2022 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic proves that six cars are enough

Three is the new five.

For most of its existence, the Mercedes-Benz model designation directly corresponded to the engine displacement of a particular car in liters, multiplied by 100. But this is no longer the only case, as this numerical correlation began to fall victim to the proliferation of engines of smaller displacement with larger specific outputs. Watch the 2022 Mercedes S500. For the first time, the S-Class with the 500 on its boot lid is powered not by a large V-8, but by a 3.0-liter inline-six.

What the newer S500’s engine lacks in size, it makes up for in muscle. Powered by an electric supercharger and a turbocharged exhaust, this six engine makes 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, with a 48-volt hybrid system contributing another 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet at short intervals. Air and electricity conspire to deliver lag-free acceleration regardless of speed. Although it may be down to 67 horsepower to the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the S580 we tested recently, the 500 still oozes. We cranked our test car to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and covered the quarter mile in 13.0 seconds at 108 mph — times that make this smaller model only about half a second slower than the S580 in both scales.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

HIGHS: Flair-proof design, a ridiculously quiet cabin, and simple luxury done right.

The quality of the audio coming from under the S500’s hood could be more subtle, although you’re unlikely to hear much from it. Firewall insulation now extends to the sides of the A-pillars and under the floorboards, reducing grit engine screeching when the throttle is opened wide to a 71dB murmur. A similar silent treatment is applied to the exposed areas of the structure, sections of which are filled with acoustic foam to absorb the frequencies of road vibration. Foam-filled tires also contribute to lower overall racket. The result is a very calm environment. At our test facility in California, we recorded just 61 decibels of cabin noise at a steady 70 mph, three decibels less than we observed in the S580 on the noise-filled Michigan runway.

Despite its sound isolation, this large sedan offers a fair amount of driving share for something that weighs 4,775 pounds and rides on a 126.6-inch long wheelbase. Push it hard, and the S500 will navigate corners with nearly unbeatable agility, thanks in part to a rear axle steering option that can turn the rear wheels up to 4.5 degrees. We found the air spring suspension and adaptive dampers to be flexible and installed in the comfort position. For more spirited outings, Sport and Sport Plus modes tighten and lower the suspension with increasing levels of intensity. Our example wears optional 21-inch Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires, clocked 0.92g of skateboard grip and 160 feet from 70 mph.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

Low: “Hey, Mercedes,” the virtual assistant still lacks humor, and the semi-autonomous driving tech isn’t right for the driver.

We were less impressed with the performance of Mercedes’ adaptive cruise control. Whether crawling along a semi-observed road or cruising at high speeds, the system demonstrates extremely slow reactions. When a gap appears in traffic, they first fade into a long, excruciating cadence, then leap forward like a panicked squirrel – only to hit the brakes hard as they dash toward the lead car. We’ve noticed this unnerving ping-pong effect before in the new S-Class, and it might not bother us too much if Mercedes weren’t the first to introduce this technology in 1998.

The technology is much better indoors. Although the central 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen has the visual effect of an open laptop resting above the center console, its menus are well organized and the operating system is responsive to inputs. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay take full advantage of the abundant screen space. The “Hey, Mercedes” command now has proximity awareness, meaning back seat passengers can place their own requests from the cloud-based voice assistant.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

For the most part, the S500’s interior exudes an air of modern sophistication befitting a car that initially cost $112,150. The vents have an industrial quality to it, which contrasts beautifully with the piano-lacquered wood trim for the $1,300 that splashes across the dashboard and doors. We were intrigued by the $2,290 Nappa Brown Leather, which is luxurious for the eyes as well as soothing for the back. Front seat passengers can choose from 10 different massage programs, while rear seat passengers will enjoy a full 43.8 inches of legroom. Ambient lighting took a questionable step forward, with many multicolored features that could transform the indoor environment from a country club into a nightclub. There is a practical side to this offer, though: If the car senses a danger approaching an adjacent lane, the LEDs in the opposite front door will flash red in a warning.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

After all, that sense of anticipation is one of the hallmarks of the S500. The door handles extend outward in greeting as you approach the vehicle, and glow softly to provide a welcoming beacon. Reach the empty passenger seat in the dark and a spotlight will illuminate the direct area, switching itself off immediately when backing out. The optional 3D Technology Package includes a pair of cameras that track eye movements and facial expressions and can also automatically determine the height of the side mirror positions. While the 12.3-inch instrument cluster’s 3D effect might amount to little more than a visual gimmick, we enjoyed how the on-screen navigation map looked.

In Germany, even more modest luxury car owners have a history of changing smaller displacement models to avoid attention from the judgmental eye. With the latest S500, that won’t be necessary. Although the number on the trunk no longer matches what’s under the hood, this six-cylinder Mercedes doesn’t give up much on performance and delivers all the essential hallmarks of the S-Class experience.

to specify

to specify

2022 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic
Vehicle type: Front-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Basic / as tested: $112,150 / $127,330
Options: AMG Line (AMG wheels and sport body styling, stainless steel sport pedals, AMG floats), $4,300; 3D Technology Package (MBUX AR display, 3D instrument cluster), $3,000; Sienna brown and black nappa leather, $2,290; 21-inch AMG wheels with summer tires, $1,950; 4.5-degree rear axle steering, $1,300; Piano Lacquer Interior Trim, $1,300; Active Ambient Lighting, $790; Heated steering wheel, $250

Supercharged, turbocharged and intercooler DOHC 24 valves inline 6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 inches33000 cm3
Power: 429 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 384 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm

9 speed automatic

Suspension, F / R: multi-link / multi-link
Brakes, F/R: 14.5-inch, cross-drilled disc/14.1-inch diffuser, cross-drilled disc
Tyres: Pirelli P Zero PZ4
F: 255/35R-21 98Y MO-S
PO Box: 285/30R-21100Y MO-S

Wheelbase: 126.6 inches
Length: 208.2 inches
Width: 76.9 inches
Height: 59.2 inches
Passenger size: 120 feet3
Trunk size: 13 feet3
Empty weight: 4775 lbs

grandfather Test results
60 mph: 4.5 seconds
100 mph: 11.1 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.0 seconds @ 108 mph
120 mph: 16.4 seconds
The results above delete 1 foot from subtracting 0.3 seconds.
Rolling start, 5 to 60 mph: 5.2 seconds
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.9 seconds
Top Gear, 50-70 mph: 3.8 seconds
Top speed (limited government): 128 mph
Braking, 0-70 mph: 160 feet
Braking, 100 to 0 mph: 340 ft
Road, 300 feet Skidpad: 0.92g

Fuel economy by the Environmental Protection Agency
Pool/city/highway: 24/21/30 mpg

grandfather Explanation of the test

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