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Mercedes S500 Coupe review

‘Entry-level’ two-door is fast and luxurious, so who needs an AMG?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Mercedes has long produced some of the world’s finest four-seater coupés. However, most would agree its last attempt – the CL – wasn’t up to scratch. The new S-Class Coupé is bold, brash and imposing, but ultimately luxurious, which is key in this market. The entry-level S 500 Coupé is everything it needs to be, making you wonder why you’d spend extra on the AMG versions.

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Mercedes has traditionally been one of the best at producing large, imposing and ultra-luxurious two-door grand coupés, and the new S-Class is no exception. 

Mercedes S-Class Coupe review

We’ve tried the powerful AMG models in recent months, but what’s life like at the entry point to the line-up, in the S 500 Coupé? 

Bottom of the range is a relative term here, as entrance to the exclusive S-Class club starts at a considerable £96,000. While the S 63 and S 65 enjoy AMG-tuned twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 and 6.0-litre V12 engines under their long bonnets respectively, the S 500 makes do with ‘just’ a 4.7-litre V8. 

Although some people may scoff at its comparatively measly 449bhp output, it still has a colossal 700Nm of torque – allowing this two-tonne leather-lined grand tourer to cover 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds.

As a comparison, the twin-turbo V12 S 65 only gets there half a second quicker and is limited to the same 155mph top speed.

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Under hard acceleration, the S 500 is pleasingly vocal, too. While the AMG models get special sporty exhausts, the S 500 still offers up plenty of drama – with the V8 growling right through the rev range. But, as this is still an ultra-luxurious four-seater GT car, the Coupé is more than capable of travelling in near-silence. 

Thanks to a nine-speed auto box and double glazing, the S 500 can settle down to an eerily hushed cruise, making light work of motorways and long distances. Turn on to a country road and the slightly numb steering and the car’s vast size will remind you this is a grand tourer, not a sports coupé.

Our test car raised comfort up to the next level, though, with its Magic Body Control system. It’s a £4,250 option and works by using a clever front-facing camera to scan the road and spot potholes and road imperfections, setting the car up to pre-empt any inevitable jolts.

In fact, Magic Body Control is just the start, as our car had a wealth of desirable options, pushing the price up to an eye-watering £130,000. 

That, however, is the price of S-Class ownership, and, for those who can afford to splash out on arguably the flashiest Mercedes on the market, money isn’t likely to be a problem.

But, far from being the AMG models’ lesser sibling, we think this super-sleek, quiet and quick V8 S 500 could be the pick of the S Coupé range.

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