2018 Mercedes-Benz S450 Test Drive

Jerry Reynolds | October 24, 2017
2018 Mercedes-Benz S450 Test Drive

This week I am behind the wheel of the #1 selling luxury car in America, and it’s not even close.  Introducing the redesigned 2018 Mercedes-Benz S450, Mercedes’ flagship sedan.  New for 2018 are refreshed front and rear fascias, new LED headlights and taillights, and a new suite of engines.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S450

This particular car has a 3.0-liter Biturbo V6 under the hood.  It is putting out 362-horses and a strong 369 pound-feet of torque.  It is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission that you can shift from shift paddles on the drop-dead gorgeous wood and leather that is also new for 2018.  Top speed on this 4500- pound sedan is electronically limited to 130 miles per hour.  This car is rear-wheel drive, but you can get it in Mercedes terrific all-wheel system the 4MATIC.

Driving dynamics of the S450 are excellent and the Mercedes air suspension system is terrific as you change the drive modes.  If you go into a curve a little too fast, the Torque Vectoring Brake system will make adjustments to make sure you maintain control.  Drive modes include comfort, eco, sport, and individual.  In Comfort you have the floaty luxury car it looks like, and in Sport, the beast becomes a whole lot of fun that will get you a speeding ticket. 

S-Class Interior Is Spectacular

It goes without saying that the interior of the S-Class is spectacular and very inviting, not unlike sitting in the lobby of a Ritz Carlton hotel, except nicer, with wood and aluminum trim and topstitching.  As you sit behind the wheel, your eyes can’t help but study the 12.3” high-resolution color instrument panel that you can configure to your liking.

There is another 12.3” screen in the middle of the dash that controls the Comand system which is the navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Burmeister sound system, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi systems.

Comand is controlled from the center console where a touchpad and rotary knob team up to get you through all the functions of the system.  The touchpad will allow you to swipe, pinch, and even write on it.  Also in the area is the switch to change the drive modes.  You can also turn off the Start/Stop system and activate the massaging seats.  Inside the center console, you’ll find two USB ports, a household-type 115-Volt electrical outlet, and a built-in cell phone charger.   

Major standard features include ambient lighting with your choice of 64 different colors, power heated seats, soft closing doors, power panoramic moonroof, cabin fragrance system, power rear sunshade, and magic vision control, which is kind of neat.  The windshield washers are built into the wipers and squirt water right in front of the wiper for good vision when needed.

Let me state the obvious first, then I want to key in on some pretty amazing features.  The S450 interior is wonderful, it has a ton of legroom and headroom, and it has a massive trunk.  It is as comfortable as you can get and a comes with a host of safety features, including active braking.

The Fun Stuff

First, there is Energizing Comfort.  This system coordinates the climate control, Air Balance fragrance, ambient lighting, audio system, and even the available massaging driver seat and heated armrests. The driver can select from six 10-minute programs such as Freshness, Vitality or Comfort, and enjoy physical benefits accompanied by cabin lighting and music.  If you have music loaded into the vehicle, it will choose one of your songs if the beat matches or it will choose one of five default songs for you.  This system comes standard.

This car has the optional $2250 Driver Assistance Package which has nice features like lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, steering assist, and active cruise control among other things.  The active cruise control is called Distronic and uses radar-based technology to adapt your set speed in response to the flow of traffic. If traffic slows down, it will reduce your speed automatically.  If the vehicle ahead slows to a stop, it can brake to a full halt. When traffic moves, you can resume with just a tap of the accelerator or resume button, or it will resume automatically if the stop is under three seconds.  It even knows to slow down in curves.

Active Steering Assist uses cameras and other sensors to detect lane markings, guardrails, and other vehicles. Active Steering Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle centered in its lane while cruising, even in gentle curves. When lane markings aren't visible, it can even follow the vehicle ahead.  Simply put, the car steers itself, although it takes a little while to trust it.

Active Steering Assist can also make lane changes by itself.  When you activate the turn signal, the steering assist will make the lane change for you, provided the lane is clear. If not, the car will cancel the turn signal and wait to switch lanes. When it’s clear, the system will automatically reactivate the turn signal and steer into the adjacent lane; the instrument cluster indicates what’s happening. Autonomous lane changing works only on multilane roads, but will not execute passing on a two-lane road.

Technology Marvel

Is this the first self-driving car?  No, it’s not quite there, but it’s as close as I have driven.

Also cool, this car can tell when you get drowsy and it will alert you, loudly if necessary.  It will turn the high beam lights on and off as needed.  If a strong gust of wind blows up or a truck passes you, it will brake one side of the car or the other to maintain control.  If you veer out of your lane, the steering wheel will vibrate, and if it senses a collision is imminent, the car will tighten the front seat belts, adjust the front passenger seat, and close the windows and sunroof, all in an effort to better prepare the occupants and seat belts in the moments before a collision.

A few of the options on this car are 20” AMG wheels, power side rear sunshades, active parking assist, heated rear seats, and a rear spoiler.  All total, MSRP on this beauty is $106,500, which is well in line with other large luxury cars that are not as smart as this one.

Fuel economy is good for its size at 19 in town and 28 out on the highway.

Nine vehicles fall into the large luxury car category and so far this year, 36,000 people have purchased them.  The Mercedes S450 accounts for almost a third of those, and it’s easy to see why.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S450

  • What I liked most:  The appearance, drive quality, technology.
  • What I would change:  Actually, nothing.
  • MSRP: Base price $89,900 as equipped $106,545.
  • Fuel Economy: 19 City/28 Highway, 22 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 24.6 gallons with filler on the passenger side.
  • Dimensions:  206.9” long/83.9” wide/58.8” high.
  • Weight: 4553 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  N/A 
  • Miles When Tested: 490 miles.
  • Official Color: Black.
  • Spare tire:  Inflator kit.
  • Final Assembly Point: Sindelfingen, Germany.
  • 2017 S450 in a few words: Still the flagship luxury sedan.
  • Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance. 
  • Manufacturers website:  Mercedes-Benz


Tags: 2018, mercedes-benz, review, s450, sedant, test drive
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