INDEN-Design Mercedes-Benz S-Class is Large and in Charge
While the German luxury brands’ small and mid-size sedans are quite popular with tuners, the full-sizers don’t seem to get quite as much love. It could be a result of their lofty prices, or the substantial dimensions and weight relative to their smaller siblings. Whatever the case, with a few notable exceptions, the big Limousinen just aren’t that hot among serious performance tuners.
Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped INDEN-Design from giving the Mercedes-Benz S500 (known here as the S550) its special touch. They’ve gone over the whole car, giving it meaner looks and the performance to back it up. That might not sound much different from Mercedes-Benz’s house tuner AMG, but a closer look at the work of Joachim Inden and crew indicates it is indeed a slightly different recipe.
The most obvious change to the exterior is the matte gray finish, but INDEN-Design didn’t go so far as to paint the Benz; it’s a vinyl wrap that can be pretty easily removed once matte finishes officially become passé (read: any day now). Astute observers will also note a body kit reminiscent of that found on the S65 AMG (or as we like to call it, the Lightning Lounge), which is supplemented by 20” wheels and a ride height that has been reduced by 2”. Brakes are the same specification as a stock S600, with 6-piston calipers in front and 4-piston pieces at the rear.
Underneath, the 5.5L V8 has been treated to a stainless steel cat-back exhaust system and a few other unspecified tweaks that uncork a total of 420hp; for comparison, the U.S.-spec S550 is rated at 382hp. INDEN-Design also disables the 155 mph speed limiter to make sure the fun doesn’t run out until (or, more likely, Johnny Law) says it does.
Of course, the interior of this S-Class feels fast even when standing still. All the wood trim of the stock model has been replaced by carbon fiber, and the seats, door panels, dashboard, headliner and roof pillars have been retrimmed in a combination of Alcantara and two-tone leather. On the whole, the package transforms the big Benzo’s cabin from snooty to snazzy.
INDEN-Design is keeping things on the down-low with regard to pricing, but if you can afford an S550, you can afford to have it kitted out. Of course, you could also probably afford to step up to an S600 or an S63 AMG, if not an S65 AMG. But where’s the fun in that?