New Mercedes-Benz S-Class range adds firepower with launch of the twin-turbo V8-powered S 580L flagship sedan

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long been regarded as the technological, safety and design flagbearer for the German luxury car-maker’s passenger vehicle range. It has also been synonymous with the V8 engine since its inception. Now, Mercedes-Benz has given the small but loyal S-Class following in Australia a more powerful offering with the S 580L.

Old habits…

For many loyal Mercedes-Benz S-Class aficionados, this is the only way to have your full-size limousine.

The seventh-generation S-Class range debuts a new V8 engine in Australia from this month with the release of the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580L 4MATIC.

Building off the success of the existing Mercedes-Benz S 450 and S 450L variants, which launched locally in April 2021 with an inline six-cylinder petrol engine, the new V8 adds more power, more torque and, naturally, a pretty significant pricing premium to match.

Does it make for a better S-Class experience?

High mark

You don’t buy an S-Class for strict value, but even so, the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580L 4MATIC isn’t cheap.

Available solely in long-wheelbase form, which adds an additional 110mm in length over the regular S-Class, pricing for the S 580L is currently set at $335,100 plus on-road costs.

That compares with $244,700 (plus on-road costs) for the entry Mercedes-Benz S 450 4MATIC and $269,300 (plus ORCs) for the next-closest S 480 4MATIC.

It also compares with the soon-to-be-replaced BMW 750i xDrive (from $277,900) and Audi S8 (from $259,877) – both V8-powered rivals.

android, mercedes-benz s 580l 2022 review

Beyond powertrain, the mammoth $65,800 premium over the equivalent long-wheelbase 450 L gets you additional equipment including digital headlights with adaptive high beam assist, Nappa leather upholstery with front massaging function, infrared reflecting glass that also offers extra heating and noise insulation, active multi-contour seating and an augmented reality head-up display.

Those features are over and above regular S-Class niceties including 20-inch alloy wheels, power-closing doors, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, ambient lighting, two-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, seat warmers and an electric sun blind for the rear window.

Infotainment comprises a 12.8-inch OLED portrait-style centre touch-screen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, digital radio and wireless phone charging, plus a 15-speaker Burmester sound system. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also standard.

While the S 580L’s infotainment system isn’t all that far removed from more affordable vehicles, its voice functionality is. Offering the latest generation of MBUX software, the S-Class takes the popular ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice commands and streamlines the process using the MBUX interior assistant. More on that below.

android, mercedes-benz s 580l 2022 review

On the safety front, the S-Class combines Mercedes-Benz’s Driving Assistance package, which incorporates systems such as active distance assist, route-based speed adaption, evasive steering assist, active stop-and-go assist, active lane change assist and the car-maker’s Pre-Safe suite.

The S-Class features 10 airbags in total, plus tyre pressure monitoring, a 360-degree camera and the latest electronic acronyms. It is fitted standard with run-flat tyres.

Even at this price point, options abound. Rear-wheel steering (which reduces the turning circle to less than that of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch) adds $2700, a TV tuner costs $2900, while the car-maker’s E-Active Body Control (which incorporates the car’s mild-hybrid system for additional body control) costs $16,900. At least metallic paint is a no-cost option!

In terms of ownership, the S 580L is backed by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre factory warranty in Australia, together with the option of a pre-paid servicing package which amounts to $6200 over five years/125,000km. Intervals are every 12 months or 25,000km, whichever comes first.

android, mercedes-benz s 580l 2022 review

Cylinders count

Equipment aside, what really sets the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580L apart is its cylinder count.

The M176 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 that resides in the S 580 also occupies the engine bay of the outgoing Mercedes-AMG C 63, the Mercedes-AMG G 63 or even the AMG GT coupe.

All told, the bent-eight doles out 370kW and 700Nm in this application, and is paired with a mild-hybrid system that can add 15kW and 200Nm in short bursts, courtesy of a benign integrated starter generator. It also includes a quick stop-start system.

The V8 S-Class shuffles drive to all four wheels standard via a nine-speed torque-converter automatic that is said to ‘torque fill’ between shifts, purportedly smoothening out changes.

Based on Mercedes-Benz’s long-standing MRA2 platform, the new S-Class is now 50mm longer than the previous long-wheelbase version, and 22mm wider.

Those additional proportions have liberated an extra 20 litres of boot space while introducing other marginal dynamic changes. And yet, the car’s drag coefficient is listed at an impressive 0.22Cd.

The S-Class body shell is now claimed to comprise more than 50 per cent aluminium, bringing the body in white weight down by 60kg on the sixth-generation predecessor.

Meanwhile, the suspension package comprises both air suspension and adaptive dampers, on a four-link front axle and multi-link rear.

Fit for royalty

Our first foray with the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580L takes in a circa-500km return journey between Sydney and Bathurst. Varying roads, mixed conditions and all times of the day (and night).

Even at this price point, with this level of excess, it’s hard not to walk away impressed with the level of execution from the prodigious S-Class flagship.

But as we soon find, it’s a matter of perspective.

Firstly, the cabin and technology. It’s clear that in recent years, Mercedes-Benz (and every other car-maker, for that matter) has bridged the gap between the entry-model A-Class and flagship S-Class.

As the technology becomes more prevalent, our expectations grow higher.

Even so, while the S-Class’ standard equipment list isn’t that far removed from the brilliant new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, the use of higher quality materials and the airiness of the cabin wrought by its larger size is enough to justify the lofty positioning.

Everything down to the switchgear dials, the clarity of the screens or even the rear door cards wouldn’t look out of place on a first-class airplane seat.

Space is naturally ample throughout the cabin in this long-wheelbase spec, with excellent rear space for well-heeled corporates or the extended family alike.

android, mercedes-benz s 580l 2022 review

Similarly, the 535-litre boot space will happily swallow a couple of full-size suitcases.

The other talking point here is the level of user integration in the new S-Class. Specifically around infotainment.

The MBUX infotainment assistant utilises an in-car camera designed to streamline certain operations. For instance, when it comes to adjusting your side mirrors, you only need to look at the mirror you want to adjust and the camera will pick it up, meaning you just have to use the direction arrows.

Similarly, the car will open the rear blind upon looking in that vicinity while in reverse – again using the camera.

Augmented reality technology comes in handy for navigation too, with vibrant and pulsing blue arrows taking away any doubt from sat-nav instructions and again streamlining the driving experience.

On the safety front, the tuning and parameters of the myriad safety systems and driver aids is first class. A lot of new cars might share similar safety, but they feel almost primitive in their application when compared to the S 580L.

But enough of the semantics. Depressing the central starter button brings the true defining element of this big Benz. Its engine.

This is the M176 V8 like you’ve never seen it: quiet, smooth and devoid of the guttural thunder that tends to epitomise its application in AMG models.

The V8 forms an immensely amicable and satisfying partnership with the 5.29-metre S 580L, finding peak torque from a lowly 2000rpm and leaning on the gearbox to gently segue through the rev range.

It’s sweet, harmonious motoring at its finest, and a unique reminder of why we’ll miss internal combustion when it eventually disappears from the brand.

android, mercedes-benz s 580l 2022 review

The V8 makes a gentle bellow in the background upon zipping up to highway speeds or overtaking, and never really feels overcome by the 580L’s 2.2-tonne heft. At 4.4 seconds to 100km/h, it can reel in the horizon in clinical and surprising fashion.

It’s also surprisingly efficient in country driving, averaging 8.6L/100km on test, and the mild-hybrid system is truly benign in operation.

About the only fly in the ointment here – at least in our test car – was an occasional shunt from the transmission. We were able to provoke it repeatedly during around-town passage by simply squeezing the accelerator pedal while already rolling.

Each time it presented a relatively harsh shunt as the gearbox kicked down.

That might constitute the torque fill that Mercedes-Benz speaks of; either way, it didn’t really align with the rest of the car’s luxury focus.

Elsewhere, the S 580L offers excellent body control and dynamism for its size and brief. The cabin feels commendably insulated from the outside elements on all surfaces and the body controls its heft superbly over drawn-out undulations and sharp obstacles alike.

It makes for smooth, almost seamless passage from the back seat, but conversely, offers up enjoyable, surefooted progress for the driver.

We noticed a couple of fumbles over some pockmarked surfaces, which suggests there is room here to go more refined again.

It’s worth noting our vehicle wasn’t fitted with the trick $17,000 e-active suspension, but equally, it also creates for a positive portent for our upcoming review of the 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 680L next month…

Upper echelon

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580L might be late to the W223 ensemble in Australia, but in our opinion it makes the seventh-generation S-Class even better.

The clincher here is the $65,800 premium it asks for the privilege over the existing S 450L.

For the people buying these incredible machines, that itself may only prove to be a moot point.

How much does the 2022 Mercedes-Benz S 580L 4MATIC cost?Price: $335,100 (plus on-road costs)Available: NowEngine: 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo petrolOutput: 370kW/700NmTransmission: Nine-speed automaticFuel: 10.8L/100km (ADR Combined)CO2: 246g/km (ADR Combined)
Safety rating: Five-star (Euro NCAP 2020)


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