In the Swabian region of Germany, understatement is a way of life. The ride might be perceived as too firm to some, but it does help communicate what the chassis is doing. Body roll, front dive, and rear squat under heavy throttle are all dampened to minimize discomfort. With identical power ratings as the sedan, its performance is on a par with its stablemate. With discreet body additions front, rear, and on the rocker panels, the elegant lines ooze presence squared. While rear-seat room is sparse, front occupants are coddled in fragrant leather and polished woods. The torque converter has a special lock-up that engages in third, fourth, and fifth gears to aid in fuel economy.
As you'd expect, each comes virtually fully equipped, with no options. The exhaust note is a rich, deep V-8 rumble, rising to a snarl when the tach needle lives in the upper range, reason enough to drive with the windows down. Such a configuration is the best balance between allowable valve size and piston speed. It senses the current driving style and changes its shift characteristics to suit; soft shifts during leisurely driving, but snapping into gear when the driving style turns aggressive. Speaking of transmissions, the five-speed autobox out of the M-B 12-cylinder cars is used due to its durability under serious torque. Pricing for this trio demonstrates that premium performance comes at a premium price.
With five vehicles in its current lineup with a sixth, in the form of a supercharged 3. . Under hard cornering, the weight of the vehicle becomes apparent, the suspension working hard to reduce oversteer. From rest to 60 takes just a breath over 5 seconds, the five-speed automatic transmission holding the gear until redline. Exceptionally roomy, the complex interior is a wonderful environment to watch the world whisper past. The tachometer wastes little time swinging to the 6000 rpm redline when the five-speed automatic transmission smoothly snaps into the next gear. With such a large engine in the relatively light body, this is the fastest production in the company's history.
So when you dive into that corner hotter than planned, the S55 will more clearly communicate the laws of physics. And there isn't a dog in the pack. A six-speed, sequential transaxle gearbox snaps off full-throttle upshifts with lighting speed. Not a bad place to be as you dive into the first turn at Hockenheim racetrack, or your favorite sweeper on the way home. Production will be limited; it's doubtful Mercedes will bring more than 500-750 units per year of each into this country.
So if you want one, speak quickly-or risk having to drive an average car. . . . . .
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