2020 Porsche Panamera vs. 2020 Mercedes S-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Panamera and S-Class have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Panamera offers optional 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.

Both the Panamera 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 seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

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

Engine

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The Panamera has more powerful engines than the S-Class:

Horsepower

Panamera 4S 2.9 turbo V6

440 HP

Panamera GTS 4.0 turbo V8

453 HP

Panamera 4 E-Hybrid 2.9 turbo V6

457 HP

Panamera Turbo 4.0 turbo V8

550 HP

Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid 4.0 turbo V8

677 HP

S 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

S 560 4.0 turbo V8

463 HP

S 560e 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid

469 HP

Maybach S 650 6.0 turbo V12

621 HP

As tested in Car and Driver the Porsche Panamera (base engine) is faster than the S 560:

Panamera

S-Class

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

4.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

7.5 sec

7.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.3 sec

13.4 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the Panamera’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Mercedes only offers a regenerative brake system on the S-Class 560e.

Transmission

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The Panamera offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The S-Class doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The Panamera’s optional 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 S-Class doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Panamera’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the S-Class:

Panamera E-Hybrid/GTS

Panamera Turbo

Panamera

S 450/560

S 650

Front Rotors

15.4 inches

16.1 inches

16.5 inches

14.6 inches

15.4 inches

Rear Rotors

14.4 inches

15 inches

16.1 inches

14.2 inches

14.2 inches

The Panamera 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 S-Class doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The Panamera stops much shorter than the S-Class:

Panamera

S-Class

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

101 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Panamera has larger standard tires than the S-Class (F:265/45R19 & R:295/40R19 vs. 245/50R18). The Panamera’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S-Class (F:275/40R20 & R:315/35R20 vs. F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19).

The Panamera’s standard 265/45R19 front and 295/40R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series front and 40 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S-Class’ standard 50 series tires. The Panamera’s optional 275/35R21 front and 315/30R21 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the S-Class’ optional 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Panamera has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the S-Class. The Panamera’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the S-Class.

Suspension and Handling

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The Panamera 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.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Panamera is 1.6 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the S-Class.

The Panamera 4S handles at 1.01 G’s, while the S 560 pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Panamera Turbo executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.6 seconds quicker than the S 560 (23.9 seconds @ .86 average G’s vs. 26.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Panamera w/Rear Axle Steering’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the S 450/560’s (37.4 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Porsche Panamera may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 400 pounds less than the Mercedes S-Class.

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

Panamera

S-Class

SWB 4dr Hatchback

198.8 inches

206.9 inches

LWB 4dr Hatchback

204.7 inches

215 inches

The front grille of the Panamera uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Panamera offers available 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.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Panamera Turbo is quieter than the S 560 (64 vs. 67 dB).

Cargo Capacity

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

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Porsche service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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The Panamera’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The S-Class does not have an oil pressure gauge.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Panamera offers an optional rear wiper. The S-Class doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

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

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