Mercedes-Benz S 350 CDI BlueEfficiency review
Mercedes-Benz is back with an updated S-Class; the mid-life refresh should ensure it remains the top seller.
Paddy Comyn

Published on July 28, 2010

Monday July 19

With several updated rivals coming on stream, such as the new Audi A8, updated BMW 7 Series and new Jaguar XJ, you might think that Mercedes-Benz would be fretting, but the fact is that it has been outselling its main rivals in the large luxury car segment for years. Even this year, with a run-out model, Mercedes-Benz has sold 49 S-Class so far - compared to just 32 new BMW 7 Series.

Now Mercedes-Benz releases its updated S-Class. This variation of the S-Class was first launched in 2005 and the latest refresh brings with it cleaner engines, including the one in our S 350 CDI BlueEfficiency test car, which has emissions of 199g/km and can return 7.5 l/100km. That's pretty impressive for a car of this considerable size.

Visually there are some minor tweaks and our test car is a symphony of brown; Dolomite Brown to be precise, with a cream/tan interior, brown walnut wood trim and a wood/leather steering wheel. The colour scheme is not my cup of tea, but the 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels do look the part. Our car also features the LED light package that includes an adaptive headlight system with bi-xenons. They do add quite a lot of 'bling' to the car, they look great at night and more importantly they really work well on a dark road, adapting to the environment and automatically dipping when you enter a town or when a car comes the other way.

Wednesday July 21

We've already used the car for a few motorway drives up and down the M1 and it's easy to understand why buyers love this car. It is supremely comfortable for a start. It comes with an updated AIRMATIC system (electronically controlled suspension), which works together with the powerful 232hp 3.0-litre V6 diesel to make it a brilliant car to munch motorway miles.

It doesn't feel quite as agile or poised as the Audi A8, but then most owners of these cars want a comfortable ride and that is exactly what the S-Class has.

The column shift gear stick takes a little bit of getting used to, especially when it comes to reversing, but I've found this car quite easy to park because the reversing camera is so clear. 

Saturday July 24

The Merchas spent the last few days in an airport car park as I've been away, but we picked up some friends on Saturday evening who are pretty impressed with the rear seats - arguably the best place to spend time in this car.

The fuel economy has been remarkable and although we haven't clocked up that many miles, we haven't strayed too far from the projected 7.6 l/100km average. After a week in this car you settle into a very relaxed pace. It is quick while never feeling brutally fast and is incredibly refined and beautifully made.


Tech Specs

Model testedMercedes-Benz S 350 CDI BlueEfficiency
Pricing€120,473 (excluding delivery related charges, but including several options)
Engine2,987cc six-cylinder diesel
Maximum power232hp at 3,600rpm
Maximum torque540Nm at 1,600rpm
Acceleration (0-100km/h)7.8 seconds
Max speed250km/h
Fuel economy (combined cycle)7.6 l/100km
CO2 emissions199g/km
Motor tax bandF
Annual road tax€1,050