Why does the Mercedes Benz S class depreciate so quickly?

In this article, we find out why the Mercedes Benz S class depreciates so quickly? Which S class models are likely to retain their value? Should you buy an old generation Mercedes Benz S, class?

Why does the Mercedes Benz S class depreciate so quickly?

The brand new S class will depreciate and lose almost 50 per cent of its value over 5 years. This is because of the following reasons:

  • High mileage
  • Introduction of the Facelift model
  • Retention by the customers

Let’s take a look at all the reasons listed above:

  • High mileage

Most of the S class customers use the vehicle for commuting and they are chauffeured drivers therefore on average the cars can cover more than 12,000 miles in a year. A huge portion of the S class belongs to fleet vehicles, despite proper maintenance records and good condition most customers looking for used Mercedes Benz avoid S class with high mileage as unexpected repairs and maintenance costs can easily exceed the cost of the vehicle itself.

  • Introduction of the Facelift model

Mercedes Benz is known for introducing a facelift model usually midway in the product’s life cycle. The facelift of the S class not only has exterior design upgrades but the technology and interior features also take a huge leap from the pre-facelift model. 

For example, the facelift of the sixth generation of the S class model series W222 features dynamic multi-beam LED headlights as standard that are better than the high-performance LED available in the pre-facelift model. 

The onboard system of the facelift model is also updated with a battery disconnect switch, active body control plus control unit and faster data communication protocol like Flexray. 

The pre-facelift model can also feel outdated when compared to the facelift model which results in depreciation of the outgoing model. The S class is very popular in markets like China and India but the cost of a brand new  S class is almost twice that when compared to other international markets like Canada and USA.

The increase in the cost is due to import costs and taxes levied by the local government. Hence, customers do not upgrade the S class as frequently as customers in Europe and America. This led to the next reason for the depreciation of the S class.

  • Retention by the customers

Mercedes Benz offers 3 years standard warranty with unlimited mileage and extended warranty programs like Advance assurance can benefit fleet customers. There are plenty of service packages to choose from, Star ease service packages can lock the service cost at the time of buying the vehicle and save time and money for the customer in the long run.

Customers are satisfied with the ease of ownership and fewer reliability issues in the S class as all the S classes are designed and developed without any regard to the cost. The first generation of the S class was even marketed with the slogan ‘ engineered like no other car.

Customers of the S class hold onto the ownership for more than 7 years, it is very difficult to find an S class with less than 3 years and low mileage in the used luxury car market.

Which S class models are likely to retain their value?

Mercedes Benz S class has many different models like S63 AMG, S class Maybach, and S GUARD. The engine options are also huge. There are straight 6, V6, V8 and V12 petrol and diesel engines in the Mercedes Benz S class. Following are a few S-class models that are more likely to retain their value:

  • S 63 AMG

The S 63 AMG is a high-performance version of the standard S class. It is powered by a hand-built Mercedes Benz AMG engine M177 which produces 603 horsepower and 900 Nm of torque. The S 63 AMG comes in a two-door sports coupe and 4 door sedan. Usually, all AMG models retain their value for a longer period compared to the standard models due to the exclusivity.

S class uses AIRMATIC suspension with sports and comfort modes, the suspension has active body control systems and can vary the damping rates based on the mode selected. This gives more versatility to the handling characteristics of the S class.

  • S350/400 d

The S 350/400d is powered by a diesel engine OM656. All the onboard equipment and mechanical components are the same as the petrol S450 but the S 350d has a higher price tag in the used car market as the demand for the diesel engine model is high. 

The new diesel engine OM 656 is also very lightweight and NVH levels are not as harsh as the predecessor OM642.  OM 656 is available in different states of tune in the S350d & S400d. Diesel engines are equipped with low and high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation to reduce NOX emissions. AdBlue injection with selective catalytic reduction can be also found in the latest models. These exhaust gases after treatments are present to fulfil emission regulations.

S class Maybach models are even more focused on comfort and luxury, recliner seats in the rear come as standard and there is a more premium Burmester surround sound system instead of the factory-fitted sound system.

The S class 680 Maybach is more likely to retain its value because of the V12 engine. It may be the last V12-powered S class, The M279 is the successor of the M275 V12 engine which was used from 2000 to 2010. The M279 was developed with the main goal to reduce fuel consumption and emissions and find a way to increase engine performance. 

The M279 AMG is heavily modified by the Mercedes AMG division so that it can meet current emission regulations and still produce the same amount of power. The M279 currently produces 603 bhp and up to 900 NM of torque.

Should you buy an old generation S class?

Even though the Mercedes Benz S class can last for more than 10 years and there are plenty of old generation S classes in the used car markets for a very cheap price. Purchasing an old generation S class should be avoided as these cars are old with high mileage and the cost of Mercedes Benz spare parts and labour rate can easily exceed the value of the car if any malfunction occurs.

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

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Which Mercedes Benz models are exotic?

Which Mercedes Benz models can be used as delivery trucks?


The Mercedes Benz S class depreciates faster when compared to other models due to multiple factors, also the depreciation depends on the availability of cars in the international markets. Customers usually buy new S-class models and those looking for a Mercedes Benz luxury experience go for models like C and E class.