2021 Mercedes-Benz S 450 L Review: Heart Of Gold

2021 Mercedes-Benz S 450 L Review – CarBuyer.com.sg
1. Introduction / Appearance
2. Interior / Features / Technology
3. Space / Practicality / Even More Tech
4. Driving Experience / Competition / Conclusion

4. Driving Experience

The electrical bit is relatively tame compared to the tech in the rest of the car: the S 450 L is powered by the newer inline six 3.0-litre turbo engine mated to a mild hybrid system that gives 22hp/250Nm boost, and replaces the old S 450 L’s 3.0 V6. 

Without the pinging of systems and mechanical voices, how does the S 450 L fare as, well, a car car? 

It’s still the same old S-Class we know. The S-Class has the almost faultless setup and neat handling of previous models continue here, the result is a car that’s lovely not just to drive people around in, but simply to drive. 

Air suspension and all-wheel drive help maximise traction, and the new S 450 L is some 0.2-seconds faster in the 0-100km/h sprint than before. There’s almost 400hp on tap here, not counting the EQ hybrid boost, but the power and torque is always delivered in a hush, the speed always disguised, the tyre and wind noise never a bother. 

Despite the added length, the S 450 L is capable of some tap-dancing, and doesn’t feel long around bends, only truly feeling limo-like in tighter car parks. The optional 10-degree rear-wheel steering (S$4,600) would go a long way to reducing that, while also increasing overall agility. 

The refinement is excellent with the car slicing through the air in a bubble of quiet, though the ride quality is now not class-leading especially compared to Audi’s almost-eerily bump-free active ride system on the A8 we’ve tested. Mercedes will have a similar system in E-Active Body Control, but that will be an option only in the second half of the year.

One interesting point about the car: We drove the S-Class over 350km and didn’t hold back, nor dip into Eco mode once, but it surprised us by delivering 9.9L/100km. For what it’s worth, that’s pretty efficient for a luxo barge, so Merc’s EQ tech really does seem to work. 

Competition and Pricing

The S-Class’ two long-time rivals are the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8. The 7 Series was facelifted in 2019, and remains the most thrilling luxury limo to drive. The A8 didn’t make a huge bang with its new version in 2018, but the active suspension setup has cured all its problems and made it tremendously refined and even fun to drive. There’s also the Lexus LS, which was facelifted just last year and has a LS 600h hybrid model, though we’ve not tested that model here in Singapore. 

The S-Class has also become a little less accessible, since there’s no longer an entry S 320 L model (used to be around S$400k), but for the half-million bucks you do get a lot of standard equipment. Yet, the S-Class being what it is, if you really do want one you’ve probably already put the money down, as the long waitlist shows.


As tested, the S 450 L is a seriously impressive machine that makes us rethink in-car tech, but also manages to blend old and new into a beautiful cabin that’s almost steam-punk.

While it can’t drive for you just yet (see box), the S-Class offers a peek into that world with the amount of support it gives you. You’ll (probably) never hit a pillar while parking, have a fender bender, or whack a cyclist while in an S-Class, you’ll always arrive comfortable, never be lost, and no FOMO from being disconnected at the wheel. The ergonomic quibbles aside, in that sense it’s a car with a heart of gold since it has the best intentions for you.

Mercedes-Benz S 450 L 

Engine 2,999cc, inline 6, turbocharged 
Power367hp at 5500-6100rpm
Torque500Nm at 1600-4500rpm 
Gearbox9-speed automatic 
Electric Motor22hp/250Nm
BatteryLithium Ion, unknown kWh
System PowerNot stated
System Torque Not stated
0-100km/h5.1 seconds
Top Speed250km/h
Fuel Efficiency8.5 L/100km 
VES Band / ??C2 / +S$20,000
AgentCycle & Carriage 
PriceS$502,888 with COE and VES
Availability Now


about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong