2019 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2019 Lexus GS Series

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 GS Series 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 GS Series doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The S-Class offers an optional Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The GS Series 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.

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 GS Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S-Class and the GS Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, night vision systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Mercedes S-Class weighs 441 to 1291 pounds more than the Lexus GS Series. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

There are over 59 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the S-Class’ warranty.

Engine

The S-Class has more powerful engines than the GS Series:

 

Horsepower

Torque

S 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

S 560 4.0 turbo V8

463 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

AMG S 63 4.0 turbo V8

603 HP

664 lbs.-ft.

AMG S 65/Maybach S 650 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

738 lbs.-ft.

GS 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

GS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the S 560 is faster than the Lexus GS Series:

 

S-Class

GS 350

GS 450h

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5.5 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

14 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107.7 MPH

100.9 MPH

101.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S 450 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the GS 350 AWD (18 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/26 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 GS Series doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regardless of its engine, the S-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lexus doesn’t offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the GS Series.

The S-Class’ standard fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the GS Series (21.1 vs. 17.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The S-Class V12’s standard fuel tank has 7.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the GS Series (24.6 vs. 17.4 gallons).

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 GS Series.

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 GS Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the GS Series:

 

S 450/560

S 63/65

GS Series

GS Series F Sport

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

16.5 inches

13.1 inches

14 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 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 GS Series doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The S-Class stops shorter than the GS Series:

 

S-Class

GS Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S-Class has larger standard tires than the GS Series (245/50R18 vs. 235/45R18). The S 63’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GS Series (F:255/40R20 & R:285/35R20 vs. F:235/40R19 & R:265/35R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S-Class has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the GS 300. The S 63’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the GS Series.

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 GS Series doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the GS Series, 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. Lexus doesn’t offer an active suspension on the GS Series.

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 GS Series 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 GS Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 12.4 inches longer than on the GS Series (124.6 inches vs. 112.2 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 20.3 inches longer than on the GS Series (132.5 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S-Class is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GS Series.

The S 600 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GS 350 (25.8 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .72 average G’s).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the S 560 is quieter than the GS 350 (75 vs. 79 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the S-Class a Large car, while the GS Series is rated a Mid-size.

The S-Class has 13 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GS Series (112 vs. 99).

The S-Class has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the GS Series.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the S-Class’ available rear seats recline. The GS Series’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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 GS Series doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the S-Class to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Lexus doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the GS Series.

Ergonomics

The S-Class’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The GS Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 GS Series 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 GS Series doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

Optional air conditioned front and rear seats keep the S-Class’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The GS Series doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The S-Class has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The GS Series doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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 GS Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S-Class is less expensive to operate than the GS Series because typical repairs cost much less on the S-Class than the GS Series, including $150 less for a starter, $279 less for fuel injection, $1402 less for a timing belt/chain and $44 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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

The Mercedes S-Class outsold the Lexus GS Series by over two to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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