It was a warm summer afternoon, not a cloud in the sky and no chance of rain. The sun’s light was shining down at full effect, but the heat wasn’t overwhelming. It was the perfect day for a relaxing drive. A family friend had dropped her 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 off at my house in the morning as she was going on vacation. She welcomed me to take it for a ride, but only if I wanted to. Was she kidding me?
After a long morning of work, walking outside to the car in my driveway was literally a breath of fresh air.
Just glancing at the mesmerizing vehicle parked outside wasn’t nearly enough for me to take in its full beauty. It’s the type of car that requires you to stop and stare. The sun reflected off the car the way it does on the new cars at dealerships when you drive past. Its glossy black paint, accented perfectly by the bright chrome trim and eighteen inch, seven split-spoke chrome rims, gives the car a flashy yet elegant look.
The body’s unique curve and overall shape compels you to drive it, the way any car of its stature would. The exterior is flawless, from its protruding wheel arches to its distinct headlights and taillights, even the side mirrors are appealing. The car’s shine is completed by the iconic Mercedes-Benz hood emblem, which has that sparkle from the sun like something out of an advertisement picture. The panoramic double sun-roof allowed a beam of light into the car that gave me an appetizing preview of its interior.
Staring at the vehicle was nearly enough to keep me entertained all afternoon, but I know the S550 truly shines underneath the hood.
When I gently pressed the remote starter, the 5.5 liter V8 engine came to a roaring start. If power could be captured in a sound, it would be this car’s engine running. Stepping into the driver’s seat I was amazed how the interior is equally as stunning as the outside. Sitting in the soft black leather seat, looking at the eight inch LCD screen in the dashboard and the walnut wood trim, I felt as if I was sitting at a comfortably furnished office desk with a high-speed computer. Night-vision camera display in the dashboard, voice-activated navigation, automatic adjusting seats, a harman/kardon sound system, it literally had everything you could ask for in a car.
All these features controlled by the various multifunction buttons on the steering wheel, for my easiest convenience, of course. I turned on the stereo, which played with superior sound and clarity, and I put the car in reverse. The screen in the dashboard then turned into a rear-view camera, and I backed out of my driveway without even turning my head. It drove like no other car I had driven before. It felt as though the car drove itself, and with cruise control sensors that can keep pace even in stop-and-go traffic, it actually did drive itself. Although coasting around with the windows down, playing music, and watching heads turn was absolute glory, I wanted to see what the car could really do, so I headed for the highway.
I put the windows up, accelerated and took off. With its sound-proof sealing and superior steering and balance control, the only way I could tell how fast I was going was by the speedometer. The car handled perfectly and rode smoothly even at higher speeds. I knew I was driving the car the way it was meant to be driven. It put me in another place, a very relaxed yet aware state, with a great sense of power and control. It was at that time I truly realized I wasn’t driving just any car. I was driving a car that you could drive for no reason, with no destination; you could drive it simply just to drive.
Exiting the highway was like coming to the last stretch of a roller-coaster, all of my adrenaline coming down from an incomparable high. I slowly drove back to my house, reluctant to bring the ride to an end. Like landing a plane, I brought the car to a stop in my driveway, put it into park, and exited the most amazing machine I’d ever operated. It was a car ride like no other.