2019 Mercedes S-Class vs. 2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Rolls-Royce Phantom doesn’t offer height-adjustable 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 Phantom doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

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

Both the S-Class and the Phantom have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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 night vision systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The S-Class’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Phantom’s (5 vs. 4 years).

There are almost 11 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Rolls-Royce 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 Phantom isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The AMG S 63’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 40 more horsepower (603 vs. 563) than the Phantom’s 6.8 turbo V12. The AMG S 65/Maybach S 650’s standard 6.0 turbo V12 produces 58 more horsepower (621 vs. 563) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (738 vs. 664) than the Phantom’s 6.8 turbo V12.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

S-Class

Phantom

 

RWD

450/Auto

19 city/28 hwy

n/a

 

 

560/Auto

17 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

 

AMG 65/Auto

13 city/22 hwy

n/a

 

 

Maybach 650/Auto

13 city/21 hwy

12 city/20 hwy

V12/Auto

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

 

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 Phantom 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 Phantom 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 Phantom doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

For more complete vehicle control the S-Class has Touch Shift, with the available convenience of an automatic transmission and the complete gear control of a manual transmission without the inconvenience of a clutch. Touch Shift allows the driver to eliminate unwanted shifts and maximize engine braking by down shifting while cornering. The Phantom doesn’t offer a transmission that allows complete gear control.

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 Phantom.

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 Phantom doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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 Phantom doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

Tires and Wheels

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 Phantom’s optional 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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 Phantom doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the S AMG S 65’s turning circle is 4.8 feet tighter than the Phantom’s (38.1 feet vs. 42.9 feet). The S 450/560’s turning circle is 4.8 feet tighter than the Phantom EWB’s (40.4 feet vs. 45.2 feet).

Chassis

The Mercedes S-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 750 to 1100 pounds less than the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

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

 

S-Class

Phantom

SWB Sedan

206.9 inches

227.2 inches

LWB Sedan

215 inches

235.8 inches

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

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 Phantom 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 Phantom 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 Phantom doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

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 Phantom doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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 Phantom 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 Phantom doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

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

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

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