The third and easily most venerated of the three legs of the German luxury automobile triumvirate, Mercedes Benz has long been synonymous with the highest levels of class and sophistication. The company is credited with building the first automobile in 1886, and it has never rested on those early laurels. Indeed, the company’s slogan remains “The best or nothing.”
Subsequently, the brand has always appealed to the ultra elite, and American industrialists like John D. Rockefeller, John Jacob Astor IV and John Pierpont Morgan were all driving a Mercedes Benz by 1901.
As the 20th century unfolded, the brand continuously blazed new trails in innovation that are now taken for granted. It offered the first car to have brakes on all four wheels in 1926, the first diesel engine in 1936, the first fuel injection in 1953, and the earliest traction control systems in 1959.
In the modern era, Mercedes Benz is still considered the top dog in the pantheon of automotive technology and luxury. The company’s S class is named for “special” cars, and is reserved for the brand’s flagship models, including S500 and S580 sedans, and S550 and S560 coupes and cabriolets.
Currently, the S-class models feature an OLED touch-screen monitor on the center stack that controls the navigation system, heat and A/C, stereo and other features. It also responds to voice-command functions, is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and offers wireless charging. The sedans include a futuristic three-dimensional digital gauge cluster on the dashboard.
Under the hood, the S500 is powered by a 429-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine, while the S580 boasts a 496-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. The S560 coupe and cabriolet are fitted with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that generates 463 horsepower.