Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 Mercedes Benz S-Class VS 2011 Volvo S80 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 Mercedes Benz S-Class

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2011 Volvo S80

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes S-Class are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Volvo S80 has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the S-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The S80 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The S-Class has standard mbrace, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S80 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the S-Class and the S80 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The Mercedes S-Class weighs 421 to 1300 pounds more than the Volvo S80. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the S-Class’ engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The S80 T6 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the S80’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the S-Class’ reliability will be 16% better than the S80.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S-Class second among large premium cars in their 2010 Initial Quality Study. The S80 was rated third in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 9th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

The S-Class has more powerful engines than the S80:




295 HP

284 lbs.-ft.

S550 5.5 DOHC V8

382 HP

391 lbs.-ft.

S600 5.5 turbo V12

510 HP

612 lbs.-ft.

S63 5.5 turbo V8

536 HP

590 lbs.-ft.

S65 6.0 turbo V12

604 HP

738 lbs.-ft.

S80 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl.

240 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

S80 T6 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

325 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The S-Class has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the S80 (23.8 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the S-Class’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the S80:

S550/S400 Hybrid



Front Rotors

13.2 inches

15.4 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

14.4 inches

11.9 inches

The S-Class’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the S80 are solid, not vented.

The S-Class stops shorter than the S80:



80 to 0 MPH

215 feet

216 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

154 feet

161 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

123 feet

Road & Track

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the S-Class has larger standard tires than the S80 (255/45R18 vs. 225/50R17). The S-Class’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S80 (F:255/40R19 & R:275/40R19 vs. 245/40R18).

The S-Class’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S80’s standard 50 series tires. The S-Class’ optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the S80’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S-Class has standard 18 inch wheels. Smaller 17 inch wheels are standard on the S80. The S-Class’ optional 20 inch wheels are larger than the 18 inch wheels optional on the S80.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The S-Class has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The S80’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The front and rear suspension of the S-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the S80, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The S-Class offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Volvo doesn’t offer an active suspension on the S80.

The S-Class has a standard continuously variable suspension system. Using sensors on steering angle, speed and other driver inputs, the shocks soften to improve ride, or stiffen when appropriate to aid handling on tricky roads. The S80’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The S-Class’ optional drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The S80 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S-Class’ wheelbase is 13 inches longer than on the S80 (124.6 inches vs. 111.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S-Class is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the S80.

The S65 handles at .90 G’s, while the S80 AWD pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the S-Class is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the S80 is rated a Mid-size.

The S-Class has 11.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S80 (109.4 vs. 98).

The S-Class has 6 inches more front hip room, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 7.3 inches more rear legroom, 6.2 inches more rear hip room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the S80.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the S-Class’ available rear seats recline. The S80’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The S-Class has a much larger trunk than the S80 (16.4 vs. 14.9 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the S80, the S-Class has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, seatbelt height, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The S-Class’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S80 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The S-Class’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The S80’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left down on the S-Class the driver can raise them all using the keyless remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor); on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the S80 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S-Class’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The S80’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the S-Class to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The S80 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. It’s optional heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

The S-Class has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The S80 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S-Class detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The S80 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the S-Class has standard extendable sun visors. The S80 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A power rear sun shade is standard in the S-Class to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S80 doesn’t offer a rear sun shade.

The S-Class has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The S80 has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

With standard voice command, the S-Class offers the driver hands free control of the radio, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The S80 doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the S-Class owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the S-Class with a number “1” insurance rate while the S80 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

The S-Class will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the S-Class will retain a greater percentage of its original price after two and four years than the S80.



Four Year

26% to 28%

23% to 25%

Two Year

40% to 44%

35% to 39%

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S-Class is less expensive to operate than the S80 because typical repairs cost less on the S-Class than the S80, including $4 less for front brake pads, $144 less for fuel injection and $105 less for a fuel pump.

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