Mercedes-Benz S430

For copyright infringement and removal of materials -

Keywords: automotive reviews, automotive news, 2004 audi a8l vs. bmw 745i, jaguar xj8, m-b s430, vw phaeton car review, new 2004 audi a8l vs. bmw 745i, jaguar xj8, m-b s430, vw phaeton

Description: Car and Driver offers exclusive car comparison tests. Here's one now: 2004 Audi A8L vs. BMW 745i, Jaguar XJ8, M-B S430, VW Phaeton - Comparison. (Page 2)

The clout of the three-pointed star and the upright Benz grille continue undiminished, but this S-class sedan wearing them is showing its age. The 275-hp V-8 is outgunned by all the others, leaving the S430 in the dust in nearly every acceleration test, and yet ahead of only the Volkswagen in fuel economy. Our 2003-model test car was hobbled with an old five-speed automatic; the 2004 S430—unavailable for this test—gets seven cogs, trumping the six-speeds in the rest of the field. The five-speed is slow to make part-throttle downshifts when you begin to up the pace, and the brakes seem to ignore a great deal of the early pedal travel. Don't bother me, the Benz seems to say.

Still, there are high spots. The brilliant console shifter is in the manumatic mode whenever it's in D. Bump the lever left for downshifts, right for upshifts, or hold briefly to the right for a quick default back up to D from any gear.

This Mercedes was also endowed with road grip exceeded only by that of the BMW. Both were equipped with optional sport suspensions and special-purpose tires. On this car, that means 245/45-18s in front and 265/40-18s in back, both ends labeled Michelin Pilot Sport. In addition to the $5100 initial cost of the tire-and-bodywork package, there will always be a certain inconvenience associated with this larger-in-back tire sizing—the spare can never be right for both ends of the car.

What's the extra road grip worth? Three cars in the group stand above the others, having braking distances of 169 feet or better, and skidpad adhesion above 0.82 g. The grippy trio—Mercedes, BMW, Audi—all wore summer tires. The downside is that the tread wears away faster, and the tires are not suitable for temperatures near freezing or below. Being a New Yorker, Grasso would need a change of shoes for his northern winters. Even when switching is not a financial burden, it's a nuisance.

The summer-shoes Benz gave a first-rate account of itself as it slipped through the lane-change test at 57.4 mph, 1.7 quicker than the next-best Audi, and 4.3 better than the slow-guy Lexus. When pushed, the S430's steering response had the athletic tautness we expect of performance tires. Most of the praise for this car came during brisk driving.

The Benz ranked last for driver comfort—the driving position is high and awkward—and barely ahead of the Audi for rear comfort. Thigh support back there is lacking almost completely. And we never made friends with the climate control.

Photogallery Mercedes-Benz S430:

2003 MERCEDES-BENZ S430 SPORT SEDAN - Barrett-Jackson Auction ...
2000 MERCEDES-BENZ S430 4 DOOR SEDAN - Barrett-Jackson Auction ...
Fotos da Mercedes-Benz S430 - Fotos de carros

2002 MERCEDES-BENZ S430 4 DOOR SEDAN - Barrett-Jackson Auction ...
AMG Mercedes Benz S430
2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 Sedan | MercedesBenz Colors

2006 Mercedes Benz S class S430 AMG for Sale
Fotos del Mercedes-Benz S430 - Zcoches
West Auctions - Auction: 2005 Mercedes Benz S430 Sedan ITEM: 2005 ...

AMG Mercedes Benz S430
Mercedes Benz S 430
2006 Mercedes Benz S class S430 AMG for Sale

2005 MERCEDES-BENZ S430 4 DOOR SEDAN - Barrett-Jackson Auction ...
2000 Mercedes S430 Navigation Problem? - Mercedes-Benz Forum
Mercedes Benz S430 - Fotos de coches - Zcoches

Mercedes Benz S 430 Amg
2001 Mercedes S430 Amg
Mercedes Benz S430 1996 - Fotos de coches - Zcoches