Mercedes-Benz S350 Diesel — High-mileage luxury sedan

By Kelly Foss

Whenever a new test vehicle arrives, I try to guess the price before looking at the Monroney sticker.  Sometimes, I’m within $100 which is very good!  With the S350, I wasn’t even close.  Due to a variety of factors, European vehicles have become very pricey, but, the reality is that for buyers who want this vehicle (and many will), they’ll get it anyhow.

The starting price — about $104,000.

The S Class is the large luxury sedan from Mercedes.  It’s big, substantial, has presidential presence and is full of technology.  This is the class of vehicle that the Mercedes engineers lavish their attention on.  All the great new whiz-bang innovation shows up here.

Here are some of the items that are offered in this S Class Mercedes.  Airmatic air suspension with both soft and sport ride controls, plus 4Matic all wheel drive.  Super ventilated and cross drilled brakes, anti-squat suspension, Harman/Kardon Logic 7 surround sound audio, active adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, 14-way heated and active ventilated front seats with massage and panorama sun roofs.

Even the rear seats are eight-way powered, heated and ventilated and each passenger position has its own independent climate control. The back seat is huge, the trunk is massive and even has a power closing trunk lid.

As further proof, this vehicle also had the $2,950 Driver Assistance package which had some good feature but also included an Active Lane Keep Assist technology.  If the car senses (thinks) that you have wandered over a line on the road, it will on its own, apply hard braking and turn the car in the opposite direction, all rather abruptly.  Though the intention is good, sometimes the cure is worse than the perceived disease.

The vehicle drives like a dream, floats like a cloud yet has responsiveness and road-holding that you’d never expect from a vehicle of this size.

The S350 is unique because it’s powered by a new high-tech, ultra clean turbo diesel.  In Europe diesels are very common and popular.  They deliver a torquey satisfying driving experience and get great fuel economy.

This new engine is so smooth that you can’t tell from the sound that it is a diesel.  The engine produces only 240 horsepower but dispenses a huge 455 ft lbs of torque.  That connected to its 7-speed automatic transmission meant that the large S Class effortlessly accelerates and cruises down the road.

The EPA fuel economy rating is 21 city and 31 highway miles per gallon.  The reality is even better than that however.  This vehicle had over 2,400 miles on the odometer and the overall mpg number was 29.6 which is huge for a vehicle of this size.  I drove it from Dallas to Houston and averaged 33.4 mpg.  Even after arriving here, the car calculated that it still had a 450 mile driving range left.

Not only is the S350 an efficient Mercedes, it’s also very pleasant to drive and is totally in keeping with the brand’s tradition.