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Mercedes-Benz S-Class S500 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
9
New Mercedes-Benz S-Class models aren't an everyday occurrence, so when they do come along they create a big stir throughout the global automotive industry. Obviously the designers of Merc's arch rivals Audi A8 and BMW 7 series will pay the most attention. However, lesser car makers also inspect the S-Class very

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class models aren’t an everyday occurrence, so when they do come along they create a big stir throughout the global automotive industry.

Obviously the designers of Merc’s arch rivals Audi A8 and BMW 7 series will pay the most attention. However, lesser car makers also inspect the S-Class very closely because it signals the way in which technology is advancing, technology that will eventually work its way down into more affordable cars.

STYLING

The latest Merc S-Class is elegant with a bold touch that just falls short of being overtly aggressive. The big grille is a reminder of the classic days of older Mercedes and the subtle swage lines along the sides neatly take the bulk out of what is a large car.

As befits a car in the limo class, it’s positively luxurious inside with a classic timber, leather and stitching in high grade materials that give the feeling you could be inside a top class hotel.

The display screens are huge, covering about two-thirds of the width of the dashboard; other makers seem to be apologetic about their screens, but Mercedes presumably see them as the way of the future.

The Mercedes S 500 has a 4.7-litre V8 turbo-petrol engine with 335 kW and 700 Nm.

Also on offer is the Mercedes-Benz S 350, which has a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel with 190 kW of power and 620 Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.

SAFETY

To try to avoid crashes, Mercedes-Benz S-Class monitors 360 degrees around itself and alerts the driver to possible dangers. If the driver ignores the alerts the car will do the best it can to take control by braking and steering out of danger. If that’s not enough it will mitigate collision forces to protect occupants.

Safety belts in the outboard rear seats have inbuilt airbags as an option. These expand the width and depth of the belt during a crash to provide better protection, and minimise belt bruising.

Mercedes S-Class has no conventional light globes. Instead it uses hundreds of LED lights which consume about a quarter of the energy of old-fashioned lights.

Intelligent headlights automatically provide as much light as possible in exactly the right spots. The lights not only vary in intensity, but also move from side to side and up and down. This spreads the light widely and lets you see far more than standard lights. As an added safety feature the lights never dazzle other drivers.

Tail and brake lights vary in intensity according to ambient light showing maximum light when the car is in bright areas, such as cities, but less when it is surrounded by darkness.

DRIVING

Seating is provided for five, but we expect that four seats, with the centre-rear armrest folded down, is a more likely arrangement. There’s also a long-wheelbase option for those who love to travel in the back in real style rather than, heaven forbid, do their own driving. In the LWB Benz the seats are electrically adjustable for angle, height and headrest. They’re sure to make long distance cruising very pleasant.

The front seats are large and comfortable. They don’t provide the sort of side support that would be required if the car was driven hard in corners. However, it’s not that sort of machine.

This Benz is a big car so isn’t what you would call nimble, but it certainly hangs on extremely well in corners. It’s competent in the steering department, though we would prefer a bit more feel and feedback, but see the previous remarks about it not being aimed at the sporting driver.

Noise and vibration are suppressed to astonishingly low levels. The big Benz is all but silent on motorways and other smooth roads, whispering along in a way that passengers will just love.

There’s a lot of car around you and though the S-Class is equipped with a full range of parking options aimed at easy parking. However, there are times when the bulk of the body comes close to filling the available space.

Ambient lighting is a major feature and we just loved the way the interior could be adjusted to personal taste.

The big-torque V8 turbo engine provides nearly instantaneous urge for safe overtaking. Its torque is seemingly endless and gives a satisfying feeling that’s sure to impress all those who love their cars to have plenty of grunt. You barely realise the car is climbing hills so well do the big torque and responsive automatic transmission work together.

Fuel consumption isn’t likely to be a real concern to someone with upwards of $300,000 to spend on the S 500 we have been reviewing for the past week, but low consumption directly relates to low emissions. On motorways fuel usage was in the eight to ten litres per hundred kilometres range. This soon climbed into the low teens when we drove hard or were stuck for extended periods in crawling traffic.

The stop-start system and Eco program certainly helped trim fuel usage and it doesn’t jar the driver’s senses the way some systems do.

Pricing Guides

$150,150
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$91,520
Highest Price
$208,780

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S500 4.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $120,010 – 137,940 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S500 Pricing and Specs
S63 AMG 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $180,510 – 207,460 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S63 AMG Pricing and Specs
S63 AMG L 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $167,420 – 192,390 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S63 AMG L Pricing and Specs
S300 Bluetec Hybrid 2.1L, Hyb/Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $91,520 – 105,160 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S300 Bluetec Hybrid Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9