Whatever luxury carmakers say, the S-Class continues to be their bogey. Even though BMW, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, and also the remainder work hard to carve the end reputations and brand worths for your flagship sedans, most buyers aspire to, or at the very least strongly recognize with, the large Benz. The previous version, however, had become out that touch through the finish of its manufacturing life in 1999--too slab sided, not very sporty, a little over the top. The new-for-2000 S-Class readjusted all that, and also it"s been a freight-train sales success ever before since.

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We waited till year 2 to order our One-Year tester, as that"s once Mercedes first offered its AMG-designed sport Package: a worthy cross between a conventional S-Class and also the limited-edition 5.4-liter/354-horsepower S55 AMG that was available at the time. This Brilliant silver over Charcoal Nappa leather S500 (denoting the 5.0-liter/302-horse V-8 engine) based at $78,950. Due to the fact that it wasn"t our money, we went for many every goodie we might get: Distronic cruise control ($2800), energetic Ventilated seat front and also rear ($1460), the combined Timeport phone mechanism with voice activation ($2190), and also the Sport fill (a bargain, even at $4900). Essential evils, in the kind of a $645 D&D charge and $1000 guzzler tax, carried the total to a wallet-flattening $91,945.

What does the extra five grand for the sport Package deliver? back there space no suspension changes per se, there"s a large handling advantage gained by going indigenous the typical 16-inch rolling stock to those snarky looking 18-inch AMG Monoblock alloys and upgraded Michelin rubber. The amendment front and also rear fascias make the vehicle look sportier and more modern. Even though the S-Class had actually been out awhile by the time our vehicle arrived, it never failed to draw admiring glances and also comment.

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The key--or much more correctly, multi-function, infrared encoded fob--to this point didn"t sit still for a minute. Even if it is it was commuting chores, day night out, or long-haul vacation travel, the S-Class delivered as a top-flight, full-size luxury sport sedan and also was in high demand. If the goal right here is no to rebuild a conventional road test, it must be said that this car offered a superb ride/handling balance, felt prefer it offered up more than the 302 rated horsepower, and also generally did every little thing (1) well, (2) really well, or (3) somewhere method beyond yes, really well.

Other high points are three-position adjustable damping that succumbed a noticeable ride difference between soft, firm, and sport, add to a five-speed automatic infection that always seemed to be in the right equipment at the appropriate time--not something girlfriend can always say about a Mercedes. Rock-solid high-speed stability is, however, other you deserve to usually say about a Mercedes, and also the S500 S showed no exception. Senior Road test Editor chris Walton spoke for every one of us: "This car is so an excellent on so plenty of levels that I"m diminished to nitpickiness."

What few nitpicks we registered centered roughly the ease of use--or lack of same--of the climate control/audio/nav systems. The controls are anything yet intuitive: You turn a knob and naturally mean it to adjust something (like the radio volume), however instead, it scrolls v one or another program menu. The sound device itself is good, yet not approximately the level intended of this car"s sticker. And also why no six-CD changer in the dash?

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High marks for the Distronic adaptive cruise control; the takes a while come trust the the system will back off the accelerator or even use the brakes once a automobile looms too very closely ahead. However once girlfriend do have actually confidence in it, it makes cruise mode that much much more safe and relaxing. The upmarket seats additionally drew high praise; castle heat, lock cool, lock massage, and also they"re dumbbell-easy to adjust, many thanks to those seat-shaped switches on the door panel. Also in the "60s, Mercedes advertised its "orthopedically design seating" and also these chairs absolutely earned that title. We wish, however, that the window switches weren"t so far down ~ above those door panels. One editor was surprised, in this day and also age of computerized an essential fobs, that he could actually lock the crucial in the trunk (Mercedes-Benz Tele help Emergency roadside assistance to the rescue). For even full-size occupants, there to be no shortage the head/leg/knee/shoulder room.

Our automobile proved a example of reliability. Mercedes" scheduled-maintenance plan covered every little thing for the all-too-short duration of time we had it. At 8900 miles, the engine management system"s oil-quality sensing device, called FSS, for Flexible company System, hadn"t yet dubbed for an oil change, however the engine"s lifeblood looked dark and nasty to us, therefore we adjusted it anyway at our own expense (nine quarts that Mobil 1 synthetic, filters, gaskets, and a auto wash ran united state $100.22). We likewise requested a brake inspection because of some young squeaking, but everything to be fine. A rear taillight bulb blew out and was replaced free of charge under warranty.

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The just thing that ever damaged was that most-American of inner devices, the console cupholder. The just split neatly in fifty percent and also was replaced under warranty. The FSS alerted us to the need for one more oil change, new wiper blades, and other various inspections at just under 19,000 miles, spanned under booked care. Therefore the just required organization item, excluding the oil adjust we chosen to do early, was the brake inspection; thus, ours maintenance and also repair expenses for almost 20,000 mile of use totaled $32.50.

You"d expect anyone to gain the endure of control a $90,000 car, and also that includes the Motor trend staff. It"s true that any kind of of several other deluxe sedans expense either a small or a lot less. Yet, somehow, this S500 made us feel as if we obtained our money"s worth; opt for the S430 and also stay far from a few of the an intricate options, and you acquire much the exact same piece--even in sport trim--for a an ext competitive $75,000. Either way, if you have the right to afford to fly first Class, the Mercedes S-Class should quickly satisfy together your transport of choice.

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What"s New, Changed, different Knowing the fresh competition had just come (7 Series) or to be on the method ("04 Jaguar XJ), Mercedes-Benz gave the S-Class a substantive updating because that "03. Although body shells and also the an easy design haven"t changed, colors, bumper treatments, wheels, interior trim, security gear, and equipment levels have actually been shuffled and upgraded. The huge news comes in the way of power, and lots that it: S430 and S500 engine offerings continue to be the same, yet the V-12-powered S600 it s okay a an increase (courtesy of the Maybach advance program) in the kind of a twin-turbocharged engine cranking out 493 velvety horsepower. The S55 AMG also gets locomotive-like boost, via 493 supercharged, intercooled V-8 horsepower and also 516 lb-ft of torque. The S430/500 currently offer 4MATIC AWD. No far-ranging changes space planned because that "04.

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From the Logbook "To call this cutting edge is an understatement. Ns couldn"t help feeling like an important head-of-state kind driving this thing as the massaged my bum, took my temp, and also gave me directions to the U.N. It feels, smells, and looks expensive. Rather impressive, other than for the preflight jitters its 747-400-style instrument dashboard elicits." --Chris Walton

"With pickups and SUVs averaging $35-$40K, this S-Class appears worth every coin of $90K. Seems odd to say, however there"s a great value article here. While plenty of of the controls are counter-intuitive, the feeling is the of unmistakable luxury. The engine is close come perfect, despite the car"s many systems issue up a lot of whirs, buzzes, clicks, and pump noises. Outstanding in every way." --Mark Williams

"So, this is what owning your very own Lear jet must be like. Lexus and Infiniti have come up through a couple of more electro- doodads, and also the large Jag still speak elegance, but the S-Class is still "It." i wouldn"t dream the owning one there is no the sport package, and also I love the TouchShift infection control. The seats do me desire to journey from Los Angeles to Boston simply for chowder. This may be the second-best high-end sport sedan around--as just the S55 AMG is better." --Matt Stone

What"s hot · Timeless, luxury look · World-class cabin · Surprising power for size/weight What"s no · Cumbersome audio/nav/HVAC controls · No in-dash CD (at $90,000) · huge price Don"t miss · What might be the ideal seats in any kind of automobile Bottom heat · The standard through which sub-$100k high-end sedans are judged

2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 sports
Drivetrain layout Front-engine, rwd
Engine type90° V-8, SOHC, 3 valves/cyl, alum block & heads
Displacement, ci/cc303.0/4966
Transmission5-speed automatic w/Touch Shift
Suspension, f;rUpper/lower manage arms, coil springs, electro-hydraulic damping, level control; multilink, coil springs, electro-hydraulic damping, level control
Brakes, f;r13.1-in vented disc; 11.8-in solid disc, ABS
Wheels, f;r18x8.5; 18x9.5 actors alum
Tires, f;r245/45YR18; 275/40YR18 Michelin Pilot
Traction controlYes
Wheelbase, in121.5
Length, in203.1
Width, in73.1
Height, in56.9
Curb weight, lb4186
Seating capacity5
Cargo capacity, cu ft15.4
Fuel capacity, gal23.2
test DATA
0-60 mph, sec6.0
1/4 mile, sec
Braking, 60-0 mph, ft116
Skidpad, g0.80
600-ft slalom, mph58.9
Total mileage19,517
Avg check mpg19.7
Problem areasBroken cupholder
Non-warr cost$132.72
customer INFO
Base price$78,950
Price as tested$91,945
Current value, whlse/retail$60,525/$75,265 per Kelley Blue book
AirbagsDual front, front-side (door), head curtain
EPA mpg, city/hwy16/23
Range, city/hwy, miles371/533
Basic warranty4 yrs/50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty4 yrs/50,000 miles
Roadside assistanceLifetime