Long a benchmark in the full-size luxury sedan class, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the varied ever. From the entry-level $90,000 S400 Hybrid to the high-performance, range-topping $200,000 S65 AMG, the S-Class spans a range beyond the scope of the competition. MotorAuthority rates the S-Class a 9 overall.
Performance, like the range, varies. The S400 Hybrid manages 25 mpg highway while delivering 275 horsepower from a V-6 engine aided by a 20-horsepower electric drive system and lithium-ion battery. A V-8 and a V-12 complete the non-AMG range, though the most mainstream model is the S550, powered by a naturally-aspirated 5.5-liter V-8 rated at 382 horsepower. The S65 AMG gets a 604-horsepower, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-12, while the 6.2-liter V-8 S63 AMG turns out 518 horsepower.
Despite its large size and luxurious content, the S-Class handles well. Of course, its on-road competence is due in part because of the high tech loaded on board, including air suspension, dynamic...
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