You are here

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Best in class
Overall verdict
Rivals are closer than ever, but S-Class remains our favourite luxo-barge. For now


Interior design, rear space, ride and refinement


Little steering feel or driver satisfaction


What is it?

Without a doubt the benchmark big luxury saloon, the one Audi, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac and even Jaguar and Maserati must define themselves by and be measured against.

This car defines the sector and is the one all others must topple. The latest A8 and 7-Series are closer than they have been in the past, but while both are excellent cars in their own right, neither is quite as special as the S-Class.

With 2017’s facelift arrives many new things. Chief among them new engines, an in-line six-cylinder diesel and petrols (replacing the old V6s) and the S63 AMG’s V8 bi-turbo petrol. The rare-groove S65 keeps its old V12, and a hybrid arrives later in the year.

There’s an array of semi-autonomous driving technology like Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Lane Change Assist and Remote Parking Assist – all carryovers from the E-Class.

But to make sure the S-Class keeps its crown as the techiest Merc, it’s got a few of its own too. The main one is a kind of active cruise control that, as well as sensing and maintaining gaps to other cars, knows to slow you for roundabouts, corners and tolls using GPS. Sounds clever in principle, but does it work?  

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
S63L 4dr Auto
4.0s 242g/km 27.4 585 £123,200
The cheapest
S350d AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
6.0s 158g/km 47.1 286 £74,400
The greenest
S560e L AMG Line 4dr 9G-Tronic
5.0s 57g/km 112.9 489 £97,410
Continue: Driving