Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class (2006 - 2013) Safety & Reliability

Review by David Ross on
Last Updated: 03 Jul 2013
When it comes to luxury travel, few cars outside of the super rich Rolls Royce and Maybach arena, can match the Mercedes S-Class. The four-door saloon is the epitome of sophistication with unrivalled refinement, an interior that insulates you from the outside world and a beautifully styled cabin that blends classic and modern elements.
4.5 out of 5



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Few cars of this price are crash tested by Euro NCAP but it's safe to say the S-Class would perform well. Other Mercedes models such as the M-Class and E-Class, were awarded the maximum five-star rating for adult occupant safety. Its safety systems extend beyond a strong shell and eight air-bags. A radar at the front can detect objects ahead and if an accident seems likely, responds by delivering the maximum braking power even when the driver fails to press the pedal hard enough.

It also closes windows and sunroof and moves the seats to put the occupants in the best position for the airbags to work. Once the airbags have gone off the system opens the windows to ventilate the cabin which will be full of smoke from the airbag detonation. It also detects the weight of the passenger and inflates the airbag accordingly.

4 out of 5


The quality of Mercedes cars was called into question in the early 2000s when several of its models seemed to fall short of the standards expected of the German firm. Since then things have improved dramatically and the S-Class is well built and extremely durable. There have been a few recalls though, mainly regarding issues with the Active Body Control system available on S500 and S600 models.

The paintwork features 'nano-particle' technology where tiny ceramic particles are embedded within the paint giving it greater resistance to scratching to ensure it keeps its showroom gloss for longer

Car check problem points


No problems reported.


No problems reported.


Three recalls in 2008, the first where the SAM unit may become unreliable due to moisture and consequently the front lights, indicators and console lights could fail. A second for a potential electrical connection issue which means the engine could lose power. The other was for an issue with Active Body Control - also known as ABC (only available on the S500 or S600 models) which could develop a fault affecting driving stability. There was a further recall in 2009 for an issue with the suspension on models with ABC which could impair the steering. Around 200 models were affected but reports of the issue have only occurred on very high mileage cars which have been subject to use in rough conditions.