Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option?

Shaun · Apr 25, 2022 09:00 AM

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 01

  • Sole variant in Malaysia, and it's a PHEV
  • Electric driving range of up to 100 km
  • Misses out on a few bells and whistles

Yes, this is a hybrid, as denoted by the ‘e’ suffix. While Malaysians shrug when they hear the word ‘hybrid’, yours truly thinks the 2022 (W223) Mercedes-Benz S-Class might actually be better off as one.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 02

Think about it, what do you associate with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class? Comfort? Quietness? Luxury? An electric motor enhances all of them with silent, effortless acceleration.

But the S-Class is not just about comfort and luxury - it represents the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz with pioneering features, setting the company’s direction for the upcoming generation of cars.

Also read: All-new (W223) 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class launched in Malaysia; PHEV only, 510 PS/750 Nm

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 01

This latest W223-generation S-Class then, is the most technologically-advanced Mercedes-Benz yet. Is that enough to make it the default choice for a full-size luxury sedan? Let’s dig in.

Also read: W223 Mercedes-Benz S580e: Price confirmed at RM 698,744

Exterior – Less overt, more covert

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 02

With slimmer headlamps, taillamps, and cleaner body lines than the previous W222-generation S-Class, the current W223 S-Class appears less imposing than its predecessor. Buyers who prefer a more discreet design will be able to appreciate it, while the shouty ones can wait for the new G70 BMW 7 Series.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 03

Now that the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range makes do without the hood ornament, its presence on the S-Class adds a sense of exclusivity. Other things that make the S-Class feel special are the taillights with layered LED sticks that fade in sequence upon shutting off, and the three-pointed star projected on the ground during the dark.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 04

The flush door handles that pop out upon key detection also feels exclusive and adds a sense of occasion. That is, until it fails to unlock – perhaps the key isn’t detected in close proximity at times – and you’re left pulling the handle. 

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 05

Sometimes it gets confused and retracts, and there’s no button to manually pop out the handles. It’s a novelty that can quickly become annoying.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 06

As for the rest of the exterior, I have no further complaints. The 19-inch wheels may look a little malnourished but I would personally take the extra sidewall any day for the added pliancy.

Interior – Missing a few finishing sprinkles

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 07

Inside, it’s a tech fest, as you would expect from every generation of S-Class. It’s this S-Class that introduced touch-sensitive buttons in place of physical ones and eventually found their way to other Mercedes-Benz models.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 08

Personally, the haptics don’t feel as tactile or satisfying as traditional buttons. Plus, it’s a hit or miss when it comes to registering directional inputs on the steering wheel controls, and this phenomenon has been trickled down to the E-Class and C-Class. All current Mercedes-Benz models with capacitive steering wheel suffer from this as well.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 09

There are a number of cool features (some might say gimmicks) that you will discover as time passes, like the 3D effect on the instrument cluster or augmented-reality enhanced navigation system. But unlike the ones in international markets with Head-up Display, it’s displayed on the infotainment screen.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 10

Which leads me onto the things our Malaysian-spec S-Class also misses out on. First up, the 31-speaker 1,750-watt Burmester 4D sound system, identifiable by the silver tweeter cover on the A-pillar. We get the 16-speaker 760-watt Burmester system that sounds no better than the one in the E-Class.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 11

It also misses out on ventilation function for the front seats (there’s heating but we’re in Malaysia) and rear-axle steering. The omission of such features makes the S-Class feel incomplete.

Perhaps I’m being overly-critical, but this is the S-Class we’re talking about here, is the best now reserved for the Maybach?

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 12

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 13

Put those aside, the interior is a lovely place to be in. Everything from the design to selection of materials are well executed. The screens are crisp and relatively easy to use if you’re familiar with the newer MBUX systems. The climate control is as straightforward as it gets with no trouble making adjustments on the move.

Driving Experience – Why the hybrid works

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 14

This isn’t the first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) S-Class, the previous facelifted W222-generation S-Class was available with the S560e. But the hybrid system in the W222 S560e wasn’t well-integrated; there was a massive protrusion in the boot and it didn’t cope well with the added weight.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 15

Boot space is rated at 330 litres

In this W223 Mercedes-Benz S580e however, it’s designed with electrification from the get-go. For starters, the boot floor is completely flat albeit on the shallow side. Battery size is now at a rather massive 28.6 kWh. To put that into perspective, the fully-electric MINI Cooper SE has a 28.9 kWh battery pack.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 16

What this means is that the S580e can be used like an EV. And no, you can’t really say that about most of the other PHEVs with an average all-electric range of around 30 km. The S580e on the other hand, can make round trips without juicing up the battery in between (Mercedes claims an all-electric range of up to 100 km).

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 17

It has proper regenerative braking that can be controlled via the paddle shifters or left in automatic mode, which uses the camera and radars to control the car’s speed depending on surrounding traffic. But it can be little jerky when the system juggles between regen braking and the actual brakes as it comes to a stop, so don’t be too harsh on your driver for this.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 18

Should the engine come to live, the transition is seamless but the 9-speed automatic transmission isn’t always so. There’s still the occasional judder which I thought Mercedes-Benz would’ve ironed out by now. The straight-six engine is buttery-smooth at least.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 19

0-100 km/h takes 5.6 seconds on average

Performance wise, the hybrid powertrain makes the S580e stonkingly quick for a 2.4-tonne machine. But that’s obviously not the point, it’s the effortless nature in which the S580e accelerates whether it’s in electric mode or otherwise. It’s what luxury is all about, having excess power in reserve.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 20

A more surprising aspect would be how the S580e handles. Not that it’s a priority for cars like the S-Class, but it’s reassuring to know that it manages its weight commendably and keeps things superbly composed. It can be hustled along at eye-opening speeds and doesn’t feel like it’s out of its depth. 

The BMW 7 Series is still a more precise and tauter car to drive but then again, it’s not particularly relevant to full-size luxury sedans.

Ride Comfort – Nothing less from an S-Class

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 21

Luxury sedans are all about isolating and cocooning the occupants from the harshness on the road and noises from the outside world. And the W223 Mercedes-Benz S580e does exactly that. If you’ve experienced previous generations of the S-Class, this isn’t exactly revolutionary.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 22

The air suspension floats over minor lumps and bumps, giving a fluid ride in general. Though tricky surfaces do feel a little nuggety, perhaps more than it should but it’s far from intrusive. Rolling refinement is top notch, in a sense that vibrations are well-damped and feels like it’s gliding on butter at parking speeds.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 23

The front seats are rather massive, almost like an arm chair. There are plenty of adjustments for lumbar and thigh support to get really comfortable. This is perhaps one of the very few seats in the Mercedes-Benz range that my back has no qualms with. It seems my back has an expensive taste.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 24

At the rear is where the S580e shines, as one would expect. Seats are plush, nicely sculptured, and has more adjustments than some cars have on their front seats. On the passenger side (where the boss would usually sit, diagonally from the driver), there’s calf support that can be extended to stretch out your legs, with massage function as well. It’s nothing short of first class.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 25

Noise insulating materials in the wheel well.

In terms of noise isolation, the W223 Mercedes-Benz S580e has earned the top spot for the quietest car we’ve ever tested. Every source of noise is kept to a minimum, whether it’s the powertrain, tyres, or exterior noises. I suspect if a car gets any quieter, it would be nauseating due to the disorientation with the car’s movement.

2022 (W223) Mercedes-Benz S-Class - Cabin Noise Test
Idle, A/C on 40 dB
60 km/h 54 dB
90 km/h 58 dB
110 km/h 61 dB

Fuel Consumption

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 26

As a PHEV, this is a highly variable result. The test was conducted on the basis that it’s used as a regular non-plug-in hybrid, which means no plugging in.

At the start of the test, battery percentage was at 18 percent when the fuel tank was brimmed. After a 119 km journey with an average speed of 36 km/h and a remaining charge at 1 percent, it required 11.5 litres to brim the tank once again.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 27

Working out the numbers, the 2022 (W223) Mercedes-Benz S580e’s fuel consumption is calculated at 9.7-litre/100 km. But as mentioned earlier, this is a highly variable result depending on charging habits.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 28

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 29

Top: Charging at home (3-pin)
Bottom: Charging at EVSE

Myself without an EV charger at home, charging was painfully slow (at 1.7 kW) and managed only 60 percent charge overnight. The S580e's onboard charger allows up to 11 kW AC charging, which is quite impressive for a PHEV and can theoretically fully charge the battery from depletion in under three hours.

Also read: Confused by EV terms? Here's everything you need to know

Conclusion

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 30

The 2022 (W223) Mercedes-Benz S-Class hasn’t moved the luxury limo game to new heights in terms of comfort and isolation, perhaps that is reserved for the Maybach. In terms tech however, it has introduced a few notable features like augmented reality and frontal airbag for the rear passengers. Knowing the history of the S-Class, these features could find its way into other cars.

Also read: This world-first safety feature by Mercedes-Benz should be introduced in every car

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 31

Back to the question, should this Mercedes-Benz S-Class be the default choice in its class? Well, if you look at the outgoing G12 BMW 7 Series, its interior looks archaic in comparison and if you look at the upcoming 2023 (G70) BMW 7 Series, you’d want to look back at the S-Class immediately.

Also read: 20 photos to help you decide if the 2023 (G70) BMW 7 Series is forward-looking or just ugly

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 32

Other options like the Lexus LS, Audi A8, or even the Jaguar XJ aren’t as competitively priced. So yes, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the obvious choice at the moment in Malaysia.

Review: 2022 (W223/V223) Mercedes-Benz S580e – Still the default luxury option? 33

There’s only one variant for now – the PHEV S580e and I think it’s a good decision by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia. It’s not just the tax incentives, but the electrification itself that actually enhances the S-Class experience. It’s a shame we don’t get all the toys seen in overseas markets but if you insist, there’s the Maybach.

Also read: If you have to ask how much, you can't afford the RM 2 mil price - 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S580 (Z223)

Shaun

Writer

The quest for automotive knowledge began as soon as the earliest memories. Various sources information, even questionable ones, have been explored including video games, television, magazines, or even internet forums. Still stuck in that rabbit hole.

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