What an engine. There is a soft spot around 2,300 rpm off the line, but then it rockets forward with unending thrust all the way down the quarter-mile. Upshifts are quick but oh-so-supple. Engine sounds forceful without being the least bit obnoxious. First run, with tranny in ?E? and ESC fully on, tied for the quickest. The S550 saw zero improvement even with power-braking (overlapping throttle and brake on the drag line, to increase revs and spool turbos), which is odd for a car with turbochargers. Trap speeds remained high, meaning there wasn't any sign of heat soak to the engine which would cause power to drop off after continued hard running. Manual shifting is via steering-wheel paddle shifters. It blips the throttle on manual downshifts (quite nicely, in fact), but does not hold gears to the rev limiter and upshifts for itself at 5,900 rpm. In fact, if you?re not turning or accelerating hard, it will eventually transfer itself back out of Manual mode and into Drive.
Ultra-firm pedal feel, intuitive amount of travel. And this car just plain stops, with no side-to-side fuss and little nosedive. No pedal fade, near-zero brake odor. The first stop was 116 feet. The third stop was longest at 119 feet and the sixth and final stop was 117 feet.
Slalom: Pretty quick steering from this big coupe and good grip from the tires. There's no getting around that this is a big, heavy beast with a pretty long wheelbase, but near-67 mph isn't a bad slalom time for a car like this. It always felt solid and planted and pretty maneuverable considering its weight. One annoying aspect was that even in the transmission's "S" mode and with the paddle shifters invoked to Manual mode, the S-Class coupe would eventually revert back to Drive mode, meaning it would upshift right before we entered the slalom. Kind of annoying. Skid pad: Excellent front tire grip, despite plenty of body roll/lean as it went around the steady-state turn of the skid pad. The car was not that receptive to drop-throttle antics to alter its attitude to curtail out some understeer, and the all-wheel drive didn't allow any tail-out action whatsoever.