When drivers pull up in this recently redesigned S-Class sedan, they have truly arrived! This is a top-of-the-line vehicle in the Mercedes model offerings, a grand prize all Benz owners covet, but often put off buying later, when they have more money to spend. And it certainly takes money to own.
The base version is an S-500. With its 6-cylinder turbo motor, the fee begins about $111K. This upgraded S-580 model shown here is a step up in cost at $116K. With the usual options we don’t need, but get anyway, this tab comes to a tidy $128,250. On the positive side, this is a real German designed Benz made in a real 100% German factory, which is what many expect at this price.
The S 500 six-cylinder is a 3.0-liter turbo putting out 429 horsepower. It has more than enough grunt to move this heavy car, but what we really want is this 4.0 liter V-8 placed in the S 580 instead. This turbo motor cranks out a healthy 496 horsepower and sounds great at full throttle. Our 0-60 mph time was a brisk 4.5 seconds. We observed 28 mpg on 75 mph freeway trips.
These 20-inch AMG wheels look nice and will set you back $750. The rear axle steering is $1,300 more. That optional “four-wheel steering” system we have allows for a tighter turning radius in parking lots. It is supposed to create better cornering ability on tight mountain roads, but we can’t tell the difference. The S-580 already has excellent handling regardless.
The S 580 is one of the few models that still post this famous “3-point-star” on the hood, which was always a Mercedes trademark. While it serves no function, it’s a cool status piece that impresses onlookers.
Most of the car functions are now controlled on this giant touch screen. While many drivers prefer simple knobs, this setup is actually easier to use than it looks. Our only complaint is some glare reflection from the afternoon sun rays, but this is a common disadvantage of these designs, and nothing serious.
If you want to change gears manually, just use the paddles on the steering wheel. Above is the transmission shifter which is mounted on the steering column.
The power seat controls are located on the door. While this is not a traditional place to put them, it works out quite well. The 3D stereo system has plenty of speakers, with some located in the door. The acoustics are great.
The seats are of high quality, and comfortable from the neck down. From the neck up, we found the headrest adjustment limited. Mercedes does supply a small pillow to rest the neck, but using it is a personal preference.
The Mercedes S-580 is what a Benz should be. It has a superb fit and finish, sharp styling, a quiet cabin, and plenty of zip under the hood. And what color would you want other than limo black?