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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia K900 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
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 K900 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.
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 K900 doesn’t offer a night vision system.
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 K900 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 K900 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The S-Class’ 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the K900 runs out after 100,000 miles.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the S-Class third among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The K900 isn’t in the top three in its category.
The S 560’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 98 more horsepower (463 vs. 365) and 140 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 376) than the K900’s 3.3 turbo V6. The AMG S 63’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 238 more horsepower (603 vs. 365) and 288 lbs.-ft. more torque (664 vs. 376) than the K900’s 3.3 turbo V6. The AMG S 65/Maybach S 650’s standard 6.0 turbo V12 produces 256 more horsepower (621 vs. 365) and 362 lbs.-ft. more torque (738 vs. 376) than the K900’s 3.3 turbo V6.
On the EPA test cycle the S 450 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the K900 (18 city/28 hwy vs. 18 city/25 hwy).
An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the S-Class 560/63’s fuel efficiency. The K900 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.
Regenerative brakes improve the S-Class Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The K900 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
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 K900.
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 K900 doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the S-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the K900:
The S-Class’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the K900 are solid, not vented.
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 K900 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.
For better traction, the S 63’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the K900 (F:255/40R20 & R:285/35R20 vs. F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19).
The S 63’s 255/40R20 front and 285/35R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the K900’s 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S 63 has standard 20-inch wheels. The K900’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
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 K900 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the K900, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.
The S-Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Kia doesn’t offer an active suspension on the K900.
The S-Class has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The K900 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
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 K900 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 2.4 inches longer than on the K900 (124.6 inches vs. 122.2 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 10.3 inches longer than on the K900 (132.5 inches vs. 122.2 inches).
The S-Class has 2 cubic foot more passenger volume than the K900 (112 vs. 110).
The S-Class has .7 inches more front shoulder room and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the K900.
The S-Class has a much larger trunk than the K900 (16.3 vs. 15 cubic feet).
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 42% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.
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 K900 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 K900 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.
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 K900 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Mercedes S-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Kia K900 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.
The S-Class is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The K900 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes S-Class, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Mercedes S-Class outsold the Kia K900 by almost 43 to one during the 2018 model year.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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