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2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 4matic

2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 4matic

PRN_TestDrive began almost exactly 8 years ago. Our very first car video was published on the 25th of November, 2015 a few months after I bought myself a relatively clean 2001 BMW 740iL. That started this entire journey of producing car content on YouTube. Full-size luxury cars have always been my drug of choice, which is why my latest vehicle purchase fits that bill. Introducing my 2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 4matic short wheelbase sedan. There are plenty of reasons why I wanted this car, and I hope by the end of this article you'll want one also.

The W221 Mercedes-Benz S-Class hit the world stage in 2006 to replace the W220. Us here in Canada and the United States ended up waiting a full year to get our hands on this, which seems to be a historical trend with the S-Class. The initial launch was called the Mercedes Bangle Butt by some, after BMW's poorly reviewed 2002 7 Series captivated the world with its large rear end. The design language followed the corporate line at the time, with round fog lights and strange body-coloured lines running through the tail lights. The trunk protruded out from the rear lights much like the E65 BMW 7 Series which got its name from.

The facelift for 2009 made significant changes to the sore spots of the car, bringing LED daytime running lights to the lower front fascia and a revised set of tail lights with less bulk and more lustre. As with any S-Class, industry-leading technology was at the forefront of this facelift. Features like adaptive high beam assist, blind spot assist, lane keeping assist, speed limit assist, and attention assist were added to this generation. PRE-SAFE brake in conjunction with the Distronic Plus system would stop the vehicle if a collision could happen. Many features we take for granted today on fully loaded vehicle made their world debut on the W221 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Let's talk about this specific car I bought. It's a short wheelbase model, something I hadn't planned to buy but finding low-mileage models is tough. It's finished in Magnetite Black metallic paint, Gray semi-aniline nappa leather, anthracite Alcantara Designo headliner, and Designo black wood trim. Powering this S-Class is the 4.6L twin-turbo M278 V8 engine, one that many feel is one of the more reliable Mercedes-Benz engines. The 7G-Tronic automatic transmission has been smooth to operate so far, unlike my 2013 C-Class which does suffer from some rougher shifts under certain circumstances.

Other features include the rear seating package which gives the outboard rear seats heat, ventilation, power functions, and memory options. The rear DVD entertainment system is also optioned, with headrest mounted screens, wireless headphones, and remotes to operate. It's a weird build considering it's a short wheelbase model, but one that we've appreciated on the couple road trips we've done so far. The extra 5.5" of legroom afforded on the long wheelbase variants would certainly be appreciated, but it ultimately depends on what you want to use your S-Class for.

This S-Class comes with the option Night View Assist with Pedestrian detection, Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control, and the sport package. Other features included on this car are massaging front seats, backup camera, sunroof, harmon/kardon audio system, power-turning navigation screen, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and soft-close doors.

The main reason you want to buy an S-Class is the unparalleled ride and comfort. This car rides like it's on a pillow. Yes, many are worried about Airmatic, I even had trouble with it during our first trip, but the system itself is relatively reliable, with most issues related to sensors rather than complete mechanical failure. We've driven many S-Class generations, from the 1988, 1997, 2003, and now this 2013. One thing they all share in common is the ride. The 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL we first drove back in 2016 has a nearly identical ride to my 2013, and that's not saying that my car is old and decrepit. Mercedes-Benz has ensured that the S-Class has remained as comfortable to drive today as it always has been and always will.

Overall performance is exceptional also. While you have over 400 horsepower behind the wheel of this car, you don't need to use it. The S-Class will start off in second gear to keep the revs low. The sport mode is never used on my car, nor is sport Airmatic. It's all about comfort in this car. Throw on the massaging seats, close the rear sunshades, and turn on some good tunes and you're ready for anything the road throws at you. Our first road trip to Ottawa was mostly successful, with a smooth and comfortable ride up to the nation's capital, we made it through some of the backroads of Québec in bliss before hitting moon-like craters near our final destination. Either the control arm for the rear air-ride level was broken and jostled loose, or broke thanks to the roads, our rear air suspension failed causing major panic.

Nothing's worse than having a break-down 800 kms away from home on vacation. All the local M-B dealerships were booked solid, but an independent Mercedes repair shop in Ottawa was able to take me in last minute to diagnose the broken control arm. $45 in OEM parts, 2 days, and 1 hour of labour later we were back on the road. No lie though, I was nervous the entire drive home after our trip was derailed due to a simple issue.

But you have to take the bad in order to get the good. While this generation S-Class is considered reliable, and the 2012-2013 models being the most sought after for reliability, unexpected issues can still creep up. The most recent issue I get to deal with is due to my work as an automotive journalist. Driving new cars every week means the S-Class sits at home for weeks at a time. The main battery doesn't get charged enough and something must be pulling from one of them as the car tends to have a bit of trouble starting after a week or two, and my parking sensors won't work right away. It's something we're continuing to monitor as we try and drive the car at least once a week, however the winter cold has settled in and snow just around the corner, so we'll see how successful I am in keeping this car running smoothly.

For now I recommend visiting our YouTube Channel to watch my full tour and review on my 2013 Mercedes-Benz S 550 4matic to find out about all the features and options, along with our typical buyer's guide found at the end of the video. Stay tuned for more on this car as we'll be chronicling our ownership of this vehicle as time goes on.


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