We had the chance to feature the W220 Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the summer of 2017, and you can read about the 2004 S 430 4Matic we featured if you want to know everything about this generation S-Class, and what we thought about it. The biggest difference with this 2003 Mercedes-Benz S 55 AMG is the mechanicals and performance, so that's what I want to focus on with this review.
I do want to mention quickly that the S 55 AMG is about as fully loaded as you could hope to get on a non-V12 S-Class. This vehicle came with front and rear heated seats and ventilated front seats with active contour support. We absolutely love the feel of them no matter where you sit in this car, and having ventilation certainly adds to the experience of owning this car, especially if summer ever gets to our part of the world. KeylessGo is also an option usually reserved for the V12s, but comes with this S 55 AMG. We highly recommend this feature, and if the car you're looking at comes with it, make sure the original keys and KeylessGo credit-card-style key works, as they are insanely expensive to replace from the dealership.
Performance on this car is fantastic. We could easily use this car as a daily driver, a road-trip warrior, or a performance beast. It does everything so well, and continues to impress us as the other S-Class models have thus far. The near-500 horsepower supercharged V8 engine is significantly more powerful than the 2000-2002 S 55 AMGs which only produced 355 horsepower from their naturally aspirated V8s. Power is instant with a car like this, but the best part is how smooth the ride remains when driving it in performance mode.
Unlike the 2002 Mercedes-Benz E 55 AMG we featured last year which felt a bit firm on the road, the S 55 keeps things soft like you'd expect from an S-Class. I think it could be one of the best purchases you could make if you're looking for a good mix of luxury features, blistering performance, and ultimate price. The owner of this 286,000km S 55 AMG paid around $6,500 Canadian for this car, and we have to say it's one of the best looking W220s we've seen on the road. You'd never know this car was closing in on the 300k km mark if you saw it in the flesh.
We go in depth with this car, going over everything that makes it special in our episode of TestDrive Spotlight on this 2003 Mercedes-Benz S 55 AMG: