2019 Volvo S90 vs. 2019 Mercedes S-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the S90 and S-Class have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The S-Class’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Volvo S90 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. Mercedes doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the S-Class. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; S90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The S90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The S-Class doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the S90 and the S-Class 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, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S-Class has not been tested, yet.


The S90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the S-Class’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the S-Class.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the S 450 4MATIC (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 18 city/28 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the S 450 4MATIC (26 city/33 hwy vs. 18 city/28 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 gets better fuel mileage than the S-Class:








T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/35 hwy



T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy



T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy




450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/28 hwy



560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy



AMG 65 6.0 turbo V12

13 city/22 hwy



Maybach 650 6.0 turbo V12

13 city/21 hwy



450 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/28 hwy



560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy



AMG 63 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/26 hwy



Maybach 560 4.0 turbo V8

16 city/25 hwy

The S90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The S-Class must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the S90’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Mercedes only offers a regenerative brake system on the S-Class Hybrid.

The S90 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The S-Class doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The S90 stops much shorter than the S-Class:





70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The S90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S-Class’ standard 50 series tires. The S90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the S 63’s 40 series front tires.

The S90 T5/T6 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the S-Class; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the S-Class don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

The S90 T6 Momentum handles at .90 G’s, while the S-Class pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.


The Volvo S90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 700 pounds less than the Mercedes S-Class.

The S90 is 6.8 inches shorter than the S-Class, making the S90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The S90 has .8 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom and 6.3 inches more rear legroom than the S-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The S90’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S-Class doesn’t offer folding rear seats.


The S90 has a 3700 lbs. towing capacity. The S-Class has no towing capacity.


In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S90 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The S-Class doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the S90 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S90 will cost $1830 to $10740 less than the S-Class over a five-year period.

The S90 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S90 will retain 39.02% to 41.61% of its original price after five years, while the S-Class only retains 32.06% to 35.71%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo S90 will be $42931 to $99075 less than for the Mercedes S-Class.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the S90 third among midsize premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The S-Class isn’t in the top three in its category.

The S90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The S-Class hasn’t been picked since 2008.

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

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