- Attention to detail
- Excellent ride
- Technology galore
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class for many is the pinnacle of automotive luxury and technology. It has been responsible for numerous important innovations including crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, airbags and stability control.
Whilst I was down in Sydney to meet up with my friend Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple), Mercedes-Benz Australia was generous enough to make the brand new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S500 available at short notice. Many thanks must go to those responsible.
Now back to the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S500 review.
I want you to imagine anything that you might consider outrageous to be made available in a car like a Mercedes-Benz S Class. Massaging seats? Included. Reclining rear seats? Done. Suspension that reads the road and makes bumps disappear? Already taken care of. Our 2014 S500 certainly delivered all of that and so much more!
The S-Class is the Ferrari LaFerrari of the luxury car world and a glimpse into the future for other production cars in the next 10 years.
At the front of this intimidating car is a 4.7litre twin turbo V8 producing 320kW of power and 700Nm of torque. With that in mind, as for fuel economy, on the sticker a figure of 9.2 litres per 100km is claimed.
There’s also a plethora of standard features including active cruise control, 360-degree camera, cross wind assist, attention assist, Distronic plus, lane departure warning and a blind spot monitor. Oh…and an LED lighting package, self-parking package, dual panoramic sunroof as well as dual 12.3inch screens with the Mercedes COMAND system.
All of which you would probably would expect in a car which is priced from $285,000 plus on road costs.
But, how is the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S500 on the road? Let’s find out.
It’s hard to convey the feeling of seeing a car as big and as commanding for the first time. With its dark blue yet brilliant paint, massive 20inch wheels in a gun metal grey and a grille that looks like it will eat you for breakfast, you start to feel uneasy though unexpectedly welcome.
You move to open the door and finally see the interior for the first time and you immediately know that you’re about to drive something special, something beautiful. There’s no surface left exposed. You are either feeling the softest leather in the world, a wood grain that belongs in a classic library or smooth cool metal.
Everything you touch is a sensory experience of its own. Then you look further and notice the dual 12.3inch screens that replace your traditional infotainment system and instrument cluster. Their high resolution make everything simple to read and enjoyable.
In the rear you have a completely different tone with leg room for the tallest of people and comfort for even those who find it impossible to get into a relaxed travel position.
But then, just when you think you have taken it all in, it comes to actually selecting drive from the gear selector stalk and you are introduced to a whole other world.
Immediately when a car like this comes to mind, you think that it is a car made for the rear passengers and the chauffeurs who drive them around. Whilst you wouldn’t be wrong, it’d be wrong to ignore a number of other buyers who would desire a car like this.
Whilst the rear seats are the most comfortable seats I’ve ever sat in, the S500 is still very much a car for the driver too. There’s no other car I know of that can offer the level of safety which this car can provide with its huge list of driver assistance systems and safety features.
It’s the precise reason why Steve and his wife bought one. They wanted a car that was beautiful to drive but also safe on the road. No other car came close.
The Mercedes-Benz S500 is also perfect for those who want presence. Everywhere we went in Sydney, there was no ignoring the fact that we had arrived. It felt awesome.
It’s assumed by many, but also questioned by even more. How does a car this big drive?
Despite the S500 being an extremely heavy car, it all comes together exactly as you would expect. It’s a car to be driven with a purpose. Not like a race car, but driven with a purpose.
The twin turbo V8 engine is superb with its ability to shift a car weighing just over 2300kg with a brilliant sense of acceleration. This isn’t probably surprising though with a 0-100km/h time of just over 5 seconds.
Driving aids including one that guides/steers the car to keep you in your lane, cruise control that follows the car in front right down to a complete stop and suspension that reads the road and adjusts itself accordingly; all which makes it feel like a car could be completely autonomous.
Speaking of the suspension, the Magic Body Control system is game changing. Never have I experienced something that is so dramatic in changing how comfortable a car is and how much drama it takes out of driving somewhere like Sydney.
The suspension absorbed speed bumps, rough road surfaces and even sizeable potholes like they hardly ever existed. Steve Wozniak described it as the best car he had ever sat in, and I would definitely agree.
As for fuel economy, the consumption figure did well at staying below the 10litre per 100km mark, including a significant amount of stop/start traffic and a mixture of highway driving.
The question of ‘could I live with this car?’ is one that I would take in the literal sense for the S500. With its extremely comfortable rear seats and headrests I wish I could have kept, plus the inclusion of a digital TV tuner and digital radio, yes, you could very much live in this car and be very happy about doing so.
The car itself never felt as big as it is and no issues arose when parking in tiny little underground car parks at Manly Beach. The park assist system had to be thanked for that. It never failed to park the car perfectly, no matter how tight the car space.
Fuel economy is fantastic and the boot space would fit numerous sets of golf clubs or a set of luggage. The keyless system made that even easier to live with.
Not once did this car feel like it was too much to handle and we expected to feel like that at least once during the time we had it.
To be realistic, we know that the S500 isn’t on everyone’s shopping list for their next car. It might be on our wish list, but that’s all.
In saying that, the S500 finds a way to justify its price in almost every situation; whether it’s providing a relaxing experience for clients in the rear seats, or needing to find a car that has every safety feature imaginable.
The S-Class in general is also a pioneer. The features in this car today including its magic body control suspension, rear collision warning and airbags in your seatbelt will eventually filter down to production cars in the future.
Is it worth the premium? We’d say yes.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S500 was a car that made me appreciate its beautiful interior every time I got in. Every time. No other car has had that effect on me.
The attention to detail is superb, the safety is outstanding and the list of features both standard and optional is so long, that in this 1400 word review, we couldn’t mention them all.
Despite its retail price tag, it is simply magnificent and a car that made meeting up with a friend an unforgettable experience for both.
If you want to read the story we wrote about Steve Wozniak whilst we were in Sydney, you can read it here.