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Absolute Stunner: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe Test Drive

Hype is a double-edged sword. For automakers, excitement over an upcoming model can sell units before they even go into production. It happens in the supercar realm, where a sketch can be enough to get well-heeled buyers to put enormous deposits down on a car they haven’t even seen in the metal. However, if enough people find a particular vehicle doesn’t live up to that hype, that disappointment can tarnish its appeal.

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe more than lived up to its hype. I knew the S-Class was an automotive icon. I knew the S-Class has been the choice of celebrities, business tycoons, and world leaders for decades. I knew it’s always been a rolling showcase of Mercedes-Benz’s impeccable craftsmanship and engineering prowess. I knew Mercedes-Benz updated the S-Class Coupe for 2018 by giving it sportier exterior styling, a new interior design, more cutting-edge infotainment and safety features, and a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. I received the window sticker in advance and saw that Mercedes loaded my test vehicle with nearly $27,000 worth of options, which ranged from cosmetic upgrades to safety enhancements. So I thought I knew what to expect from the S-Class Coupe. I had no idea just how wonderful it was going to be.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe Exterior

I was hooked on the S560 at first glance. It was stunning. There are dozens of grays out there, but Mercedes seemed to have found the perfect shade and applied it to the S560. Selenite Gray was perfectly low-key without being boring. Mercedes engineers made the roof strong enough that they didn’t have to use B-pillars, which gave the big luxury coupe a sports-car sleekness. It looked as if a sculpture carved the S560 out of a solid mass of stone and spent hours wet-sanding and polishing it. The optional Sport Package and its special bumpers, side skirts, diamond grille with chrome tips, and 19-inch AMG wheels added to that performance car image.

As eye-catching as the LED lights were, Mercedes found a way to make them even more dazzling: They added optional Swarovski crystal headlamp accents to my press loaner.

A thick chrome strip spanned the entire width of the power-operated trunk and over the tops of the tail lights. Like the head lights, they were a special sight. They were made up of small plates of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which gave the tail lamps a mesmerizing three-dimensional effect. Another chrome accent visually connected the split exhaust finishers and highlighted the S560’s subtle rear diffuser.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe Interior

The S560 was equally beautiful on the inside. Its cabin looked as special as I felt sitting in it. Designers mixed leather, wood, and metallic accents and different shapes to create an interior that was visually dynamic. Two large rectangular 12.3-inch screens, which displayed the main gauges and the contents of the infotainment system, jutted forward from the gently curved dashboard. designo Titian Red leather topped that and the door panels, and contrasted tastefully with the designo Porcelain leather on the lower door panels and dashboard, and quilted leather seats. designo black piano lacquer wood trim accents added an unexpected touch of darkness and drama. Even the air vents, which looked as if they were machined out of aluminum for a vintage automobile, were a treat for my eyes.

The S560 made luxury into a completely immersive, multisensory experience. I felt it in the Premium Package’s active multicontour front seats, which offered heating and ventilation, and multiple types of massage. I heard it in the optional 1,190-watt, 26-speaker Burmester 3D surround sound audio system. I smelled it in the air thanks to the S560’s standard Air Balance cabin fragrance system. The Energizing Comfort Control feature coordinated the climate control, Air Balance, audio system, and massaging driver seat to create various 10-minute spa-like experiences focused on a theme, such as Freshness, Vitality, or Comfort.

The longer the road I had to drive in the S560, the better. The S560 glided on its AIRMATIC air suspension and I passed the miles with a smile on my face, completely pampered and fully comforted. I would say it was dreamlike, but it was better than that because it actually happened.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe Performance

A twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 replaces the outgoing S550’s twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8. Output is up to 463 horsepower while torque stays steady at 516 lb-ft. A nine-speed automatic and Mercedes-Benz’s 4MATIC all-wheel drive apply that output to the road and help the S560 launch to 60 mph in only 4.5 seconds.

The Dynamic Select system changed the S560’s throttle response, shift points, and electromechanical steering effort according to which mode I chose. ECO was best for trying to achieve the EPA’s fuel economy ratings of 17 city, 27 highway, and 21 combined mpg** – impressive numbers for a 4,784-pound car with more than 450 horsepower. In Comfort mode, the S560 was relaxed and provided a serene driving experience, but it was still capable of pulling like a freight train when I mashed the accelerator. Sport and Sport+ made the S560 more responsive and let out even more of the V8’s deep, satisfying roar.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe Safety

All Mercedes-Benz vehicles are known for offering an impressive amount of safety features, especially the S-Class, so I was not surprised when I found out how much safety equipment the automaker packed into my test vehicle. Aside from the usual assortment of airbags, ABS, and stability control, the S560 featured standard technologies such as Active Brake Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Brake Assist System, ATTENTION ASSIST, and PRE-SAFE Predictive Occupant Protection System.

The optional Driver Assistance Package added several more features, including Active Steering Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, and Evasive Steering Assist.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe

2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 Coupe Overall

From its gorgeous exterior to its comfort- and technology-packed interior to its impressively powerful and surprisingly fuel-efficient engine to its staggering amount of safety features, my $152,195 2018 Mercedes-Benz S560 4MATIC Coupe press loaner was an absolute stunner. It more than lived up to the hype around the S-Class. It exceeded it. To experience the S560 Coupe yourself, prepare to be amazed, then go to an AutoNation-affiliated Mercedes-Benz dealership. Prices start at $124,500.*

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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