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Expert Rating

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

(2020 – present)

Expert Rating

New car score:

64
%
B

Used car score:

54
%
D

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

87
%
A

Safety Rating:

-

Eco Rating:

67
%
A

Reliability Rating:

36
%
E

Running Costs:

34
%
E

How are our Expert Rating scores calculated?

Expert Rating

New car score:

64
%
B

Used car score:

54
%
D

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

87
%
A

Safety Rating:

-

Eco Rating:

67
%
A

Reliability Rating:

36
%
E

Running Costs:

34
%
E

Summary


The Mercedes-Benz S-Class dates back to 1972 and has long been the benchmark big executive saloon, debuting such innovations as anti-lock brakes and automotive double glazing. But deadly rival BMW has been trying very hard to catch up with and the most recent 7 Series has raised its technology game. So the seventh-generation S-Class, only reaching buyers in 2021, has to stay ahead.

Generally reviewers believe that it does, Auto Trader commenting that the new model “takes technology and interiors to a new level entirely and stretches the lead between the S-Class and its rivals.”

There is a wide choice of models – the range stretches across two body lengths, three trim levels, two diesel and one petrol engine with power outputs from 286 to 435hp and four-wheel-drive on one of the diesels. A plug-in hybrid version is also due on sale before the end of 2021.

This market is all about refinement, comfort and technology and testers reckon the S-Class meets the challenge. “Even the entry-level AMG Line model is well equipped,” says Parkers, “with 19-inch wheels, air suspension with self-levelling, keyless go with seamless door handles, intelligent LED headlights, a parking package with reversing camera and power-closing doors and bootlid.” The review adds that dip into the options list “and the sky’s the limit.”

The technology particularly impresses, Top Gear highlighting the autonomy that among many features can allow the car to both find a parking space and park itself.  

Most of the minus marks are minor niggles, Top Gear again suggesting the exterior design may be too cautious and some of the materials used “a touch showy.” And Auto Express adds that a 3D augmented reality display in the cabin “is gimmicky.”

As of January 2024, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class holds a New Car Expert Rating of B, with a score of 64%. It has been well received by the motoring media, but reliability issues and high running costs drag the overall score down.

S-Class highlights

  • Refinement
  • Technology levels
  • Two body lengths
  • Good standard equipment levels

S-Class lowlights

  • Dull exterior
  • Fussy interior
  • Over-showy use of materials
  • Options list can seriously boost cost

Key specifications


Body style: Large saloon
Engines: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid
Price: From £86,145 on-road

Launched: Autumn 2020
Last updated: Summer 2021
Replacement due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Auto Express

+

Auto Trader

+

Autocar

+

Business Car

+

Car

+

Carbuyer

+

Carwow

+

Daily Mail

+

Driving Electric

+

Evo

+

Heycar

+

Honest John

+

Motoring Research

+

Motors.co.uk

+

Parkers

+

The Intercooler

+

The Sunday Times

+

The Telegraph

+

Top Gear

+

What Car?

+

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

No safety rating

As of January 2024, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has not been crash tested by Euro NCAP.

Eco rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

No eco rating

As of January 2024, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has not been lab tested by Green NCAP.

Reliability rating

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Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

All data based on MotorEasy average workshop costs for extended car warranty claims

As of January 2024, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a poor reliability rating of 38%, according to workshop and warranty data provided exclusively to The Car Expert by our commercial partner, MotorEasy. This score applies to both the current S-Class and also to previous generations, which is worth considering if you are considering a used Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Based on more than 200 warranty claims, the average repair cost is just under £1,000 so a used car warranty is well worth considering if you own or are considering an S-Class. The largest number of claims concern the electrical system, with an average bill of almost £500. Engine faults are unsurprisingly the most expensive problems – at about £2,200 – and are also relatively common in the S-Class.

If you own a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or are considering buying a used one, make sure that any used car warranty you purchase covers all of these problem areas.

Running cost rating

Clear Vehicle Data logo close crop

Monthly cost of ownership data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by Clear Vehicle Data

Fuel consumptionAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models33 mpgE31 – 35 mpgD – E
Diesel models40 mpgD38 – 43 mpgC – D
Plug-in hybrid models403 mpgA353 – 404 mpgA – A
CO₂ outputAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models195 g/kmD184 – 273 g/kmC – D
Diesel models184 g/kmC173 – 196 g/kmC – D
Plug-in hybrid models16 g/kmA16 – 58 g/kmA – A
Battery rangeAverageScoreVariationScore
Plug-in hybrid models67 milesC25 – 68 milesC – E
Insurance groupAverageScoreVariationScore
All models50F47 – 50D – F
Service and maintenanceCostScore
Year 1£437D
Year 2£1,061D
Year 3£1,686D
Year 4£2,054D
Year 5£2,738D
Overall£7,976D

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a very expensive car to run, according to numbers provided exclusively to The Car Expert by our data partner, Clear Vehicle Data.

Fuel consumption is unsurprisingly very poor for both petrol and diesel models. The plug-in hybrid stats look good on paper, but this is largely a function of misleading EU/UK government lab tests that make every plug-in hybrid look amazing. There are no real-world situations where you’re going to get 403 miles out of a single gallon (4.5 litres) of fuel and a bit of electricity.

Battery range on the plug-in hybrid is quite good. If you are able to charge it every day, you may well be able to do all of your day-to-day driving purely on electrical power. On longer trips, you’ll still run out of charge fairly quickly.

Insurance and scheduled servicing costs for the S-Class are likely to be high, which is to be expected from a car this expensive and sophisticated.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has received

2022

  • Fleet World Awards – Best Luxury Car

2021

  • World Car Awards – World Luxury Car
  • Parkers New Car Awards – Best Luxury Car
  • Fleet World Awards – Best Luxury Car

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Audi A8 | Bentley Flying Spur | BMW 7 Series | Lexus LS | Maserati Quattroporte | Range Rover | Rolls-Royce Ghost | Rolls-Royce Wraith

The long-lasting reputation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has also meant it has few real rivals, but technology upgrades to the BMW 7 Series have made the most recent versions more competitive alternatives to the Merc. The Audi A8 is also a rival but without the provenance of its fellow German heavyweights, while the likes of Range Rover also target the big Mercedes.

If a badge matters then the Bentley Flying Spur or even the Rolls-Royce Ghost will be very tempting, at a cost.


More news, reviews and information about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class at The Car Expert

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Just when rivals thought they had caught up to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, an all-new model arrives to raise the bar once again.Mercedes-Benz S-Class