2020 Lexus LS Series vs. 2020 Mercedes S-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The LS Series has standard Secondary Collision Brake, 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The LS Series has a standard Auto-Stop that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S-Class doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the LS Series 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.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the LS Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the S-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the S-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The LS Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the S-Class’ (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 21st.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the LS Series gets better mileage than the S-Class running its gasoline engine:

MPG

LS Series

RWD

500h 3.5 V6 Hybrid

25 city/33 hwy

500 3.4 turbo V6

19 city/30 hwy

AWD

500h 3.5 V6 Hybrid

23 city/31 hwy

500 3.4 turbo V6

18 city/27 hwy

S-Class

RWD

560e 3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

21 city/26 hwy

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/28 hwy

560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy

6.0 turbo V12

13 city/21 hwy

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/28 hwy

560 4.0 turbo V8

17 city/27 hwy

560 Maybach 4.0 turbo V8

16 city/25 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the LS Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The S-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus LS Series as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mercedes S-Class is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus LS Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the S-Class.

The LS 500h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The S-Class doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

LS Series F-Sport

S 450/560

S 650

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

14.6 inches

15.4 inches

The LS Series stops shorter than the S-Class:

LS Series

S-Class

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the LS Series has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the S-Class.

Suspension and Handling

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The LS Series F-Sport offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The S-Class doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The LS Series 500 F Sport handles at .88 G’s, while the S 560 pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The LS 500 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S 560 (25.7 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the LS Series’ turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the S 450/560’s (36.8 feet vs. 40.4 feet). The LS Series AWD’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the S 450/560’s (39.4 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

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The LS Series uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The S-Class doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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Consumer Reports rated the LS Series’ headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the S-Class’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the LS Series has standard extendable sun visors. The S-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the LS Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the LS Series will cost $1195 to $9190 less than the S-Class over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus LS Series will be $14069 to $130448 less than for the Mercedes S-Class.

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

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