The S-Class's "long list of comfort and convenience features assures bragging rights among even the most jaded enthusiast," ForbesAutos says. All S-Class sedans come with features such as "a navigation system, hands-free cell phone communication, a Harman Kardon audio system and of course, rich leather and wood trim," Edmunds reports. That "fine-sounding 14-speaker, 600-watt harmon/kardon(r) surround-sound system," Kelley Blue Book states, "plays CDs, DVDs and MP3s."
Also standard in the S-Class is the Mercedes COMAND system, which uses a knob controller and an in-dash screen to control secondary functions, much like similar systems from BMW's iDrive and Audi's MMI. ForbesAutos reports that "some may still complain that it's not as user-friendly as it could be." Car and Driver asks rhetorically, "How many electronic gizmos are too many?" Kelley Blue Book contends that it takes a only a modest amount of study time to learn to operate the "COMAND system, through a turn-and-push, aluminum knob on the center console," which then allows the driver to utilize the one control for navigation, radio, phone, and other settings. Most other reviews grouse about using COMAND and the confusion that ensues; Cars.com says COMAND is "one of the more user-friendly versions" of these systems, but all the "high-tech features can be confusing."
Higher-end trims bump up the equipment ante. As Edmunds points out, the "AMG versions add 20-inch alloy wheels, an active suspension, larger brakes, sport seats and specific interior and exterior styling tweaks." New for 2009 are new steering-wheel shift paddles, redesigned power window switches, and a "Hold" braking feature. The S550 now also gets a power trunk lid, new wheels, and active ventilated and heated front seats.