The 2015 Mercedes S550 represents the true paradox of choice. There are so many different ways to configure things in this car, that even after going through all 5 trillion options, you will still be unhappy.

This is because even after hours of messing with all the settings, you still won’t be able to achieve the perfect driving position. Why? Because you know that there is that one tweak you can make to get everything to perfection but you just can’t figure out what that is exactly.

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You see, when there are entirely too many choices, you’re just as miserable as when you have no options at all.

Having said that, allow me to walk you through of what it might be like if you were about to go for a drive in this imposing, stately sedan. Ready?

Ok...let’s begin.

First thing’s first.

Let’s adjust your ride height.

What kind of roads are you planning on driving on today? Will your route consist of some questionable roads filled with potholes or will you be driving very fast on some long stretches of road with smooth pavement?

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Let’s say you pick the latter (driving on smooth highways, that is). If you take a quick glance at the picture above, you may not be able to tell much of a difference, but if you look closer you’ll know. The S550 on the top half of the picture is actually at the lowered setting (the difference in ride height is so minor).

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This is like playing the game where you have to stare at two pictures and spot the differences - yes, it took an hour for you to realize that the lady is wearing red socks, not yellow, in the bottom picture!

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After selecting your ride height, you can choose how you want to manipulate things on the giant 12 inch display. Here you have the option of either using the touch-senstive device (like a laptop mouse) or a dial that you can rotate; you can use either interchangeably. You’ll be glad that Mercedes thought of this because twisting a dial can get very tiring after a while and when your fingers are about to fall off from too much dial rotation, you will be so grateful that you can switch from the dial to the touchpad. What a relief.

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Why exert yourself any more than what is absolutely necessary?

After you have made up your mind on using either the touchpad or the dial (or both), you can now concentrate on what kind of interior scent you wish to go with.

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Here you have four different options on the kind of scent you want inside the car.

If you’re headed to watch a game with your buddies at a downtown bar, then maybe you’d want to insert the “sports mood” perfume into your perfume-expelling device.

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Or perhaps, if you’re headed for a night out on the town, you might want to go with the “nightlife mood” and prepare yourself to party all night long.

Let’s assume that you are indeed going with the “nightlife” option in which case you would most likely be driving at night (unless you like partying by yourself during the day). Your drive downtown would, however, not be ideal unless you select the appropriate hue of lighting inside the cabin.

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Luckily, you have eight different options to choose from. There are 500 LEDS that provide you with your choice of satisfactory lighting. Once you pick your desired color you can now take a deep breath of “nightlife mood” and relax.

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Here I’ll suggest that you be extremely careful with the kind of ambient lighting you end up going with. The S550 is so quiet, that with a subdued glow, along with a cabin infused with the “nightlife mood” aroma, you may just end up falling asleep while driving.

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But don’t worry. There are so many sensors in this car that it’s sure to sound some kind of an alarm if your car starts drifting as your eyelids droop down and you go into some sort of hypnotic state.

In the unfortunate event that you do happen to crash and need to call for help, you have this handy-dandy SOS button at your disposal. It might not eject you out of your car, but I’m sure it will beckon a helicopter that will immediately arrive to extract you out of your wrecked S550.

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But if you’re in Europe, you won’t even need to worry about piloting your car because the 2015 S550 is actually self-driving. There are things like parking assist and other kinds of magical technology that drive the car for you so that you can focus on tasks like optimizing your trunk-opening height.

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Or, who knows, you might be interested in reviewing global weather patterns. You just never know where this S550 might end up taking you.

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Now let’s just say that as you’re fiddling with all the millions of things you’d want to adjust as an S550 owner, you run into something that you have no idea about.

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No worries here.

You can easily do a “google” search on your media center and find whatever it is you’re trying to find - like for example - figuring out how the hell to adjust your seatbelts.

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There is actually an option to electronically adjust the seatbelt which feels weird when enabled. Once you’re buckled in, you can feel the belt tightening around your waist which is unnerving because you start thinking: “What if the the belt doesn’t stop tightening and cuts me into two pieces? Will I take my last breath in this S550?”

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Actually you don’t need to stress for too long - remember that SOS button? As long as you can reach that button you’re safe. As soon as you push the red button, Superman will descend from the heavens and fly you to safety.

Now that you have tweaked a bunch of stuff, you will find yourself having to make the most important decision of all. This will take an intense amount of thought and deliberation so I hope you’re prepared.

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What I’m talking about here is modifying the massage settings in your seat. Now, getting a massage is a very personal thing, so I can understand why Mercedes has all these options. After all, it’s not every day that you’d want a “classic massage” - some days you might prefer an “active workout” instead or perhaps you would want your shoulders massaged.

More importantly, what if you want a hot, relaxing massage?

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Once you get all the settings dialed in just right and make the decision that you want the massage on your lower back, you’re finally at the point where you can start driving. And once you do, you’ll probably be surprisingly pleased at how quick the S550 is. There is so much torque in this car, that even with a boat like this you will find yourself accelerating very very quickly. It’s extremely quiet so don’t expect to hear much from the twin turbo V8 - you might even start to think that this is a Tesla!

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Flooring this cruise ship on straightways every chance you get will definitely get your adrenaline pumping.

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Unless you have a butler in real life or someone who takes care of your every need, driving this car will only utterly disappoint you as soon as you exit the vehicle. You will instantly be faced with the harshness of reality and realize that there are actually things you have to do yourself like pay bills, take out the trash and go to work (dammit)! All the pleasures you experienced while in the car are now all gone as your five year old starts screaming in your ear. At this point, you will definitely wish that you could go back into your S550.

My advice?

Stay away from this car to avoid being depressed.


Torque Affair is about exploring my fascination with cars; I’m always on the lookout for things that interest me in the car world. Like Torque Affair and follow @torqueaffair!