2009 Mercedes-Benz S550

A guy in a brand-new, V-12-powered S600 (which starts at some $58,000 more than this "base" S-class) pulled up next to me at a stoplight, lowered his window, and interrupted his very important phone call to tell me how this--flint gray metallic--is his favorite color on these cars.

"I really wanted my car in that color," he said, "but I would have had to wait a few more weeks, so I settled on silver."

S-class owners don't have to settle for much, though, since the cars are darn near perfect right out of the box. Make-you-feel-like-royalty luxury and comfort. Overwhelm-your-nerdy-nephew technology. Outsprint-Mustang-punks acceleration. Get-it-right-the-first-time ergonomics. It's all there and more.

Owners of lesser Benzes know this, too. Another guy in a last-gen E320 4Matic made it a point to whiz by in a 45-mph zone. The S-class was not impressed.

I wasn't as wholeheartedly impressed as usual, however, since this particular S-class felt less rigid and more wobbly than others I've driven (and adored) in the past. I blame it on Michigan's frost-heaved roads ...

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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