Endless (useful) tech, subtle-but-confident styling, distance ability
Sensitive to spec, not a natural driver's car
What is it?
Very basically, a two-door, four-seat version of the all-conquering Mercedes S-Class – formerly known as the CL – that competes with the Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB11. A big, soft GT-car designed to do big distances without throwing out your lower back. An S-Class you drive, rather than get driven in. We like it very much indeed.
Our favourite luxury saloon was recently updated with new tech, engines and so-on, and now the Coupe that shares its underpinnings has been given most of the same upgrades. Besides a set of OLED taillights and a ‘Panamerica’ grille (as seen on other, newer AMGs) for the AMG S63 and V12-engined S65, there are no real aesthetic changes. None that you’ll notice, anyway, which ought to keep owners of the outgoing model (and incredibly similar-looking E-Class Coupe) reasonably happy. The same is true of the interior – the steering wheel and screens are new, but they’re nothing we haven’t seen in other Mercs, or radically different from what was there before. If you’re familiar with the current E- or S-Class saloon, you’ll be right at home here.
Most of the changes are under the skin. So the ‘base’ S500 has been replaced by the S560, which gets a new 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine that’s more powerful and, thanks to cylinder-deactivation, more economical than the 4.7-litre engine it succeeds. And of course there’s the latest in semi-autonomous driver assistance tech, including the newest version of Merc’s adaptive cruise control that can slow the S for roundabouts, tolls and upcoming junctions.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
Beautifully engineered bits of kit that nail the brief – brilliantly capable long-distance GTs that are fast, loaded with cutting-edge technology and, if you go for the right spec, actually quite subtle. One of the most cosseting, relaxing things to drive everyday – not quite as special as its flash, handmade competitors, but at a fraction of the money you can’t complain.