Drives like a dream. As we travel through the rough roads in daily Seattle traffic I’m reminded of being in the comfort of my living room with the quiet that allows my wife and I to have a normal conversation without the road noise from surrounding traffic to interfere. I’m amazed that we have recognized 20-21mpg in mixed mode driving. I will admit that the mpg decreases with increased use of the gas pedal. The transmission functions flawlessly and allows either paddle shifts or automatic shifting. In sports mode it hold gears to redline before shift application. While the technology is prevalent throughout once understood the infotainment system provides a rewarding results and the suspension & engine responses are intuitive and rewarding. My only complaint or challenge is with its length as parking in the garage proves to be tight and it’s a three car garage.
Bought the 2010 S550 4-matic with every option as a lease return CPO at almost 1/2 the original purchase price at two years old and with 20K miles on the ode. Bought an extra 2 year warranty and have only had to use it once for the drivers wheel sensor. Dealership replaced all the wheel sensors just to make sure. Oil, brakes, windshield wipers, air filters and one set of tires is all I've put into this car with over 60K miles of almost daily use. Tires made a huge difference - bought Conti DWS and that made this car perfect in all weather and super quiet, including managing a foot of snow on the road. I've had no issues with transmission or engine - starts off the line fast in sport mode, rides smooth in comfort, shifts great with no hesitation between gears. I've owned over fifty cars (all types) and this car is one of the best. I'm 6'6" and the drivers seat fits perfect - If I want, I can put the seat back far enough so I can't reach the pedals. Massage, heated/cooled and fine leather seats are perfect for long trips. Oil changes at the dealer (MB-PDX) with a free loaner (due to the car being S-Class) has been great. 60K highway / freeway miles has averaged 20 mpg (per the panel). Finally, I can sell / trade the car for about 1/2 of what I paid which isn't too bad for driving this level of comfort.
I sympathize with the reviewers who expected a smooth luxury cruiser, because this car is surprisingly challenging to drive, but that's a big part of its appeal to me. Step off is balky in C ("controlled efficiency") or S ("sport") modes, maybe because the transmission doesn't have a torque converter. But it smooths out considerably in M ("manual") mode and, in fact, the car seems considerably happier, although MPG nose dives. The C and even S modes lug the car unmercifully. Weird to drive a huge luxury car that needs driver involvement, but I'm the rarity who likes that. Reminds me of my 2005 Maserati GranSport, although of course the Maserati shifts far more positively. Update 10/13/16: The transmission finally got to me. Lurching off the line isn't my idea of luxury. That, and the continual squeak coming from the dash that would have embarrassed a Kia, let alone a $130k car. A fine example of "be careful what you wish for. You might get it".
I have every option available on this car. I have owned S-Class Mercedes for the past 25 years. This is my 1st 63 and I will never buy another 550. The performance package is an important option. The car does require oil about every 1000 miles. For this configuration its normal.(my R8 is every 500)
the sound is great. The speed for this heavy beast is unbelievable!!!!!