The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a long-held reputation for being a sort of standard-bearer for high-class luxury sedans; the S-Class doesn’t so much compete with prestige luxury cars such as those from Bentley and Rolls-Royce, but it holds the high-water mark for high-tech safety features and electronics-laden conveniences. Mercedes-Benz last gave the S-Class a major redesign in 2007; at that time, the big luxury sedan became a little more curvaceous and fun to drive, and of course stepped up the number of leading-edge features.
Powertrains on the U.S.-spec S-Class include a 382-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8 in the S550, a 510-hp, twin-turbo V-12 in the S600, and a 604-hp version of the V-12 in the S65 AMG models, as well as a V-8 AMG model, the 518-hp S63 AMG. The S550 can get to 60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, but the S600 can make it in a mere 4.5 seconds.
The S550 is also offered in a 4Matic all-wheel-drive model, which TheCarConnection.com recommends for those who drive frequently in winter conditions. The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class V-12 models come with a five-speed automatic transmission, while V-8 models get a seven-speed automatic; both have Touch Shift manual control.
The standard S550's powertrain provides plenty of muscle to move the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class with authority, but the S600's V-12 kicks in an extra measure of omnipresent torque and is especially quiet and refined. However, you can feel the added weight of the engine in the S600, and it doesn't handle with quite as much agility.