer takes the form of a bar the night assist image. it amazing what you can do with a display? The regular speedometer is a convincing representation of an actual non-existent needle and all.

plus, which was not on the car, upon previous adaptive control systems by working at all even in stop-and-go traffic, and by hitting the brakes when it an impeding collision.

On the Road

Like the car itself, the of the previous S-Class was out of step the times. Fitted with a overhead cam per bank and three per cylinder to minimize emissions, it match the power-per-liter of the competition’s four-valve mills. The 5.0-liter put out 302 horsepower. Not shabby, but Audi’s 4.2 and 4.4 were more powerful their smaller size.

The new sees the first use of Mercedes’ all-new V8. With dual cames and four variably valves and 5.5 liters of displacement, it out 382 horsepower. BMW went to a 4.6 for 2006, but it out only 360 horses despite a throttle-less control system.

the new S weighs 4,500 pounds, the new accelerates it effortlessly at any semi-legal Merecedes claims the car can get to sixty in 5.4 Equally noteworthy, the new engine is smoother and quieter than the old and what noise it does is considerably more sophisticated. with the pedal to the floor the power peak it’s to turn to the front passenger and remark, Can you believe the engine is 5,500 RPM? Lexus well have been the in this regard, though the BMW in the 5 and 7 is similarly smooth and quiet. The V8 lags the other two in terms of midrange thrust and refinement.

The is Mercedes’ seven-speed manually-shiftable In even moderately aggressive shifts can be abrupt or include with a bit of lurching. Easing off the after a putting it to the floor was difficult to smoothly accomplish. give the unit the benefit of the and assume it had been confused by a number of different drivers, and settle down once it had a particular driver’s style.

economy, at 16/24, is a bit lower that of most competitors but marginally acceptable.

The steering loose and numb at parking lot and like that of other sedans never feels tight on-center, but once out of the lot feels nicely weighted and Underway, the 205-inch-long sedan and handles like a much car. Though not quite as as the 7-Series—it reacts a bit more and doesn’t feel quite as big Benz has none of the boat-like of the big Audi. Lean in turns between minimal and moderate.

Like that of the previous S-Class, the standard suspension semi-active air springs with shocks. Driving the car in both and sport modes, I could very little difference the two. A smidge of squish the steering wheel is first in comfort, and slightly quicker in sport. But if pressed I don’t I could tell them in a blind test. Maybe on a challenging road or the track? I drove the 2001 I noted a difference among its three than two) modes.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

For top-notch handling, an optional Body Control system high-pressure hydraulics to virtually roll in turns. This is not yet available on the new S550.

Even in ride comfort is excellent. and bumps are almost entirely and the bump thump that has afflicted Mercedes is nearly Aided by laminated side noise levels remain low even at highway speeds. Yet you feel totally isolated what is going on, as you can in a Lexus. there’s still the slightest of precision machinery at work.

In the Audi A6 4.2 we drove afterwards was and rode roughly. True, the is nearly twice as expensive, but in for the extra cash you’re getting a much higher of car.

Mercedes-Benz S550 Comparisons and Pricing

The two most comparisons (base to base, rebates, adjusted for feature

BMW 750Li: $6,800 less at $7,800 less at invoice Premium Sound).

Lexus LS 430 18s): $23,300 less at $25,200 less at invoice. the Lexus to the standard feature of the Mercedes, and the difference drops to at MSRP and $21,600 at invoice—like luxury brands, Lexus dearly for options.

Prices frequently, and differences will based on feature level. To generate these and other with the specific features you visit my Web site, www.truedelta.com. the only site that true apples-to-apples price

TrueDelta’s page for the Mercedes


Last Words

I don’t care for the new styling, I admire the new S-Class’ workmanship, list, and all-around excellent The Audi is prettier, but does not handle, or ride nearly as The BMW 7-Series is a much close and offers more comfortable and sportier handling, but cannot match the big Benz for ride interior space, or features. So the new S-Class isn’t far and away the luxury sedan, it can without too argument reclaim this

That said, a new large is coming this fall. the car my father is truly looking to. I’ll post a review as as we can get our hands on one.

Mercedes Reliability

With so many features, will the new S-Class Mercedes’ currently poor for reliability? Quite likely, I’d be happy to be proved

My website, www.truedelta.com, recently collecting reliability data. once they are available, be posted to my site, www.truedelta.com, updates every three

Unlike other sources, will clearly identify difference it will make if you buy an rather than another by providing times in the shop and in the shop stats (among You will be able to specify the of years, annual miles, and of repairs to include in Merecedes reliability comparisons.

Before I can results, I need data on all just the S-Class—from people you. To encourage participation, who help provide the data receive free access to the reliability information. For non-participants, access will cost

For the details, and to sign up, visit

A link to this website and links to my other vehicle can be found on my profile page .

If an Epinions member, and you want to an email when I post a new click here.

Some of my of related vehicles:

Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class


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