2010 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic

I'd probably agree with the assertion that this Benz has a leg up on the 7-series, if only with the added reminder that in this premium segment, we're really talking about varying degrees of excellence. As with any premium sedan, the highlight of the experience is the interior. I really hated Mercedes COMAND controller at first, but after a weekend, I'd say it's better than iDrive and much, much better than Audi's MMI. Phone pairing was a simple procedure-and actually worked. The primary controller on the center console is reasonably intuitive and has a nice tactile quality to it. Oh, and there's a massage feature for the driver's seat with four settings.

I'd agree with Phil that the S-class feels a bit smaller from behind the wheel than our long-wheelbase 7-series, but only slightly. There's still that familiar, and indeed welcome sense of solidity, and presence. I haven't had the privilege of taking this or any S-class on a long journey, but even a few short stints on the highway highlighted its tomblike silence. With its air suspension in a sport setting, the S-class sticks clearly to the German definition of a premium ride-firm yet never harsh.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

New Car Research

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