• (4.8) 21 reviews
  • Available Prices: $2,363–$13,975
  • Body Style: Sedan
  • Combined MPG: 15-22
  • Engine: 275-hp, 4.3-liter V-8 (premium)
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel Drive
  • Transmission: 5-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Our Take on the Latest Model 2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

What We Don't Like

  • Price
  • Fuel economy
  • Control layout and complexity

Notable Features

  • Three potent powertrain choices
  • RWD layout
  • Stylish two-door profile
  • Mercedes-Benz pedigree
  • New seven-speed automatic

2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Reviews

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.

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.

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.

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


Average based on 21 reviews

Write a Review

Nicest car.ive ever owned

by Mike h from Aurora ill. on August 31, 2017

Most reliable car I've ever Owned nice looking clean drives good looks nice good motor nice interior quiet engine good takeoff

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6 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class trim comparison will help you decide.

2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports


There are currently 6 recalls for this car.

Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,800 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

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