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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

9/10
Overall verdict

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

£74,480£181,055

On the inside

Layout, finish and space

Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior

The dash’s two huge instrument and display screens are all clarity and logic. They’ve been updated and now more closely resemble what you get in the E-Class, which is fine by us. That said, it feels like the S lacks processing power compared to the A8 or 7 Series – its infotainment system is slower to respond to commands.

However, at least Mercedes is one of the few manufacturers that hasn’t gone doolally for touchscreens (yet), and fast as the A8’s twin-screen setup is, it’s still not as intuitive as having a dedicated, physical control. 

Said screens are set in beautifully worked leather, wood and metal, and most ergonomics are just-so. Those familiar with the pre-facelift S-Class will notice the new steering wheel, with its touchpads and cruise control, erm, controls (no more little stalk behind the wheel – a Merc fave). It’s a bit button-heavy, but you get used to it.

Also new for the facelift was something called ENERGIZING Comfort Control (yes, all caps. Live with it). It links the climate control, seats, lighting and stereo enabling “a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer”. Bit of a gimmick? Perhaps, but in all we can’t think of a comfier interior, front or rear. At least for less than £200k. 

The LWB versions, pretty much the only versions you can get now, can be specced with rear seats that massage, heat, vent and recline halfway to horizontal, with aircraft-like leg-rests. Rear entertainment is fine, though not as impressive as the A8’s, and legroom just vast.

The Maybach is more and better, of course, but not all that different from a long-wheelbase S-Class. The dashboard architecture is the same and though material quality is broadly excellent, you can only mask so much with quilted leather, Mercedes. Much of the switchgear feels exactly like it does in a £80,000 S350d. For an extra £100,000 we were hoping for more. Oh and if you get the fridge (part of the £7,300 ‘First Class Cabin’ package), it inelegantly eats into your boot space to the tune of 40-litres.

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