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Historically speaking, engineering an S-Class was claimed to have been without regard to cost, which was valid through the W140. In the 1990s, overbudgeting ceased once DaimlerChrysler was running the show, and the subsequent W220 chassis S-Class suffered from lower reliability. Things have improved, however, in the W221 and W222, but not so much in the W223 model 2023 Mercedes-Benz S500.

2023 Mercedes-Benz S500 quality

Let’s be honest; reliability is probably lower on the list for an S-Class potential buyer than most. But that’s because the S-Class offers so many innovative features that other models don’t have. The brand’s flagship sedan provides increasingly lavish optional extras on top of an already well-appointed five-seater passenger car. A 3D gauge cluster, cabin air fragrance, multiple wireless charging points, and even a 30-speaker surround-sound audio system are available.

As the test bed of the Mercedes-Benz Group’s top-tier research and development department, the S-Class has all the innovative features potential buyers crave. That includes the most comfortable seats, the best resolution infotainment systems, and even driver’s assistance features some may say are unnecessary. Despite the presumed state-of-the-art features, a bevy of powerful engines, and the S-Class look, does it say anything about longevity?

Does that quality equate to reliability?

J.D. Power establishes a trend that seems to refute common assumptions about S-Class reliability. In 2007, the last year of DaimlerChrysler oversight, the W221 S-Class had a reliability rating of 88 out of 100. In 2015, the successor W222 received a score of 81. But that was quickly improved upon in the 2018 and 2019 model years with a reliability score of 84—despite the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) issuing a combined 25 recalls.  

The current W223 platform tells a different story. The 2022 S-Class scored just 79 out of 100. It’s the same with the 2023 Mercedes-Benz S500, with a reliability score unmoved from 79. Regarding recalls, the NHTSA has yet to issue any on the brand-new S-Class. Yet, the 2022 and 2021 model years have a combined 18.

Lower reliability ratings wouldn’t be such an issue if the S-Class were stacking up against subcompact economy car standards. Predictably, though, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz S500 has a very high starting MSRP. With a cost north of $114,000, knowing that a car won’t have a high ownership cost would be useful. Again, it may not be the biggest concern for the S-Class faithful, but it still presents an issue no one enjoys dealing with.

Is a Mercedes S-Class expensive to maintain?

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S500 is not really a reliable car
2023 Mercedes-Benz S500 | Mercedes-Benz Group

It isn’t wrong to think the 2023 Mercedes-Benz S500 will be expensive to maintain; the S-Class usually is. CarEdge reports that an S-Class owner will spend, on average, $12,306 during the first 10 years of ownership on maintenance and repair costs. That’s not including gas, insurance, taxes, or even the monthly car note, which are also astronomically high.

The automotive research outlet says the figure is roughly $345 more than the industry average. But the S-Class does clean up in expected chances for major repairs. During the first decade of ownership, there’s a 31.57% chance a major repair will be required, 7.99% better than other luxury sedans.

In terms of reliability, the S-Class may do fairly well in the first 10 years of ownership. However, the chance of a significant repair doubles in year 12, long after the warranty runs out in year 5. Nevertheless, long-term reliability means something different for S-Class buyers than it does for those looking for a Toyota Camry. While you can call the 2023 Mercedes-Benz S500 a reliable large luxury car, you probably can’t deem it a reliable car.  


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