The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 is considered by many to be the pinnacle of luxury sedans. It is Mercedes’s flagship vehicle so it’s one that needs to do everything right from the luxury to the performance. The outside of the vehicle is understated and elegant, but not something that will turn your head or draw attention. The inside, however, will make your eyes bug out of their sockets like a 1950’s cartoon character.
The S550 comes with a 4.6-liter V8 biturbo with direct injection that gives you 449 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque paired to a 7-speed automatic transmission. This jets the Mercedes along quite nicely, and when you need a burst of speed it happily complies, but in the most reserved and unobtrusive manner possible.
Yes, it will push you back into your unbelievably plush seat, but that’s only if you force it to misbehave. At all other times, it ferries you along so comfortably, so calmly, and so easily that you forget this is actually a car driving over a hard road. All the clichés come to mind because they all apply.
It is like riding on air. It is as smooth as silk. How is it possible that this thing actually rolls along the pavement on big rubber wheels? It’s more like you’re standing still and somehow the world is simply moving around you. The ride quality of the S550 is incredible.
The performance is there, but where the S550 shines is in the luxury. It is in every leather-covered crevice and it is beautiful. In fact, this is easily one of the most beautiful interiors you’ll ever have the privilege of experiencing. There are more expensive cars and there are flashier cars, but the understated elegance that oozes from the S550 is going to be hard to beat.
You can see just how much the focus here was on creating a luxury experience without even looking inside the car. Instead, take a look a the sticker before you open the door. The starting price comes in at $95,900 with the options on this tester taking it up to $128,545. That’s $30K on features that are mostly about looks and comfort.
There’s a $6,400 Burmester 3D surround sound system that looks as good as it sounds. Music practically vibrates through your body when you turn up the volume, and the speakers themselves have stunning detailed aluminium speaker grilles that add to the car’s opulence. Another $4,500 goes to the Premium 1 Package which includes keyless entry, parking assist, ventilated front seats, rear-side window shades, and active multicontour front seats with massage.
Those hailing from colder climes will want to add in the Warmth and Comfort Package for another $2,600 and get a heated steering wheel, heated power rear seats with detachable headrest pillows, and heated front and rear center armrest as well as heated front door armrests. Headrest pillows? Heated armrests? This is glorious madness!
Adding a little to you exterior looks is a $5,900 Sport Package which gives sport styling to the bumpers and side skirts and adds 19″ AMG 5-spoke wheels. Lastly, there’s the Driver Assistance Package which will set you back $2,800 for Distronic Plus with steering assist, active blind spot and lane keeping assist along with other safety features.
That’s a lot of add-ons for a lot of cash, and for the most part they’re designed to take an already beautiful car with luxuries like a quilted leather dash and silver-toned trims and crank it up to 11. If you’re looking at nearly a six-figure car, then a few ten thousand more to really make it something special is no big deal.
But this car is a big deal. It is not flashy. No none is going to get whiplash as you drive down the street because this car is not about getting attention. It’s about making you feel like a million bucks. It’s the kind of car that will have you taking the long way home. It’s the kind of car you’ll get into after a long day in the boardroom working bazillion dollar deals and feel all your stress instantly disappear.
There is an image in most people’s heads of what a Mercedes-Benz should be and when you open the door to the S550, that vision becomes a reality that you’re going to love.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550
Base Price: $95,900
Price As Tested: $127,620 (not including destination charge)
- Beautiful Interior
- Smooth Ride
- Weak Steering Feedback
- Flat Instrument Gauges