2024 Mercedes-Benz S580 Review: Still the King

If you want to look into the future of automobiles, start with an S-Class. Many new cars (especially these days) are full of gimmicks to entertain or impress, but the 2024 Mercedes-Benz S580 4Matic isn’t supposed to get bogged down with any funny business. It just does it—all of it—without compromise, without complaint, and without fanfare. 

In recent years, the luxury sedan market has become more competitive with BMW, Audi, and Lexus all presenting new versions of their luxury offerings, but in our minds at least, the S-Class remains the definitive executive limo. The one to beat. With the S-Class roughly halfway through its seventh generation, I spent a week with Benz’s S580 in the snowy mountains of Colorado to find out if it remains the reigning king that defines luxury on wheels.

Aaron Segal

The Basics

The S580 is Mercedes’ flagship vehicle. Everything starts with this full-sized luxury sedan and eventually makes it down to us normies. This was true when the S-Class was the first vehicle with anti-lock brakes and traction control, and will remain true with its innovations in driver assistance and safety tech.

Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with mild hybrid assist producing 496 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, the S580 transports itself to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds without batting an eye. Paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, air suspension as standard, and all-wheel drive, it has a suitable amount of power for the price and status it emulates. To navigate tight city streets and open highways, this particular Benz was optioned with rear-axle steering and a suite of driver assistance tech. My vehicle was also fitted with Pirelli Sottozero snow tires to help combat the snow-covered roads of Breckenridge and Vail, Colorado, and the rest of the Rocky Mountains.

From the outside, the S580 is handsome. Compared to its more baroque competitors, the current W223 generation of S-Class has streamlined styling, smoothed out body lines, and has kept things understated. It’d almost be nondescript if it weren’t for the subtle accents that bring attention to the luxury that just passed by in the left lane. This works well. In my experience driving the S580, it exudes an underlying aura of authority and respect both in its styling, and its presence on the road.

Driving the Mercedes-Benz S580

Stepping into the S580 for the first time, I was fearful that this vehicle sized for executives would be hard to navigate. At 17.5 feet long, it takes up a lot of space on the road, but it doesn’t feel that way while inside. Power isn’t instantaneous, and that’s a good thing. Putting my foot down, the car seems to say “Are you sure, sir?” and then rockets forward. Maintenance throttle is effortless and steering is precise without being too heavy or touchy. The optional rear-steer pivots the car around tight bends, making it feel much smaller than it is. This promotes confidence and is well worth the extra cash.

Aaron Segal

Driver assistance and safety tech is well integrated and not overly sensitive. With other cars, we’ve reported getting frustrated with safety tech interfering too early, but the various Mercedes systems handle this well. It only cuts in when needed, or gently nudges the car back into the lane. Most importantly, it never gets too loud or fussy. Mercedes’ active cruise control and lane keep assist are smooth to adapt to changing road conditions and will keep speed by automatically changing lanes when it deems appropriate. Overall, the car is happy to drive itself down the highway, with the driver as a guide.

Riding in the Mercedes-Benz S580

Luxury isn’t just about comfort and class, it’s about making life easier and more efficient. After spending only a few moments with the S-Class, it became clear while other cars focus on the driver, the back passenger side seat of the Mercedes-Benz S580 is where you want to be. The front passenger seat folds far forward and allows the person behind it to lie flat with a footrest. While the rear driver’s side seat reclines too, it does not allow for the full lie-flat experience. Both seats have a full suite of massagers and individual screens that can stream shows or control entertainment throughout the vehicle. 

Life is bliss in the back seat of the Benz, however, I noticed the S580 had a firmer ride than I was expecting. It was still a comfortable experience and in no way too firm, but I was surprised to feel some sharp bumps in the cabin as I went up the interstate.

The Highs and Lows

The comfort and control the S580 provides through its driving dynamics is the true winner here. The big Benz promotes excellent driving by bolstering the driver down the road, helped by a staggeringly capable powerband. The car moves so effortlessly that you forget what speed you’re doing. Inside, high build quality is apparent. If it’s loud outside, just close the door and the car turns into a soundproof box, free of any neighboring car alarms or loud music. Meanwhile, the 4D Burmester stereo system covers up any lingering outside noises with quality that’ll satisfy any audiophile.

Aaron Segal

As great as this car is, it comes with some crucial flaws. Mercedes has fallen into the same trap as many other brands, eliminating almost all buttons on the inside. Instead, it uses a giant screen with seat massaging, in-car cameras, navigation, and radio so deep in the menus that it becomes borderline distracting. There were multiple times on the highway when I had to put full faith in the driver-assistance technology to keep us pointed in the right direction while I figured out how to get back to Apple CarPlay. That, paired with capacitive touch buttons on the steering wheel meant that I would occasionally exit a screen I needed or turn the volume way up by accident. Overall, I found the infotainment usable but not organized or intuitive. This was difficult to accept from a car of this caliber.

Mercedes-Benz S580 Features, Options, and Competition

The S580 starts at $128,150, with my test vehicle coming in at $159,300. That’s an entire brand-new Mazda Miata’s worth of add-ons. On the bright side, a lot of these options are worth the money, especially when buying a car at this price point. Rear-steer costs only $1,300, a bargain for what it does to the driving experience. My test car was also fitted with a $3,100 Nappa leather package, which goes hand in hand with the $3,450 executive rear seat package containing massaging seats and the lie-flat mode. It’s worth it as an entire package if you can shell out the extra cash, but it would be strange to take one without the other.

Aaron Segal

The market for these cars is becoming more competitive and the S580 has three main rivals: The BMW 760i, the Audi S8, and the Lexus LS 500. During my time in Colorado, I also got to drive a 760i which felt flashier, bordering on showing off. The 7 Series had similar lie-flat seats and a more impressive rear screen that folds down from the ceiling and turns the car into a rolling movie theater. However, I found the massive screen to be too much of a party trick, and the car itself seemed to lack a sense of poise when compared to its equally priced Mercedes rival.

Fuel Economy

The Mercedes S580 is rated at 18 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined, pretty much par for the course for this type of car. During my 400 miles spent driving the S580 up many steep hills, my heavy foot managed to achieve a fairly spot-on 28.5 mpg.

EPA

Value and Verdict

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz S580 is still the king of luxury sedans. This generation showcases improved safety tech that helps the driver become safer and more efficient and is impressive to witness in motion. If Mercedes can clean up the user experience inside, it will truly set the S-Class apart. BMW, Lexus, and Audi are worth cross-shopping, but at the end of the day, the S580’s driving dynamics, luxury, speed, and confidence remain a force to be reckoned with. 

2024 Mercedes-Benz S580 4Matic Specs
Base Price (as tested)$128,150 ($159,300)
Powertrain4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 mild hybrid | 9-speed automatic transmission | all-wheel drive
Horsepower496 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque516 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume12.9 cubic feet
Curb Weight4,775 pounds
0-60 mph4.4 seconds
Top Speed130 mph
EPA Fuel Economy18 mpg city | 27 highway | 21 combined
Quick TakeUser interfaces could use some cleaning up, but the S-Class remains as dominant as ever.
Score9/10

Aaron Segal works as a Product Manager for Recurrent, The Drive’s parent company. While he spends most of his time behind the scenes keeping the lights on, he has always been a diehard automotive enthusiast and moonlights as a contributor on The Drive. He is based in Boston and drives a highly modified Volvo V70 R as well as a Nissan 350Z drift car.

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