New 2022 Mercedes S-Class review

Rory White

24 Dec 2021

1/8
While cheaper saloons seem to be struggling for sales, the luxury saloon is holding its own. Is the new Mercedes S-Class the one you should be buying?

YesAuto Score:

87/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Interior's wow-factor

+ Wonderfully quiet and comfy

+ Decent plug-in hybrid model


CONS:

- Touch-sensitive controls

- Cookie-cutter exterior styling

- BMW 7 Series is more agile


Verdict: The latest Mercedes S-Class is a deeply impressive luxury saloon, with bags of tech, space and comfort. Its infotainment's reliance on touch-sensitive surfaces can frustrate, mind.


2022 Mercedes S-Class: walking around it


The Mercedes S-Class is certainly not an ugly car. Its smooth pebble-like lines look more aerodynamic than the more creased Audi A8 and its front end is less brash than the gaping grille on a BMW 7 Series. Our main gripe is that it looks similar to the rest of the Mercedes saloon range.


It's a complaint that can be levelled at the Audi A8 too – see either in your rearview mirror and you'll have a tough time trying to work out whether you're looking at a range-topping luxury saloon or a much cheaper executive one. The 7 Series' grille isn't loved universally but at least it stands out from the rest of the range. When you're spending this much, surely that's important?


The S-Class range kicks off at AMG Line trim, which gets 19-inch alloy wheels and a sporty body kit with chrome detailing and privacy glass as standard. AMG Line Premium trim adds 20-inch alloys instead and a panoramic sunroof as standard.


That's the standard-length S-Class, but you can also order a long-wheelbase version that is stretched for even better rear space. That starts at AMG Line Premium Executive with 20-inch wheels and chrome trim, but go for AMG Line Premium Plus and you get Merc's highest level of LED headlight and the choice of 20 or 21-inch alloys.


2022 Mercedes S-Class: sitting inside it


Most Mercedes S-Class long wheelbase owners spend all their time in the back, but the majority of short wheelbase owners do the driving themselves.


Wherever you sit, the S-Class has a wow factor inside that its German competition simply cannot match. Merc's use of piano black plastics, cold-to-the-touch chromes, big infotainment screens and ambient lighting all work together to give the S-Class a showroom appeal that no other luxury saloon can touch.


The leather is real too, hand-stitched and available in black, light cream or the brown you see in these pictures.


As mentioned, you can choose to have your S-Class as a long-wheelbase model, which offers even more legroom in the rear. On higher models, this adds things like cushions for the rear headrests, more movement, massage, heating and cooling for the rear seats and a rear tablet that can be used to control various functions through the car.


2022 Mercedes S-Class: using the tech


No matter which S-Class you go for, you get a massive 12.8-inch screen on the centre of the dash, a 12.3-inch screen in front of the driver displaying digital dials and no fewer than eight USB-C connections through the car.


Stepping up to Premium trims turns the driver's display 3D rather than 2D and upgrades the standard Mercedes nine-speaker sound system to a Burmester 15-speaker system that produces some 710 watts.


Long wheelbase models then add wireless smartphone charging in the back to the wireless charging you get in the front on all models, while the range-topping S-Class Long AMG Line Premium Plus Executive adds the 7-inch tablet in the back for controlling various functions from the rear.


The main screen is bright, razor-sharp and very responsive to touch, plus feels like it has the latest processors working to make things as snappy as possible. It's easy to navigate its many menus, although it goes without saying that wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard if you want it all to look like your mobile phone instead.


The driver's dials are great too, whether you have the 2D or 3D set. Both are every bit as sharp as the main screen and even if you decided you don't like the 3D effect you can switch it off at any time. The tablet on top models is an android-based affair but lets you control things like the media, heating, cooling and seat position.


The frustrations start with the fact that the climate controls are all operated through the touchscreen via fairly fiddly on-screen buttons which is less simple to use while driving than physical buttons. Too many functions on the multi-function steering wheel are touch-sensitive, too.


2022 Mercedes S-Class: getting stuff in it


You won't surprised to hear that the Mercedes S-Class will seat fours adults in sumptuous comfort no matter whether you have the short or long-wheelbase model. Both cars will also seat three adults across their rear bench fairly easily too, although the long-wheelbase model provides more foot space for the middle passenger.


Let's be honest, though, you won't be travelling that way in an S-Class. You'll be on your own in the back, where on the top Long model you can even tilt the front passenger seat forward so you can literally stretch your legs out. Better than that, out pops a footrest, back goes your chair, up go the rear sunblinds and off you go to sleep against your headrest cushion.


Behind all this sits a generous 550-litre boot. OK, so no saloon's boot has a particularly practical opening to get bulky items through, but saloon boots don't get much bigger than this. Just bear in mind that the plug-in hybrid S-Class's boot is smaller thanks to its battery taking up space beneath the boot floor.


You won't struggle for places to put your odds and sods though, The door bins are huge, so it the glovebox and cubbies at the base of the dash, beneath the central armrest and within the rear armrest on range-topping models are all generous too.


2022 Mercedes S-Class: driving it


You can choose between petrol, diesel and petrol-electric plug-in hybrid power for your Mercedes S-Class.


The 3.0-litre 350d diesel produces 286hp and sprints to 62mph from standstill in 6.4 seconds, while the 400 diesel of the same size offers 330hp and the same dash in 5.4 seconds.


The 3.0-litre 500 petrol, meanwhile, puts out 435hp and sprints to 62mph in 4.9 seconds, making it the fastest of the bunch. The sole plug-in hybrid model, the 580e, pairs the same 3.0-litre petrol with an electric motor to produce a combined 510hp. It'll sprint to 62mph in 5.2 seconds, do 87mph in EV mode and go an impressive 64 miles on electricity alone.


The diesels are the best bet for those doing lots of motorway miles, but if you don't plan on doing much of that the 500 petrol is slightly smoother and quieter in operation. If you're often in town or plan to run your S-Class as a company car, the PHEV is a no-brainer, as it has a massive electric range for a PHEV and will be much cheaper to own in terms of tax.


All models come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and all but the entry-level 350d get all-wheel-drive as standard. All S-Class models get adaptive air suspension as standard too.


As such, no matter what speed you're travelling at, the S-Class is a very comfy and quiet cruiser. Of course, it rides better the smaller its wheels are, but even on the range-largest 21-inch set it's very good almost all of the time.


This only gets better on the motorway, where the S-Class is beautifully quiet and its standard adaptive cruise control makes life very easy indeed. A 7 Series feels more agile and communicative on the right country road, but few buyers will care about that, sat in the front or the back.


However, unlike the 7 Series or A8, the standard S-Class doesn't get the option of rear-wheel steering – you need to step up to the uber-luxury Maybach model for that. It means that town driving is more daunting with its wider turning circle, especially if you go for the long-wheelbase model.



2022 Mercedes S-Class: paying for it


For a full in-depth rundown on the S-Class's prices, specs and YesAuto deals, click here.


The Mercedes S-Class starts at just over £81,1000 for the entry-level 350d AMG Line and tops out at around £116,000 for the range-topping 580e Long AMG Line Premium Plus Executive model. No S-Class is cheap, then, but these prices are roughly similar to BMW and Audi's for their own luxury saloons.


The 350d model will manage 40mpg if you take things easy, and so will the 400d if you take things even easier. The 500 petrol will be thirstier, but 35mpg is possible on a motorway run.


If you can home or work charging and can charge often, the 580e PHEV model has such a long electric range (better than BMW or Audi's efforts) that you may very rarely need to fire its petrol engine at all. Officially it can manage more than 350mpg but what you actually get will entirely depend on your own blend of petrol and electric driving.


Mercedes has a pretty average reliability record though. It placed near the bottom in the latest round-up of manufacturer reliability scores, behind Audi and some way behind BMW.


2022 Mercedes S-Class: comparing it


There are really only three names when it comes to luxury saloons: the Mercedes S-Class, the BMW 7 Series and Audi A8.


The BMW 7 Series is lairier to look at but not to sit in, but it does feel more agile to drive and has a better infotainment system on balance.


Audi's A8 is a more serious car to look at both outside and inside, but it has the best outright build quality of the three. It's also the comfiest and quietest of the three, although the margins are extremely small.


Compare these cars with the EV6 using YesAuto's car comparison tool here.


FAQs


Q: What does S-Class mean in Mercedes?

A: S-Class is translated from S-Klasse in German, which means special class. The Mercedes S-Class is the German firm's most luxurious and technologically advanced model, before you get to its Maybach products.


Q: Which is better S-Class or E-Class?

A: Both cars are very good cars, but compete in different classes or groups of cars. The E-Class is much cheaper to buy, but doesn't feel it to sit in or drive. The S-Class is a much larger car with more interior space, plus comes with the status of owning Merc's most luxurious model.


Q: What is the price of the Mercedes S-Class?

A: The Mercedes S-Class starts at just over £81,1000 for the entry-level 350d AMG Line and tops out at around £116,000 for the range-topping 580e Long AMG Line Premium Plus Executive model.


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Rory White

24 Dec 2021