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A worthy successor to the CL 500, Mercedes' S 500 coupe is a real driver's car endowed with luxury and performance in equal measure

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the self-proclaimed ‘best car in the world’, is back. Or is it?

1 July 2014

What is it?

Old name. New tricks. That is Mercedes-Benz’s brilliant new S 500 Coupé, which resurrects one of the German car maker’s most revered model nomenclatures and pioneers an advanced new tilting chassis that allows it to corner in similar fashion to a hard-charging motorcycle.

Set for UK sale from September at a price expected to rise to close to £95,000, the S 500 Coupé enters the Mercedes-Benz line-up as a replacement for the CL 500, which finally bows out after a lengthy eight years of production.

What's it like?

Stunningly styled with the sort of attention to design detail you expect on a car that forms the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz’s line-up, the big two-door boasts a much more distinctive look than its predecessor. It now appears much less like a two-door version of the S-class saloon and more of an individual model in its own right.

These observations continue through to the new S 500 Coupé’s interior, which while sharing certainly elements with its highly-rated four-door sibling has been given its own uniquely styled dashboard facia and associated trims.

It is a superb driving environment, boasting tremendous levels of comfort, first rate quality and some useful options, including a new head-up display unit. Not that you’d expect anything less from at car at this end of the market. The rear seats gain added accommodation, too, but the boot drops 90 litres in capacity owing to the sloping rear end.

It is hard to fault the S 500 Coupé’s twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 engine, which runs a slightly higher state of tune than that unit used in the old CL 500, endowing it with an added 19bhp at 448bhp.

It might lack the sheer low-end explosiveness of the S 63 AMG Coupé’s larger 5.5-litre V8 powerplant, but with a solid 516lb ft of torque on tap at just 1800rpm it delivers crisp responses, proves creamy smooth throughout the rev range and pulls hard to the redline.

The seven-speed automatic gearbox, which uses Mercedes-Benz’s column mounted shift lever and steering wheel mounted shift paddles to free up space on the centre console for a sizeable oddment bin, shifts decisively and smoothly through the ratios, providing the big coupé with both serene low-speed qualities and serious pace on a loaded throttle.

When the stylish new S 500 Coupé goes on sale here it will lack one vital option being offered to buyers in other European markets, though, namely 4Matic four-wheel drive.  Like the latest S 500 saloon with which it shares its mechanical package, the model developed for right-hand drive markets retains rear-wheel drive only.

Mercedes-Benz claims 0-62mph in 4.6sec in four-wheel drive, which makes the S 500 Coupé 0.3sec faster up the strip than the CL 500 4Matic. Official performance figures for the rear-wheel drive model have not yet been revealed. 

More than its sheer pace, it is the dynamic properties that really set Mercedes-Benz latest upmarket coupe apart from its predecessor. 

The latest in electro-mechanical steering, a newly developed chassis with wider tracks and an advanced air suspension that uses both cameras and sensors to scan the road and automatically alter the spring and damping properites provide the S 500 Coupé with real poise and engaging agility. Again, it is not quite in the same league as the S 63 AMG, but Mercedes-Benz has clearly succeeded in creating a car with both real dynamism and fantastic compliance.  

Ride quality, aided by one of the most sophisticated chassis fitted to a production road car, is quite superb. Even more impressive, though, is the suppression of wind noise, making it whisper quiet even at high speeds.

In a move that proves Mercedes-Benz has lost none of its spirit for innovation, the S 500 Coupé also comes with an active curve tilt function. It leans the big Mercedes-Benz into corners in a manner similar to a motorcyclist at speeds between 9mph and 112mph. As a result, the lateral acceleration acting on the driver and passengers is reduced. As well as enhancing comfort, it also provides the basis for faster cornering speeds, and with it added agility.

Should I buy one?

Mercedes-Benz has pulled off something rather special with the S 500 Coupé.

It is a wonderfully stylish car capable of effortlessly dispatching its occupants over vast distances in first rate comfort as well as providing entertaining handling and great agility for such a large car on challenging sections of blacktop. 

In all respects it is a more appealing proposition than the old CL 500.

Mercedes-Benz S 500 Coupe 4Matic

Price £95,000 (est) 0-62mph 4.6sec Top speed 155mph Economy 28.5mpg CO2 232g/km Kerb weight 2090kg Engine 8 cyls in 90-degree vee, 4663cc, turbocharged petrol Installation Front, longitudinal, rwd Power 448bhp at 5250rpm Torque 516lb ft at 1800rpm Gearbox 7-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
16

1 July 2014
A glowing review .. Yet only 4 stars??? Explain ....the 63 got 4.5... To me the 63 according to the review seems to be a 5 star car! Looks good , great performance , luxurious , great to drive , great quality .. What more constitutes 5 stars.. Or is missing that final feel good factor?

1 July 2014
Bobstardeluxe wrote:

A glowing review .. Yet only 4 stars??? Explain ....the 63 got 4.5... To me the 63 according to the review seems to be a 5 star car! Looks good , great performance , luxurious , great to drive , great quality .. What more constitutes 5 stars.. Or is missing that final feel good factor?

because its not an Aston, Jaguar or a Landrover. Autocar usual business !!!

1 July 2014
Bobstardeluxe wrote:

A glowing review .. Yet only 4 stars??? Explain ....the 63 got 4.5... To me the 63 according to the review seems to be a 5 star car! Looks good , great performance , luxurious , great to drive , great quality .. What more constitutes 5 stars.. Or is missing that final feel good factor?

There is no rhyme or reason to a lot of these ratings. The Vauxhall Cascada scored 4 stars! The BMW 3 series scored 5 stars, yet the IDENTICAL CAR in a different body ie 4 Series Gran Coupe 428i scored 3.5 stars, but the range as a whole 4 stars. What gives?

1 July 2014
1) Why does the curve-tilt function work up to 112mph, but not above that? No doubt they did this for a reason, but what is that reason?

2) I still don't like the way "instruments" look on TFT screens. IMO, they just look like cheap copies of instruments. I don't care about "configurability" or other tech-for-tech's-sake stuff. Well-designed instruments work perfectly well and simply look FAR better.

1 July 2014
Hmm, 19 years since Citroen's Xantia Activa and Mercedes has almost caught them up

1 July 2014
typos1 wrote:

Hmm, 19 years since Citroen's Xantia Activa and Mercedes has almost caught them up

Actually Daimler-Benz have, at last, gone a step in front as the Activa system just attempted to keep the Xantia level, not actually bank in corners like the Mercs. What's really sad is that since the Xantia Activa, Citroen have gone backwards with the latest cars completely lacking anything in the way of innovative suspension engineering. Much to this, former, Citroen driver's disappointment.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

2 July 2014
Frightmare Bob wrote:
typos1 wrote:

Hmm, 19 years since Citroen's Xantia Activa and Mercedes has almost caught them up

Actually Daimler-Benz have, at last, gone a step in front as the Activa system just attempted to keep the Xantia level, not actually bank in corners like the Mercs. What's really sad is that since the Xantia Activa, Citroen have gone backwards with the latest cars completely lacking anything in the way of innovative suspension engineering. Much to this, former, Citroen driver's disappointment.

And to this one's disappointment as well. Citroen did have a Xantia modified for 'pro-roll', it was driven and commented on by LJK Setright, but Citroen decided that it was a step too far at the time. Of course the Mercedes Benz 450SEL 6.9 W116 range topper used actual Citroen hydropneumatic suspension, so at least it can be said that MB are now doing it all themselves. Many people are mystified as to why Citroen seems happy to throw away this technological and marketing lead, especially when they aver a desire to 'go upmarket' which implies, surely, making cars better than the increasingly alike opposition.

1 July 2014
if your review is anything to go by this S500 Coupe Merc is a 5 star car, to say the least.
You have to change the rating.

1 July 2014
For a Mercedes, this is quite an appealing looking car that tries to move on from the usual German staid styling, and as such it almost borders on desirable, but it's still not quite up there with the Bentley Continental GT or Rolls Royce Wraith which oozes prestige, sophistication and desirability in spades. And the same goes for the dull styling inside where the Mercedes just doesn't scream luxury, style or desirability in the same way as the Bentley or Rolls, while material quality is still way behind. It's a shame Jaguar doesn't to a coupe of version of the current XJ as that, along with the Bentley and Rolls, would lead the field in luxury coupes, while knowing how class leading the saloon is, an XJ coupe could well be class leader too. Still, a noble attempt for Mercedes but still some catching up to do beat the Bentley and Rolls Royce. May be the next generation CL will finally nail the luxry coupe class after decades of trying.

1 July 2014
Have you actually seen this new S-Class coupe and sat inside the car to judge the styling to lack class and build quality to be behind Bentley and Rolls? Look at pictures of the Continental interior compared to this S-Class coupe, the Bentley has more plastic switches on the center console and the infotainment system is totally outdated compared the the Mercedes. Once they do a comparison test you will then see which car is the best and it will most likely be the Mercedes, class leading ride and comfort, lowest noise levels, better build quality and space and probably sharper dynamics!

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