2012 Mercedes-Benz S Class Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality

Since all S-Class sedans sold in the U.S. are long-wheelbase cars, they're all essentially alike, at least in terms of interior and cargo space. Across the lineup, that means spacious accommodations, superb front seats, easy access for those in back, and top-drawer fit and finish, with some fiddly ergonomics to muddle through.

In front, the S-Class offers up standard 16-way, power-adjusting seats. They're firmly padded, and wide enough to suit almost any frame; leather upholstery is standard on all models, even the vegan-trending diesel and hybrid versions. Ventilated and heated front seats are an option by themselves, but we'd suggest you spend up to the available multicontour seats. They incorporate sets of air pockets that fill and empty according to cornering forces built up by the car, and though it sounds gimmicky at first, they truly feel useful and comfortable when the S-Class speeds up to a full hustle. Reaction times are quick enough to keep up with even the very fast AMG editions.

Few machines offer the creature comforts or the status massage that an S-Class delivers.

The long-wheelbase S-Class body guarantees plenty of front and rear-seat leg room, even with the front seats powered all the way back. The rear doors are cut widely, for easy access and limousine-like space, and the seats themselves are sculpted for good comfort.

You'll rarely find space at a premium within the cabin of the S-Class. There's plenty of storage space for smaller items—including a glovebox and console large enough for small handbags and even the larger electronic gadgets. The fold-down armrest in back has its own hidden stowaway space and a pass-through to the 16-cubic-foot trunk that's well-shaped for suitcases of golf bags.

The S-Class' interior upholstery and trims are top-notch; we especially like the AMG models' sueded fabric. Over repeat drives of various S-Class trims, varying from the Hybrid to AMG, we've found these big luxury sedans to be about as tightly assembled and vaultlike as their predecessors, with a detailed, delicate look up close. While the S-Class's cabin is outdone at the base level by top efforts from Audi and BMW, step up to any of the uplevel trims and you get some of the richest textures and finishes you'll see in a German car: case in point, the lush wood trim applied to the dash, doors, and consoles. 

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