2019 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2018 Bentley Mulsanne

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S-Class’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The rear seatbelts optional on the S-Class inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The S-Class has standard NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S-Class has standard Active Brake Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Mulsanne doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The S-Class offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the S-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The S-Class’ lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The S-Class offers an optional Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Mulsanne only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the S-Class’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The S-Class’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The S-Class has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the S-Class and the Mulsanne have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The S-Class comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Mulsanne’s 3-year basic warranty expires 1 year sooner.

The S-Class’ corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Mulsanne’s (5 vs. 3 years).

There are over 8 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Bentley dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the S-Class’ warranty.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the S-Class have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Mulsanne.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S-Class third among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Mulsanne isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The AMG S 65/Maybach S 650’s 6.0 turbo V12 produces 91 more horsepower (621 vs. 530) than the Mulsanne Speed’s optional 6.8 turbo V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the S 560 is faster than the Mulsanne Speed:

 

S-Class

Mulsanne

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

13.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107.7 MPH

103.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S-Class gets better fuel mileage than the Bentley Mulsanne:

 

 

S-Class

Mulsanne

 

RWD

450/Auto

19 city/28 hwy

n/a

 

 

560/Auto

17 city/27 hwy

11 city/18 hwy

V8/Auto

 

AMG 65/Auto

13 city/22 hwy

n/a

 

 

Maybach 650/Auto

13 city/21 hwy

n/a

 

AWD

450/Auto

18 city/28 hwy

n/a

 

 

560/Auto

17 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

 

AMG 63/Auto

17 city/26 hwy

n/a

 

 

Maybach 560/Auto

16 city/25 hwy

n/a

 

Regenerative brakes improve the S-Class Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mulsanne doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes S-Class higher (3 to 5 out of 10) than the Bentley Mulsanne (1). This means the S-Class produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Mulsanne every 15,000 miles.

The EPA certifies the Mercedes S-Class as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Bentley Mulsanne is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is available on the Mercedes S-Class, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Mulsanne.

The S-Class 63/65’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S 63/65’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Mulsanne:

 

S 63/65

Mulsanne

Front Rotors

16.5 inches

15.7 inches

The S-Class S 63/65 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

The S 63’s 285/35R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mulsanne’s optional 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the S-Class can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The S-Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Bentley doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Mulsanne.

The S-Class’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S-Class is 1.1 inches wider in the front than the track on the Mulsanne.

The S-Class handles at .88 G’s, while the Mulsanne pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S 600 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Mulsanne (25.8 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S AMG S 65’s turning circle is 4.2 feet tighter than the Mulsanne’s (38.1 feet vs. 42.3 feet). The S 450/560’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Mulsanne’s (40.4 feet vs. 42.3 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes S-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1000 to 1350 pounds less than the Bentley Mulsanne.

The S-Class is shorter than the Mulsanne, making the S-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces:

 

S-Class

Mulsanne

SWB Sedan

206.9 inches

219.5 inches

LWB Sedan

215 inches

229.3 inches

For excellent aerodynamics, the S-Class has standard flush composite headlights. The Mulsanne has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

The S-Class has 6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mulsanne (112 vs. 106).

The S-Class has 4.2 inches more front shoulder room and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mulsanne.

Cargo Capacity

The S-Class has a larger trunk than the Mulsanne (16.3 vs. 15.6 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S-Class easier. The S-Class’ trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the Mulsanne’s liftover is 29.8 inches.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S-Class’ available trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The S-Class has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the S-Class to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the S-Class has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

Standard smartphone integration for the S-Class allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, searching the internet and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The S-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Mulsanne doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Mercedes S-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Bentley Mulsanne isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes S-Class, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mercedes S-Class outsold the Bentley Mulsanne by over 162 to one during 2017.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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