When we had tested the S500 some time back we had little hesitation in calling it as the 'Best car in the world' as the new generation not only moved the game but also moved the goal posts. Now the only thing that was remaining for Mercedes India to do was to introduce a diesel engine in the range. Yes, even at this price point diesel matters which is where the S350 CDI comes in. Priced at Rs 1.07 crores the S350 CDI is also cheaper than the S500 because Mercedes let go of some features which brings to the question as which variant to buy should you ever be in a lucky position to buy one. Read on.
One can't help but stare at the new S-Class as we saw nearly everyone craning their necks to get a better view of this big Benz. The new S-Class design has been explained in detail in our S500 road test and again we will say that Mercedes has done a brilliant job of keeping the authoritative stance you expect from an S-Class while giving it a fresh dose of modernity and youthfulness. The design is swoopy and just drips class with presence no rival can match. I would say in black it looks even better than the white example we had when we tested the petrol.
As for changes the diesel gets smaller 18 inch wheels plus the exposed exhausts of the S500 are out too but to be honest that does nothing to diminish its appeal. Stuff like the all LEDs (not a single light bulb is used) make this car special which the diesel also has.
Again the changes are hard to spot and actually I had to go through the press release to see what has changed. Yes some features have been trimmed here and there but the execution has been flawless so much so that it feels every inch as special as an S-Class cabin would.
The beautiful interior with its wonderful combination of old school luxury along with cutting edge tech really makes it a wonderful cabin. Enough of waxing eloquent, let me tell you what has changed. The 360 degree camera has been replaced with only a rear camera being present plus the night vision system, power operated boot, individual rear seats, folding tables have been given the axe. Oh and some wood is missing from the steering wheel and the awesome Burmester audio system loses some speakers.
The rear seats however still have the massage function with six different programs and with the Chauffeur package you have 77mm more rear leg room on the front passenger side with electrically extending footrest. Along with that the rear screens and the dual zone climate control system make it the ideal car to lounge at the back. You can also have a thrid passenger at the rear with the centre armrest removed. Rear space is massive and the comfortable seats with all sorts of pampering means I had actually a more enjoyable time at the back.
The S350 CDI gets a 3 litre V6 diesel which pumps out 255 bhp and 620Nm of torque which means that this big limo will do 0-100 km/h in just 6.8 seconds with a top speed of 250km/hr.
The first impressions though are not of speed but of terrific refinement. The photographer asks me whether it is really a diesel or by mistake we have got the petrol since you cannot hear anything inside the cabin. The 7-speed automatic gearbox is smooth if not very fast but gels with the character of the car. The S350 CDI then gathers speed without any fuss with a smooth power delivery and in sport mode the big S350 CDI offers a ride that betters other cars in their comfort modes!
Yes, it's best to turn down a notch and cruise which the S-Class does better than anyone else. The air suspension soaks up everything and nothing filters through in the cabin. The S-Class is not a car to be hustled into corners hard but body control is good for something of this size and high-speed stability is fantastic.
With a price-tag of Rs 1.07 crore the S350 CDI is easily the S-Class to buy as though the S500 would be fun the S350 CDI simply makes more sense as a limo. It is cheaper and is a lot more fuel-efficient plus offers a better range than the S500. Also Mercedes has trimmed the features in such a way that you hardly notice it. So then the 'Best car in the world' has become more value for money and in doing so cements its position at the top of its class.