Is this the new best car in the world? It sure smells that way

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL POT­TINGER CARS­GUIDE EDI­TOR paul.pot­tinger@cars­

Ev­ery seven years comes a new S-Class and a new bench­mark. Is this the new best car in the world?

AT A lav­ish event in Ham­burg, Mercedes un­veiled its new S-Class— and your next car, too. Yes, that’s right. The car you buy in 2020 might cost less than one-tenth the price of the least ex­pen­sive S-Class, but it will in­clude fea­tures from the ‘‘ world’s best car’’, as the new S is in­evitably de­scribed.

Not that there was much left to re­veal. Since late last year there have been no fewer than four mi­nor rev­e­la­tions of the car that ev­ery seven years sets the bench­mark for ul­tra­lux­ury mo­tor­ing.

Its in­evitable new ar­ray of tech­nol­ogy and fea­tures shows the rest of us what can be ex­pected in ‘‘ real world’’ cars. It’s all been rather too like Moses de­scend­ing from the mount and re­veal­ing the com­mand­ments in a five-part se­rial. Even now no non-Benz per­son has driven the S-Class ex­cept on a sim­u­la­tor. The cli­max to the saga comes in early July (which Cars­guide will bring you from Por­tu­gal).

So far we’ve had the rev­e­la­tions of the light­ing sys­tem (500 blaz­ing LEDs and not a sin­gle bulb), safety sys­tems (in­clud­ing a de­gree of au­ton­o­mous driv­ing, since made avail­able in the E-Class) and the in­te­rior (in­clud­ing a work­shop on the per­fumes it emits on de­mand). This week, with­out cam­ou­flage or ob­scur­ing light­ing, we see the whole thing. Leaked brochures did not de­ter hun­dreds of me­dia from all con­ti­nents (tellingly for the lux­ury car mar­ket, most were Chi­nese).

Even if not as mo­men­tous as an Old Tes­ta­ment episode, the lessons in a new S-Class res­onate with ev­ery­one buy­ing a new car in the next decade.

In pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, Benz’s flag­ship has pi­o­neered such sta­ples as airbags, cen­tral lock­ing, anti-lock brakes, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­gram. The lat­ter is about to be­come manda­tory in Aus­tralia.

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