When you think of Mercedes-Benz which car comes to your mind? For me it has been the S-Class. There is no beating around the bush here, the S-Class owns the luxury saloon segment and has been for many years. With every S-Class Mercedes has stuffed it with tech and luxury to make sure it stays ahead of its rivals and maintain the 'Best car in the world' tag. The S-Class is special for Mercedes- a showcase for what it can do and thus when it launches a new one the whole world sits up and takes notice.
The new 6th gen S-Class had to be done differently and with Maybach axed a lot was riding on it plus with competition stronger than ever the new S-Class had to be brilliant. After driving one for a whole day I can safely it is. Read on to know why.
Times have changed and the S-Class represents that. The new S-Class is curvaceous, more youthful and subtle compared to the previous one. Yet it still retains the classic authoritative stance. Infact it makes the previous S-Class look dated- something which I never imagined would happen.
Mercedes have shaped it in such a way that instantly its recognizable as an S-class but draped with modern styling cues. The grille is now bigger with its three dimensional design. Look closer and the long bonnet, flowing lines and the sloping rear end give it a sportier look which makes the new S-Class more youthful and modern compared to its predecessor.
As said before times have changed and for new markets where the S-Class will do big numbers the focus this time has been on the long-wheelbase version. Unlike before, the standard-wheelbase version was derived from the long wheelbase model.
At a length of 5248 millimetres the new S-Class is 42 millimetres longer than its predecessor and it has got enormous presence. Everyone knows the S-Class and respects it which explained why during our test it got a lot of attention. As with tradition the new S-Class makes a giant leap when it comes to technology and boasts of many features. While LEDs are a rage these days the new S-Class is the first vehicle in the world to do without a single light bulb as standard. Yes it's all LEDs, about 500 of them in total.
While the exterior is impressive the interior is jaw-dropping. In pictures it looks fantastic but in the flesh, sitting inside surrounded by top-class materials and craftsmanship, it just takes your breath away. Of course this is a S-Class which means it's loaded with all sorts of gadgets but the genius part is how Mercedes have blended old-school luxury with new age tech. The ambience is now Rolls/Bentley level and on a different planet when compared to its rivals. At night with the ambient lighting offering seven colours makes the cabin even more stunning.
We loved the old school two-spoke steering dripping in wood and leather plus the combination of materials and the sheer quality of it. The two large screens (TFT colour displays in 8:3 format with a screen diagonal of 30.7 cm) stand out but you will also love the wood and aluminium draped all over the cabin. Many switches are bespoke to the S-Class which is how it should be.
However the bloke paying this much would be sitting at the back and there it's lovely. In-fact I spent more time here than driving because it's so damn relaxing. Thanks to the 14-millimetre increase in rear kneeroom there is even more space for passengers in the rear.
Plus with the Chauffeur package you get up to 77mm more rear leg room on the front passenger side with electrically extending footrest and has easy adjust luxury head restrains for driver and passenger. Shoulder room in the rear has been improved by up to nine millimetres. After a hard days work, signing billion dollar deals, owners would appreciate the ENERGIZING massage function based on the hot-stone principle or active seat ventilation with reversing fans.
The massage function can be operated via remote with durations ranging from 12 – 15 minutes. The two rear seats with the entertainment package are a must for this car and let's face it 3 passengers at the back would not be great. There are a plethora of adjustments for the rear seats and in short I would love to go to work like this every day.
I would not attempt to list all the features because it's just too big but the Burmester 3D surround sound system with 24 speakers, nine tweeters and with the 24 channel amplifier turns the S-Class into a concert hall.
There are two temperature controlled cup holders at the rear with dimmed interior illumination, stowage compartment with a 12V socket, two USB ports and aux-in socket along with individual entertainment systems in the rear. The COMAND online in the S-Class comes with animated menus and 3D effects plus an HDD to store music and videos, WLAN hotspot, SMS display, phone contact reader, radio and navigation. Phew.
You know it, an S-Class is all about the ride and here we could have got a fantastic new feature called Magic Body Control which means the S-Class scans the road surface ahead for the suspension to be ready to deal with what lies ahead. Brilliant but due to our laws we do not have it.
Still the air suspension does a fantastic job and you end up feeling.. nothing. Whether you are doing 20 or 200 km/h you don't feel anything thanks to the suspension ironing out everything and the brilliant insulation.
We tested the fully loaded and now sold out launch edition S500. You can now buy the locally assembled S500 and there is a diesel S-Class coming in a few days time but you know what I would have the S-Class with this engine. It's a 4.6 litre V8 petrol engine with 453 bhp and a whopping 700Nm torque @1800-3500rpm. Which means if your late, your chauffeur can have a good time piloting your S500 to do 0-100 in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 250km/hr.
However let me tell you that this is a different kind of fast as you just get a lot of numbers in front of you and no feeling at all. Which means that if your not looking you can end doing 200 km/hr quickly than you think. But it's fun overtaking anything in your sight and revel in feeling of just how quick a big luxury sedan can get.
The 7G-TRONIC PLUS 7 speed automatic transmission is creamy smooth and you just don't feel the gear changes. The handling is surprising because after a few runs I ended up pushing the S-Class and was surprised at how good the body control is. The steering is just perfect and in-sync with the car plus in traffic it shrinks around you.
Yes there is lots and lots of it. For starters you get ESP with 8 airbags and PRE Safe, 360 degree surround view camera along with Night View Assist, Adaptive Brakes with HOLD function, ASR and Hill Start Assist and so on.
The S500 launch edition is sold out but you can buy the locally assembled S500 at about Rs 1.4 crore. That is a lot of money but then the S-Class is a lot of car. Mercedes has packed in everything it can and the new S-Class takes a giant leap as a rival to the likes of the Bentleys and Rolls-Royce at about half the price. It brings technology and luxury together in a way no other car does which brings us to the question, is it the best car in the world? Yes, without a doubt.