Here's a hypothetical.
You want a new car but, before you sign on the dotted line, you have five requirements that must be satisfied:
1.) There must be a prestige badge on the nose of the vehicle.
2.) The acceleration must be of the boy-racer variety.
3.) The vehicle must meet the everyday family and professional requirements of a responsible adult.
4.) The infotainment technology has to be so space-age it would have Captain Kirk hollering, "Hey, Spock, how'd'ya work this thing?!!!"
5.) And, finally, to a great extent the vehicle must relieve your heavy burden of excess disposable income.
Has Mercedes-Benz got a car for you!
All-new, the seventh-generation, 2021 Mercedes S-Class is in a class by itself.
Prestige badge? As if the Mercedes three-pointed star isn't enough, S-Class, as the brand's flagship, is the star of Mercedes.
Hot performance? The S-Class sedan, which boasts standard all-wheel drive, can be had as the S500, powered by a 429-hp, turbocharged I-6, or the S580 we drove, with its 496-hp, twin-turbo V-8. Both get Mercedes's EQ Boost mild hybrid assist and both are managed by a nine-speed automatic. Drivers of the S500 greet 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Our S580 made the trip nearly half-a-second faster -- 4.4 seconds.
Grown up accommodations? Room is spectacular front and rear in this full-size sedan, which boasts a back seat that can be optioned up to sybaritic levels of chauffeured-driven chic.
Cutting-edge, 21st century tech? Our S580 had more cameras than Paramount, along with a dizzying array of complex infotainment controls that jettison knobs and buttons for sliders and touch pads.
The effect on your bank account? S500 starts at $110,850, S580 at $117,350. After our 580 bumped the price north by $28,940 in options, our bottom line of $146,290 should have included a bath-and-a-half.
And that was our only gripe with this astounding automobile. For a base price of nearly 120 grand, shouldn't fancy 20-inch wheels and boffo audio be standard? In our car, they were, respectively, $950 and $6,730 options, the latter a 1,750-watt Burmester High End 4D Surround Sound system. But, otherwise, if you complain about this car, you're just grouchy.
On the road, the ride is of the magic-carpet variety thanks to S580's "Airmatic" air suspension. Our car also boasted four-wheel steering, a $1,300 option that lets the rear wheels turn up to 10 degrees. It actually makes this massive car feel light on its feet. Add drive modes of Individual, Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport-Plus (which lowers the suspension, among other adjustments), all to complement S580's twice-blown V-8, with its 516 lb.-ft. of torque, and you've got some real driving fun. In 200 miles -- about 125 on the highway and 75 on surface streets -- we got 20 mpg, just as the EPA figured.
Of course, if you'd rather let Jeeves do the driving, you can add a $3,500 Rear Seat Pkg., which provides aft riders with zoned climate control, a tablet touchscreen in the center armrest, a right-seat power-adjustable foot rest and more. Heck, why not also throw in the $3,150 Executive Rear Seat Pkg. like our car did? That'll add, among other things, 11.6-inch touchscreens with infotainment controls for each outboard passenger and multi-contour outboard rear seats with massage! Amazing.
Up front, the 12.3-inch gauge display is endlessly reconfigurable: we loved the "Sport" display, which was like peering down a light tunnel. Alas, the 12.8-inch center-stack screen, controlling everything from the radio to seat massages, bans buttons and knobs, meaning you've got finger-slide pads to control radio volume (bleccckk!) and touch-screen pads and slides for just about everything else. Sheeeesh!
But, with impressive power, space-age tech and more interior screens than the local Cineplex, this S-Class sedan is a stunning flagship for a prestigious brand.