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Friday, March 15th, 2013


Okay, so I had to bring back the DeAndre Jordan dunkface today, because his reaction to that dunk—let's call it a "Something amazing just happened and I don't know what else to do" grimace—is precisely my reaction every time I flat-foot a fantastic engine.

It's my version of Jeremy Clarkson's trademark "POWERRRRRR!" battle cry, and I a professional driver briefly entered that zone early this morning when a closed course suddenly presented itself.

What's most remarkable to me about this video is how nothing really changes other than the needles. You can barely hear the engine (it's more audible in person), there's no vibration anywhere, and the ambient noise seems almost the same at 95-plus as it did at 70.

The second thing to note is that this is an uphill grade. Uphill acceleration in the 500 Benz gives me a particularly nasty dunkface, because it's just a dominant force—by any standard, in any era. Third gear in that car will turn any hill you throw at it into what feels like an airport runway. The Benz engineers must have looked at each other when they first felt that third-gear kickdown and said, "Ja."

"Es ist gut."

Sure, the profoundly unattractive 2013 SL63 AMG would make twice the mockery of that hill—557 horsepower will do that for you—but I've driven the new 63, and getting back into the 500 Benz afterwards was hardly a letdown. The 500 generates a different, more deliberate kind of power, but it's so smooth, so linear, so insistent. Watch the video—it's just hitting its stride near 100 mph, and indeed, third doesn't give up till 115 mph. It reminds me of the E46 M3, actually, in that it's not the fastest car on the road, but the way it piles on speed is just completely seductive. More power is never a bad thing, but I never find myself wanting more from this Benz.

Long hagiography short, the 5.0-liter M119 V8 is a Goldilocks motor. It's just right.

And mine is currently getting eight new spark plugs installed and an intake-manifold vacuum leak repaired, so in theory it's about to get even better.

I just made an involuntary dunkface, and I'm sitting here sipping a mocha in a Newport Beach coffee shop.

posted in: 500Benzlife  Driving Impressions  Videos  

1 comment

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March 15th, 2013 | 8:40pm hollywood time | #1

mercedesmark says:

I love "hardly a letdown" as a descriptor for these cars.

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