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FORTUNE 500 (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
The Mercedes S-Class springs a surprise in six cylinder petrol-powered S500 form: it now makes logical sense as an ownership proposition. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 38
Possibly the most innovative version of the latest Mercedes S-Class saloon is this one, the six cylinder 435bhp S500 petrol model. Electrified technology vastly improves this variant's efficiency and all the usual S-Class attributes apply. You'd like one.
Backgroundword count: 172
The Mercedes S-Class. It's traditionally been the sensible answer to the question every motoring expert likes to dodge - 'what's the best car in the world?'. Other vehicles can be more opulent, faster or better to drive but over the years, no other model has so consistently delivered such a technologically-advanced blend of automotive virtues. Here, we're looking at a vastly improved version of the sixth generation model. And checking it out in its six cylinder S500 petrol guise. Over 6,000 components have been either created or re-designed to change the 'W222'-series model launched back in 2013 into the car you see here - which makes this the most comprehensive mid-life update made to any car in Mercedes history. You can see why the Stuttgart maker felt the need to do that, with all-new versions of BMW's 7 Series, Audi's A8, Porsche's Panamera and the Lexus LS all recently launched with jaw-dropping technology in a bid to tempt away traditional S-Class buyers. So how does it all stack up? Let's find out.
Driving Experienceword count: 271
Most S-Class saloon buyers in the UK will go for the 3.0-litre 286bhp diesel fitted to the S350d variant but here, we're looking at an arguably more interesting engine. It's another brand new 3.0-litre 'six', this one fitted to the petrol-powered S500 variant and putting out 457bhp. It draws on what Mercedes calls 'systematically electrified' technology to simultaneously boost power while saving fuel. This refers to a cutting-edge 48-volt electrical system that supplies an electric compressor - basically a turbocharger powered by an electric motor, hence this variant's instant throttle response. 62mph from rest is dispatched in about 4.5s on the way to a top speed that, as with all S-Class variants, must be rather pointlessly limited to 155mph. On the move, this car drives much like an E-Class and after the first few miles, you quickly forget the prodigious length and width. Even through the bends, it's not immediately obvious that you're piloting something weighing well over two tonnes. The brakes are reassuring and even the steering isn't too remote, though it's predictably lighter on feedback than is the case with a rival Jaguar XJ or BMW 7 Series. What we did anticipate was an exemplary standard of ride - which to a point is what you get. The full air suspension you'd now expect from a car in this class is of course a standard feature, adapting its demeanour to the 'Comfort', 'Sport', 'Sport+' and 'Individual' settings provided by the 'DYNAMIC SELECT' driving modes system. These also tweak steering feel and the responses of the '9G-TRONIC PLUS' nine-speed auto transmission that's been introduced to replace the previous 7-speed unit.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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