BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
View the latest news
Long-term review

Mercedes-Benz S-Class S500 4Matic - long-term review

£110,325 /£110,325 as tested / £1,841pcm
Published: 31 Mar 2022


  • SPEC

    S500L 4Matic Premium Plus Executive



  • BHP


  • 0-62


How expensive is it to run a Mercedes S500 with fuel prices now so high?

The S500 has an 84-litre fuel tank, a cavernous receptacle whose existence made me ponder the wisdom of this particular Lifer. Would I need to take out a mortgage every time I filled up?

To begin with, we rarely breached the psychologically important £100 threshold – unless I was going super unleaded, which I do from time to time – and hyper-miling the S has become quite addictive. This car encourages mindfulness despite its plutocratic image, as I’ve previously noted. Consequently, I’ve seen 35mpg and a range of almost 600 miles from one tank, which is seriously impressive for such a big car. Better than many smaller, supposedly more efficient cross-overs, in fact.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Obviously things have changed somewhat, in light of Putin’s morally repugnant military adventure in Ukraine. I’ve travelled extensively in the region, and it’s impossible not to feel despair and disbelief. My thoughts are primarily with the Ukrainians, but think also about the pro-democracy citizens of Russia who now face 15 years in prison for protesting against the war, and the Belarussians who recently defied their ludicrous ‘leader’, Alexander Lukashenko. It’s difficult to believe this is happening in Europe in 2022.

The west’s dependence on Russian energy and its despicable courting of the country’s corrupt oligarchy has brought us all to a moment of reckoning. There are other factors at work, of course, and like everyone else I marvel at how rapidly prices at the pump rise when the cost of a barrel of Brent crude oil spikes, and how slowly that comes down again when the pressure eases. Frankly, it’s a joke, although fuelling a Mercedes S-Class is the very definition of a first world problem given what’s going on.

But it also focuses the mind. Someone tweeted me asking whether a 56mph speed limit should be mandatory. It’s an echo of what happened during 1973’s Energy Crisis, an event that amongst other things killed off America’s grotesque reliance on outsized cars.

Meanwhile, some activists have taken to letting the air out of SUV tyres, an act that borders on criminal damage but that’s designed to provoke serious thought. Gigantic geo-political unrest on one side, climate change on the other.

Advertisement - Page continues below

What odds would you get on internal combustion becoming socially unacceptable within the next decade?

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine