I love a good luxury cruiser. Perhaps it's because my commute is so long that I can just sit back, put some good tunes on, and relax; the massaging front seats on the Mercedes-Benz S550 aid the latter. Once situated, I prefer BMW's iDrive system to this COMAND controller. Although there's nothing wrong with the Mercedes unit, it just feels dated and sometimes confusing to navigate. Granted I use the 7-series iDrive more thanks to our Four Seasons example, so familiarity probably plays a roll in my preference.
On the road, the S550 feels more buttoned down than the 7-series. And with the S550's tighter steering and smaller cabin, it's easy to think you're driving a much smaller car than a 4600-pound Mercedes. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive does a good job of keeping the car pointed straight ahead on snowy roads, and power delivery from the 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 is smooth and refined. The night-vision feature, while effective, reminds me too much of the bumper camera view on a racing video game and quite frankly, made me dizzy if I looked at it for more than two seconds. The screen is cool, however, as it appears where the speedometer usually is.
The Mercedes-Benz S-class continues to be a fantastic automobile in a segment that demands high-class perfection.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator