What is it?
The new Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupé is where the richer end of what could be considered the modern S-Class sub-brand opens for business.
Because, these days, if you like the idea of owning and driving an S-Class but don’t like the idea of driving around in a stretched four-door limousine that looks as if it is on a permanent shuttle run between the airport and the nearest five-star hotel, you can have an S-Class Coupé or Cabriolet instead.
In previous years, Mercedes gave these high-end two-doors their own model nomenclature (remember the CL and the SEC before it?), but now it thinks the S-Class family "wants to be together".
And having just updated the S-Class Coupé range, Mercedes has neatly plonked this 560 model at its base. A direct replacement for the S500 turbo V8, the S560 produces marginally more power than its antecedent and the same 516lb ft of torque, despite only having 4.0 litres of displacement in place of the S500’s 4.7 litres.
That’s what you get when you replace a Mercedes engine with one made by AMG. The S560’s V8 is, after all, within a whisker of the same state of tune in which it powers a C63 super-saloon (making marginally less peak power but more torque), and it makes the rear-driven S560 good for 62mph from rest in just 4.6sec — with a brace of fully fledged, even-quicker AMG derivatives available farther up the range, should you want them.
The S560 comes with plenty of trimmings you’d have to pay extra for on lesser Mercedes models, such as Airmatic air suspension, a widescreen Comand infotainment system, Burmester surround-sound stereo, massage seats and wireless smartphone charging. And so while it comes in just above £100,000 at list price, you sense that Stuttgart is pitching the car as a more ‘reasonably priced’ alternative to a £150,000 Aston Martin or Bentley — and fairly convincingly so.
In addition to its standard equipment, our test car had 20in alloy wheels, a head-up display, a Burmester ‘high-end’ audio upgrade and Mercedes’ active hydraulic Magic Body Control suspension, the latter endowing the car with both ‘curve tilting’ active cornering and active ride functions.