What kind of car is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class? What does it compare to?
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship is a sedan, coupe, and convertible that combine to set the industry standard for luxury and sophistication. It’s a powerful, tech-rich, and endlessly comfortable car that competes against the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, and Lexus LS.
Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class a good car?
Review continues below
The S-Class represents the pinnacle of automotive art, with a smooth and quiet ride, effortless power, coddling luxury, and the latest in technology. We rate it a 7.6 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What’s new for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class?
Mercedes splits the S-Class lineup for 2021, with a redesigned sedan and carryover coupe and convertible body styles. The change means no AMG or Maybach sedan models this year.
The new S-Class sedan grows inside and out with more length, a wider wheelbase, wider track, and slightly taller height. The changes give it more head room up front, more leg room in the rear, and a larger trunk.
S-Class sedan engine choices are reduced to two. The S500 4Matic has a 429-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6, while the S580 4Matic’s twin-turbo V-8 produces 496 hp. Both use a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that adds up to 21 hp and 184-lb-ft-feet of torque.
A standard air suspension carries over, as do adaptive dampers, and the 2021 S-Class sedan is now offered with a rear-axle steering system that can turn the rear wheels up to 10 degrees opposite of the fronts to reduce the turning radius to that of the compact A-Class.
An interior redesign for the sedan does away with the twin-12.3-inch touchscreens that share a piece of glass and the round turbine-style air vents in the coupe and convertible. Instead, the sedan has rectangular vents and a new 12.8-inch portrait-style center touchscreen that runs the second generation of the brand’s MBUX infotainment system. Available augmented reality directions continue, but they now appear in more places, including the digital instrument cluster, which is available with a 3D effect.
The coupe and convertible carry over with just an equipment change to the standard Premium package that adds heated front seats that also heat the shoulders and neck, and a surround-view camera system.
With two generations in one model year come two generations of design. The new sedan has a larger grille that sits over a lower air intake that runs the full length of the front end. The profile’s character lines aren’t as sharp, the headlights have a new shape, and the wheel designs are new. The carryover coupe and cabriolet benefit from sleek, sweeping profiles that play out beautifully over their long bodies.
The coupe and cabriolet continue with two models each, S560 and S63. S560 models have a 463-hp version of the 4.0-liter V-8 without a mild-hybrid system, while the same V-8 in the S63 models makes 603 hp and offers slingshot straightline performance. All have satisfying steering and sublime ride quality, but big-car handling. No S-Class is efficient with fuel economy in the range of 20 mpg combined.
The front seats of every S-Class are incredibly comfortable, with lots of space, heating, heated armrests, cooling, and massage. An Executive Line package for the sedan makes the rear seat a control center with three available screens and many of the amenities of the front seats.
How much does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class cost?
The S-Class starts at $110,850 for an S500 4Matic sedan. It comes standard with the two dash screens, ambient lighting, leather upholstery, heated and cooled power-adjustable front seats with massage, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, Burmester audio, the air suspension and adaptive dampers, a panoramic sunroof, and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Also standard are a smorgasbord of safety features, including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, active blind-spot monitors, automatic parking, and a semi-autonomous highway driving system. The older S-Classes haven’t been crash tested and we don’t expect the new one to be either.
Where is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class made?
In Sindelfingen, Germany.