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Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 Review

EXPERT RATING
9
Paul Gover road tests and reviews the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe at its international launch.
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Let’s just forget about luxury, quality, class and comfort for a minute. Every one of those things is what you expect, without compromise, in a flagship Mercedes-Benz.

In the case of the latest S-Class Coupe — formerly called the CL — they are delivered exactly as you would expect. It’s five-star all the way.

So, with that out of the way, how about a look at some of the stuff that’s important to people who won’t spend $300,000 or more on an S500 or S63 AMG?

TECHNOLOGY

First up is the car’s nine-speed automatic gearbox, which reflects the growth in gears as car makers look for greater fuel efficiency without a performance penalty.

Then comes the double glazing that allows Benz to claim the two-door limousine is the world’s quietest car, even surpassing a Rolls-Royce Phantom for cabin silence.

Finally, the “corner tilt” suspension keeps the body flat by leaning into corners like a motorcycle.

The auto makes the S500 really quiet and easy on fuel, turning only 1100rpm at a 110km/h highway cruise, but it responds super-quick to a kickdown call to unleash the kilowatts and torque.

The S63 has only a seven-speeder, which seems like short-changing performance buyers, but that’s still plenty of ratios through which to feed 430kW and a monstrous 900Nm for overtaking and closing gaps.

The double-glazing is part of an intensive effort to smooth the bodywork on the S Coupe to aid quietness and efficiency. It’s a big car with a twin-turbo V8 but the S500’s stated fuel economy is just 8.7L/100km.

Cornering tilt uses the forward-facing stereo camera also employed for a range of safety items, including auto emergency braking, to scan the road ahead and pre-prepare the suspension for a coming curve.

It “leans” the car into corners, effectively holding the cabin flat, which will be great for carsickness sufferers and people who don’t like any wallowing or wandering on twisty roads.

It’s a brilliant car and a wonderful drive, floating like a cloud through the Tuscan landscape in S500 spec or providing truly surprising enjoyment and pace while attacking as an S63.

We should run through some basics, which start with a body limousine and still weights in at about two tonnes.

FEATURES

The new Coupe packs all of Benz’s best active and passive safety systems, and brilliant luxury — including sumptuous leather, a giant infotainment display and top-end audio — into a package at the top end of the car world.

It’s not nearly as costly as a Phantom, but the rarefied world it cruises is reflected in CL sales of only 283 cars from 2007-14. Obviously, Mercedes-Benz Australia expects more buyers with the new cars (and a stronger skew to AMG) but it’s never going to match a Corolla or Mazda3 on the sales charts.

“I think it will definitely do bigger numbers than in the past. And the S Coupe will not be any more expensive than the CL, although we have’t locked in the price yet,” says spokesman David McCarthy.

DRIVING

The first S Coupe will not arrive until the first quarter of 2015 and we’ll need some local experience, especially on the final specification, before we can pass a realistic judgement. 

The first impression in Italy is mightily impressive, helped by driving some 4Matic versions that won’t be coming to Australia. The all-wheel-drive version of the S63 sprints to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds — barely believable in a car so heavy and luxurious.

Life with the S Coupe is totally effortless and I’m constantly surprised, from the first kilometre to the last.

Pricing guides

$185,325
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$85,200
Highest Price
$285,450

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
S65 6.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $225,800 – 285,450 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S65 Pricing and Specs
S65 AMG 6.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $225,800 – 285,450 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S65 AMG Pricing and Specs
S63 AMG Edition 1 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $198,500 – 251,020 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S63 AMG Edition 1 Pricing and Specs
S500 Edition 1 4.7L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO $169,600 – 214,500 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S500 Edition 1 Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
9