Performance and 0-60 time
While a hybrid previously held an entry-level spot in the S-class lineup, it once again falls to a frugal diesel to kick off the S-class range, with the S350d. It's no slouch though, lunging to 62mph in 6.8 seconds and hitting a limited 155mph - the same as every other S-class.
The hybrid S400h has an identical 0-62mph time but thanks to a 3.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor setup it delivers its power very differently - think a little smoother and a little quieter, with that healthy off-the-line acceleration shared by many hybrid vehicles.
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The S500L is next. With eight cylinders to call upon we're into proper performance territory, with a 4.8-second time for the aforementioned sprint. Similar in name but different in delivery is the S500e; it has two fewer cylinders, but loses out only four tenths to the V8 due to assistance from electric motors.
The AMG models provide another step up in terms of performance. Another two tenths are shaved off the S600's 0-62mph lunge with the S63 AMG, while the bi-turbo S65 V12, with its incredible 738lb ft of torque, cuts that to 4.3sec.
The Coupe and Cabriolet achieve the same acceleration times as the saloon. The four-wheel-drive, S63 4matic versions find more traction off the line and area able to reach 62mph in 3.9sec. However, the front driveshafts clash with the steering on right hand drive models so aren’t available in the UK.
The S-class is about delivering performance that corresponds with maximum comfort and minimum effort, so every engine, right through to the top end AMGs, delivers its performance in a smooth and refined manner.