TESTED 29.5.18, Sussex ON SALE Now PRICE £103,715
New entry-level S-Class Coupé feels anything but entry level
The new Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupé is where the richer end of the modern S-Class sub-brand opens for business. Because these days, if you like the idea of owning an S-Class but not of driving around in a stretched four-door limousine that looks as if it ought to be on a permanent shuttle run between the airport and the nearest five-star hotel, you can have an S-Class Coupé or Cabriolet instead.
Having just updated the S-Class Coupé range, Mercedes has neatly plonked this 560 model at its base as a direct replacement for the old S500. It comes with plenty of trimmings that you’d have to pay extra for on lesser Mercedes models, such as Airmatic air suspension, a widescreen Comand Online infotainment system and Burmester surround audio. In addition to its standard equipment, our test car had 20in alloy wheels and Mercedes’ active hydraulic Magic Body Control suspension, which endows the car with both ‘curve tilting’ active cornering and active ride functions.
The cabin is inviting, plush and exotic – and that new 4.0-litre V8 engine can feel like the heart and soul of refinement when you want it to. Quiet at idle and smooth under power, the engine is managed suavely by the nine-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox when you’re driving in Comfort mode. At other times, there’s enough mid-range torque to make the S560 pour on pace without seeming to work for it.
The car’s smoothness, its superbly comfortable cabin and the isolated feel of its controls combine with a full suite of active driver aids to make long-distance driving feel like something of a privilege. The ride allows a little bit more road noise and surface patter than you’d ideally like. But the suspension deals very well with most UK road surfaces in how cleverly it cradles the car’s mass, rounding off the edges of most bumps and ridges, although it’s much better at ironing flat a set of low-frequency, low-amplitude undulations than a flurry of shorter, sharper ones.
Whether you should buy one depends largely on if you’re the sort of person who buys a fairly irrational car for a rational reason: because it’s all the grand touring coupé you really need. As a car to use every day, I’d take an S560 over plenty of more rarefied ‘super-GTs’. But equally, I could see why driving one – even looking at one parked on your gravel driveway – wouldn’t fill you with quite the same glow you might get from an Aston Martin, Bentley or Maserati.
Engine V8, 3982cc, twin-turbo, petrol
Power 463bhp at 5250rpm
Torque 516lb ft at 2000-4000rpm
Gearbox 9-spd automatic
Kerb weight 2075kg
Top speed 155mph (governed)
CO2, tax band 188g/km, 37%
Rivals BMW M850i Coupé, Porsche Panamera Turbo