Oh what a day, what a lovely day!
The latest instalment of the Mad Max saga showing at the drive-in theatre was enough to set pulses racing among the Wheels petrolheads but with a distinct lack of flat-black, supercharged Ford coupes in the car park, what would we drive to Fury Road? Editor Butler had the closest contender with a near-on black, turbocharged coupe but getting the keys of the AMG S63 from him proved to be as fruitless as The Lord Humungus’ attempts to overrun a desert oil rig.
We had to take a step back from the AMG and settle for the slightly less exclusive, no-less luxurious S500 long wheelbase from the regular Mercedes-Benz showroom. No great sacrifice; we needed a large comfortable ride with a killer sound system to make the most of the flick and the S-Class sounded better than Tina Turner shrieking over a saxophone solo.
Certainly not the last of the big V8s, the S500 is a classic grand touring saloon and its interior is spacious and sumptuous; just the ticket for watching a film from, although we were looking at a big screen and not the pair of 10-inch screens mounted in the back for rear seat entertainment of a kind not normally associated with the drive-in.
We did enjoy the crisp and booming sound of the Burmester surround-sound audio system with its 590 watts of grunt feeding through 13 speakers strategically placed throughout the cabin. These include two subwoofers mounted in the firewall that use the chambers within the vehicle’s chassis to ‘pipe’ the bass though the car to the best positions in the interior. Every explosion of the relentless vehicle chases boomed though the Benz while the wild engines of the unbelievable film cars roared like fuel-injected suicide machines storming the suburban theatre.
On a cold and wet Melbourne night, the Benz’s lounge-like heated leather seats, with their duck-down quilted headrests provided comfort and warmth like no shopping centre cineplex pew ever could and better still, they didn’t smell of stale popcorn or leave gum stuck to the back of your jeans.
Johnny the Boy may not have had ‘the style’ but we certainly did among the swathes of older cars at the northern suburbs drive-in that night. In the absence of any Interceptor coupes and alongside Butler’s AMG, the S500 stood out in a class of its own, all shiny and chrome.