2019 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2019 Lexus LS Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 LS Series 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 LS Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 LS Series doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the S-Class and the LS Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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.

Reliability

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

Engine

The S-Class has more powerful engines than the LS 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.

LS 500h 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid

354 HP

n/a

LS 500 3.4 turbo V6

416 HP

442 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the S 560 is faster than the LS 500:

 

S-Class

LS Series

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.1 sec

6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

3.5 sec

4.3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.5 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

109.4 MPH

103 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S 450 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the LS 500 AWD (18 city/28 hwy vs. 18 city/27 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 LS 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 only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the LS Series Hybrid.

The S-Class V12’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the LS Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 22.2 gallons).

Transmission

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 LS Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

S 450/560

S 63/65

LS Series

LS Series F-Sport

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

16.5 inches

14 inches

15.7 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

13.1 inches

14.1 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 LS Series doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The S-Class stops shorter than the LS Series:

 

S-Class

LS Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S 63’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the LS Series (F:255/40R20 & R:285/35R20 vs. F:245/45R20 & R:275/40R20).

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 LS Series F Sport’s 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the LS 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 LS Series.

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 LS Series doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the LS Series (124.6 inches vs. 123 inches). The Maybach S-Class’ wheelbase is 9.5 inches longer than on the LS Series (132.5 inches vs. 123 inches).

The S 600 handles at .90 G’s, while the LS 500 AWD pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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

The S-Class has 12.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the LS Series (112 vs. 99.4).

The S-Class has 2.4 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, .9 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the LS Series.

Ergonomics

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 LS 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 LS Series 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 LS Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes S-Class, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Lexus LS Series isn't recommended.

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

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

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