Plug-in S-Class is the best of an otherwise ordinary generation

If Mercedes’ aim was to embrace digitisation and propel the S-Class into a new era, it can regard the W223 as a success.

The cabin feels reassuringly traditional yet avant-garde, and the scope of the vast displays manages to avoid the jarring omnipresence seen with other manufacturers’ cars. Ambient lighting and connectivity are very well executed, and beneath it all, barring one or two ergonomic shortfalls, resides one of the most materially comfortable and cosseting places to sit while the miles ease by, for driver and passenger. In an age of ever more ludicrously grandiose grilles, the S-Class’s relatively subtle exterior design should also stand it in good stead in Europe.

However, fundamentally, it feels as though progress has stalled somewhat. The plug-in hybrid powertrain of our S580e sets new class standards for efficiency and versatility, but cabin isolation and ride quality seem no better than before. Where an S-Class used to challenge Rolls-Royce in terms of road manners, the British marque is now a clear step ahead, and the upcoming BMW 7 Series update should give cause for concern in Stuttgart.

The new S-Class is a fantastically opulent way to travel, but no longer is it breathtakingly so.

Back to top

What Car? New car buyer marketplace - Mercedes-Benz S-Class