2016 S-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the flagship of the brand and encompasses a range of models and body styles. For 2016, a convertible has been added, the Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet featuring a three-layer fabric top and a sophisticated climate-control system.
For 2015, a new S-Class Coupe joined the lineup, available as an S550 4MATIC Coupe or as an S63 AMG or S65 AMG. 2015 also brought the top-of-the-line Mercedes-Maybach S600, powered by a V12 engine, and the S550e plug-in hybrid.
Anchoring the S-Class is a range of sedans, including the S550 and S550 4MATIC, the S600, and two AMG versions. This sixth-generation S-Class was introduced for the 2014 model year.
The S-Class Coupe looks bold, with a dashing profile and unique roofline but with familiar detailing. The coupe's arching character lines look crisper than those of the sedan. A broader, more upright grille is complemented by angular full-LED headlights and big air intakes.
Gas-engine S-Class models have a choice of two V8s and a V12. S550 models hold a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V8 that makes 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, teamed to a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Sedans can be rear- or all-wheel drive (4MATIC) for sedans, while coupes are AWD-only.
With a standard air suspension, the S550 is an effortless performer.
High-performance AMG editions come in two levels: S63 with a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, developing 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque; and S65 with a twin-turbo V12 that generates 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet.
A 6.0-liter V12 goes into the S600 sedan, as well as the new, even more costly, Mercedes-Maybach S600, which flaunts an opulent appearance to rival Rolls-Royce. Measuring eight inches longer, the Maybach features a limousine-level cabin.
Finally, the new S550e Plug-In Hybrid can travel up to 12 miles in all-electric mode, then becomes a conventional hybrid. An 85-kW electric motor works with a 3.0-liter V6 gas engine, for combined output of 436 horsepower. Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 26 mpg Combined, yet an S550e can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Available advanced active-safety systems include adaptive brake lights, night vision with obstacle/pedestrian detection, lead/following cruise control, forward collision alert with automatic braking, lane-keeping assist, and Active Parking Assist. An available camera predicts the road surface ahead, providing almost magical adaptive control over ride quality.
S550 Sedan ($95,650) gets the 4.7-liter V8 and rear-wheel drive. Standard features include leather upholstery, power front seats, 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio, HD and satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and an SD card slot. Navigation includes dedicated music storage space.
S550 4MATIC Sedan ($98,650) is all-wheel drive.
S550 4MATIC Coupe ($121,550) is the two-door version of the S550 4MATIC.
S550e Plug-In Hybrid Sedan ($95,650) contains a gasoline/electric powertrain with 3.0-liter V6 and rear-wheel drive.
S600 Sedan ($169,050) moves up to the 6.0-liter V12, with rear- wheel drive.
Mercedes-Maybach S600 Sedan ($189,350) is the pinnacle of poshness, with the 6.0-liter V12 and rear-drive.
S63 AMG 4MATIC Sedan ($143,250) has all-wheel drive and the 577-horsepower, 5.5-liter V8. S63 AMG 4MATIC Coupe ($163,150) is the two-door version of the S63 AMG sedan.
S65 AMG Sedan ($224,650) has a 621-horsepower, 6.0-liter V12 and rear-wheel drive S65 AMG Coupe ($234,050) is the two-door version of the S65 AMG sedan. S65 AMG Cabriolet has the 6.0-liter V12 and a convertible top.