Car of the Year 2014: Mercedes-Benz S550

  • Photo by Cordero Studios, photographed at Harlan Estate
    “Overall, the best car here for the money.” —Dale Crighton Photo by Cordero Studios, photographed at Harlan Estate
  • Photo by Cordero Studios, photographed at Harlan Estate
    “Very quiet and comfortable. Great safety features.” —Chris Sullivan Photo by Cordero Studios, photographed at Harlan Estate
  • Photo by Cordero Studios, photographed at Harlan Estate
  • Photo by Cordero Studios, photographed at Harlan Estate
<< Back to Robb Report, April 2014
  • Paul Meyers

Hidden Treasures

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which has been in production longer than any other current luxury sedan (officially since 1972), represents the category’s benchmark. Generation after generation of the S-Class has offered exquisite styling, amenities, and performance. At the Car of the Year competition, Mercedes-Benz showcased the S550, which it completely redesigned for the 2014 model year. Though this is a base model, Mercedes-Benz has equipped it with mood lighting for the cabin (all of the car’s lighting is LED) and infrared and thermal-imaging cameras for night driving.

Unfortunately for Mercedes-Benz, the Car of the Year judges did not drive this car at night and were limited to just 30 minutes behind the wheel. Many of our judges were able to sample the front-seat massage function (“The driving was meh,” said one judge, “but I got one hell of a back massage”), but they missed some of the car’s smarter features. For instance, they were not able to experience the Magic Vision Control, which automatically applies wiper fluid to the windshield when needed, or the Magic Body Control, which uses forward-facing cameras to adapt the car’s suspension for the road ahead. Such features were lost on many of our judges, because they drove the S550 on a beautiful sunny day on the perfectly paved roads of the Napa Valley. But even without many of its cutting-edge technologies on display, the car still earned high marks from many judges. “It upholds Mercedes-Benz’s reputation,” said Lisa Clark. “It does not let you down.” 

SPECIFICATIONS

Configuration: Rear-wheel-drive sedan

Engine: 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-8

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Power: 449 hp at 5,500 rpm

Torque: 516 ft lbs at 1,800 rpm

Curb weight: 4,729 pounds

Zero to 60 mph: 4.8 seconds

Top speed: 130 mph (limited)

Base price: $93,000

Mercedes-Benz, www.mbusa.com

From Around the Web...
Richard Petty
The titan of the track discusses why he won, where he competes now, and how he defines luxury…
Robb Report's Car of the Year contest ended in a tie between the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder and the Porsche 911 Turbo S.
The results mark a first in the annual event’s history and bode well for the industry…
Watch video profiles of each of the Car of the Year 2017 contenders...
Robb Report Car of the Year 2017
During Robb Report’s annual competition to determine which sport or luxury car best deserves to be...
More than 150 Robb Report readers convened in Napa Valley to judge 13 extraordinary automobiles…
The Giulia Quadrifoglio, the high-performance variant of Alfa Romeo’s new sedan, went on sale in December with a starting price of $72,000.
The top-of-the-line sedan is powered by a biturbo V-6 that churns out more than 500 hp…
The 2018 Porsche 911 GT3
Next year, the model comes with a new engine, a revised chassis, and plenty of performance…
The 2017 Ruf CTR at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.
With 700 hp and a top speed of 223 mph, this two-door tears it up…
If the DB11 were less of a looker, it might earn more attention for being the Best-performing, best-handling Aston Martin yet
The company’s first all-new car in 13 years was worth the wait…
The Lexus LC 500 will arrive at U.S. dealerships this spring sporting a bold new look for the brand…