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2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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$1,571 — $16,595 USED
7
Photos
Sedan
4-5 Seats
15-22 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Performance in S600
  • Luxury amenities
  • Stability
  • Refinement
  • Resale value

The Bad

  • Price
  • Fuel economy
  • Control layout and complexity

What to Know

about the 2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Three potent powertrain choices
  • RWD layout
  • Stylish two-door profile
  • Mercedes-Benz pedigree
  • New seven-speed automatic

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2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Like its two-door CL-Class coupe sibling, the ultra-luxury Mercedes-Benz S-Class rear-wheel-drive sedan gained two potent new engines for 2003. A supercharged 5.5-liter V-8 generates 493 horsepower in the S55 AMG. The twin-turbo V-12 in the S600 produces the same output. An available Pre-Safe system can recognize an impending impact before it occurs so that it can adjust the seats to the safest position and activate seat belt pretensioners.

Four versions of Mercedes-Benz’s largest, most costly sedan are available. The S430 has a 4.3-liter V-8 engine; the S500 holds a 5.0-liter V-8; and the S600 carries a 5.5-liter V-12. Performance-oriented buyers may choose the S55 AMG, which features a supercharged 493-hp V-8, a sport suspension, larger tires and aerodynamic body trim.

A new seven-speed-automatic transmission that replaces the previous five-speed unit goes into S430 and S500 sedans for 2004. A DVD-based navigation system and MP3 play capability become standard. During 2003, new 4Matic all-wheel-drive versions of the S430 and S500 went on sale.

Exterior
Mercedes-Benz describes the S-Class as a sedan with a coupelike profile that is highlighted by a low nose and taller tail. A laid-back grille and smooth underbody improve airflow, which keeps the sedan’s coefficient of drag at a low 0.27.

With its sport suspension, racy aerodynamic body trim and 18-inch tires on Monoblock alloy wheels, the S55 AMG is ready for high-speed travel. Both the ultimate-luxury S...

Vehicle Overview
Like its two-door CL-Class coupe sibling, the ultra-luxury Mercedes-Benz S-Class rear-wheel-drive sedan gained two potent new engines for 2003. A supercharged 5.5-liter V-8 generates 493 horsepower in the S55 AMG. The twin-turbo V-12 in the S600 produces the same output. An available Pre-Safe system can recognize an impending impact before it occurs so that it can adjust the seats to the safest position and activate seat belt pretensioners.

Four versions of Mercedes-Benz’s largest, most costly sedan are available. The S430 has a 4.3-liter V-8 engine; the S500 holds a 5.0-liter V-8; and the S600 carries a 5.5-liter V-12. Performance-oriented buyers may choose the S55 AMG, which features a supercharged 493-hp V-8, a sport suspension, larger tires and aerodynamic body trim.

A new seven-speed-automatic transmission that replaces the previous five-speed unit goes into S430 and S500 sedans for 2004. A DVD-based navigation system and MP3 play capability become standard. During 2003, new 4Matic all-wheel-drive versions of the S430 and S500 went on sale.

Exterior
Mercedes-Benz describes the S-Class as a sedan with a coupelike profile that is highlighted by a low nose and taller tail. A laid-back grille and smooth underbody improve airflow, which keeps the sedan’s coefficient of drag at a low 0.27.

With its sport suspension, racy aerodynamic body trim and 18-inch tires on Monoblock alloy wheels, the S55 AMG is ready for high-speed travel. Both the ultimate-luxury S600 and the S55 AMG have Active Body Control that continuously adjusts suspension firmness to eliminate body roll during cornering, acceleration and braking.

Interior
Fitted with a three-place rear bench, the S-Class seats five people. A split rear bench with power adjustments is optional. The front seats have 14-way power adjustments and head restraints that can serve as pillows. Full leather upholstery and a Bose audio system are standard.

Befitting its price, the S600 gets four heated power seats and a higher level of wood and leather trim. Radar-based Distronic Adaptive Cruise Control is optional.

Under the Hood
Mercedes-Benz offers three V-8 engines and a V-12. The S430 holds a 275-hp, 4.3-liter V-8, while the S500 gets a 302-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. The high-performance S55 AMG uses a 493-hp, supercharged 5.5-liter V-8. The S600 sedan carries a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-12 that delivers 493 hp and 590 pounds-feet of torque. A new seven-speed-automatic transmission goes into rear-wheel-drive S430 and S500 sedans, while the S55 AMG, S600, and 4Matic-equipped S430 and S500 sedans use a five-speed automatic.

Safety
Side-impact airbags are installed in each door. Side curtain-type airbags in the front and rear deploy from the roofline to protect occupants’ heads. An Electronic Stability Program combines traction control with lateral-skid control technology.

Driving Impressions
Loaded with technology, the S-Class is a smooth and supremely capable cruiser that may initially be marred by a slight sense of detachment; but that sensation soon eases. Despite its bounty of alluring attributes, the steering seems just a little too light.

Even in the S500, performance approaches the level of stunning, and automatic-transmission response qualifies as masterful. Even though the ride is smooth, the S500 hits a few bumps rather hard. In fast curves, the big sedan stays remarkably upright.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 9/26/03

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
30 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

I loved this car

by TBay from Newark, NJ on August 30, 2020

I bought this car pre owned with 84k miles on it in 2010. The car was in immaculate condition inside and out. I was sold on it during the test drive. The ride is pure class and quality with every ... Read full review

(5.0)

The only car inspired by Almighty God.

by The S Man from Carson, California on July 15, 2020

Truly, the S class Mercedes is "God-Inspired" because of its many safety features along with its futuristic controls & beauty. What used to be in the Rolls Royce is now improved in the Mercedes S500. ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class currently has 5 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The S-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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