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Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
What is it like on the road?
And it’s those driver assistance systems that, by and large, dominate the driving experience. There’s a lot going on in the S-Class, but happily most of its systems are so well integrated you’d never know it was doing half of what Mercedes claims. The one exception would be the active speed limiter which, if you’ve got the cruise control set, pegs your speed at whatever the car thinks the limit is. Sometimes it is wrong, and tries to slow you to 30 in a 70 or speed you up to 80 in a 50. Annoying, yes, but nothing that can’t be solved with the tap of one of the MANY steering wheel buttons. Besides, shouldn’t you be paying attention to what the limit is anyway? That said the Driving Assistance package is optional and well worth having (you don’t buy an S-Class to skimp on options) at £2,580 – it gives you the full suite of Mercedes’ excellent safety and assistance systems.
Three engines are available in Britain. The S560 gets a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 with cylinder deactivation for 469bhp, 516lb ft, 0-62mph in an entirely adequate 4.6 seconds and a 155mph top speed. The AMG S63 also gets a 4.0-litre V8, but this time with 612bhp and 663lb ft. Both have nine-speed automatic gearboxes. Meanwhile the S65, of which Mercedes only expects to sell a handful in Britain, gets an old seven-speed auto because the new nine-speeder can’t handle all the torque from the mighty twin-turbo V12.
Since the facelift we’ve only driven the 560 and 63, and true to form both are very good indeed. Of course the AMG is shoutier, its engine-note more hard-edged and responses more immediate, but the 560 is plenty fast enough and has this wonderful, laid-back character that really suits it. And if you want the Magic Body Control suspension – which leans the car into bends like a motorcyclist and scans the road ahead for speedbumps, potholes and so-on – it’s your only option. You can probably do without it, however impressive it is at ironing out massive speedbumps (if not the little, sharp stuff. Oh, and it’s £4,250).
Even though there’s mighty performance on offer from pretty much any variant, just as you’d expect the S is more adept at rapid distance-demolishing rather than joyous switchbacks. That’s fine by us, and means you may as well embrace the waft, eschew the AMGs, save your money and buy the 560.