T h e D a D D y O f L u x u r y
The 2016 Mercedes- Benz s400 L shares The attributes of a luxury liner and Tech- laden super mobile — and it’s here To make our journeys more lavish
Not all cars are created equal. And for a hundred years, Mercedes- Benz has been spearheading change even when the world seems to be moving at its fastest. In that manner, they have persuaded statesmen, pro- athletes and even singer/ gangster types into purchasing their ultimate brand representation — the S- Class. Let’s face it, when you dish out over Dh400,000 of those big bucks, you want style that speaks, technology that overwhelms and conveniences that satisfy. Does the current SClass mean all that, three years after its launch? The answer may be a yes, but we had to put it to the test anyhow. Here is how the story went.
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
It may be a short trip or a business appointment, but knowing that you drive something this good- looking means something… no matter how vain it may sound. And the S- Class delivers!
Since its original launch in 1972, the S- Class has been the most prestigious chauffeur- driven executive sedan in the world. It has been classified as a classic of each era. And even with this W222 model, Mercedes has managed to mix old with new, sleek ( with a coefficient of drag at 0.24) with colossal.
When it comes to size, they make them big — we are talking over five metres in length, 2,130mm wide and 1,494 mm tall. Yes, it’s an imposing size, but our eyes are so familiar to these lines that it doesn’t seem awkward — in fact, it befits the roadscapes of our city. Stylistically, the current S- Class is just an evolution of the
models of yore, equipped with the latest in auto-
fashion and technology. Take the illumination, for instance — Mercedes has completely abandoned the use of halogen light bulbs and utilised some 500- odd LEDS instead; some 56 units go into the headlamp alone; 35 for tail lights and almost 300 LEDS for the cabin. There are so many on this car, it could compete with the LED stretch on the Burj Khalifa. Moreover, the intensity of the brake lights is reduced at night or while waiting at traffic lights, and the intelligent front lamps adjust reach and spread, depending on the velocity and locale.
Some of you may have noticed that the beautiful constellations setting of headlamps and the red strip in the rear lamps have been endowed upon the baby- Merc, the C- Class. Which may take some prized sensations away from the SClass. But the reality is, besides illumination, they really are two different cars.
From the profile, you can view the “Dropping Line”, front to back, that goes along the belt line as in a Rolls- Royce Phantom. Whether this was a stroke of artistic genius or just the natural stroke of a pencil artist, it is not known, but it lends the S- Class a sense of motion even when still.
About wheel design, muscular five- spoke designs are available, as are multi- spoke turbine ones, with diameters ranging from 17- inch to 19. The larger you choose, the smaller the ugly gap between tyre and wheel arch, making the overall design of the car seem congruous to the eye. At the end of the day, when vanity makes its big call, the S- Class reigns supreme, second to only a Rolls- Royce or Bentley.
Changes to the exterior may have been subtle, but the interiors are unlike anything you have seen before. By mixing classic and futuristic design with acres of wood, almost- sumptuous leather and large spreads of satin- finish trims, you get the feeling of being inside the cabin of a yacht or plane.
The quilted seats, with a plethora of stitch lines and the softest headrests, make for the best lounging chairs. And, of couse, the multi- power adjustability makes settling i n easy. Lavish amounts of that perforated leather can be found on the door panels and the dashboard. Now that is something you don’t see in regular luxury cars.
The traditional three- spoke steering wheel is now a twospoke variety, trimmed with the smoothest wood and leather wrappings. Yet, it provides good grip for drivability, the only complaint being the cruise control stalk being hidden behind the wheel. The two other elements that render an extraordinary ambience are the high- end Burmester speakers, finished in perforated aluminium, and the streaks of ambient lighting that connect the various objects of the cabin. This could be the best interior we have seen in a long time.
Keeping you in the know of the tech industry are two 12.3inch high- resolution TFT colour displays in 8: 3 format. They protrude like ipads, with illuminated surrounds in a soft hue of blue. Even the new 7 Series has one large screen — however, Hefty base price; touch screen not too fancy; no interactive keyfob
the smaller secondary screen in the Beemer is touch sensitive, giving Beemer customers advantage in tactility.
Some say that the S- Class is more about the limousine experience and they are not wrong. There is a choice of five different rear seat variants, including an executive seat with a backrest angle adjustable by up to 43.5 degrees — quite unlike anything in its segment. The rear outboard seats are proper individual seats that get climate control and are equipped with the cushiest detachable pillows to rest your weary head. In the end, the fetching quality, materials and interior architecture make this amongst the best back seats in the business.
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
The world may get the S400 Hybrid and, sure, this mix of internal combustion engines and electric motivations are all the rage in the West, but the discerning Gcccustomers get only the regular S400; and by that I mean, the recently developed twin- turbo 3.0- litre V6.
Peak output figures aren’t going to rock the auto industry but what you should know, as a customer, is that there is potency for the general purpose. Rev up the tachometer to a 5,500 rpm and you get 328 healthy horses at your service, supplemented by 480 Nmof torque obtained at a lowly 1,700 rpm.
Three things make the S- Class greater than other cars in the crowd. The first being the steering feel — it is buttery smooth! Mind you, I’ve not had butter this smooth. It’s an easy drive in the city and provides the right heft and feedback on the highway. Secondly, it’s as quiet as a library. Even as you get rolling, the cabin is utterly silent, thanks to doubleglazed windows and some serious insulation separating the engine and the casual public forums. And, in that silence, besides the slightest throbs from the engine, you can get from a 0 to 100 km/ h in 6.1 seconds, which justifies its 300plus steed. Also, it’s got a gutsy midrange, helping you race along motorways without hesitation.
Finally… the pièce de résistance is the waftability! While people are jostling away in traffic, you are riding the proverbial magic carpet. It has a continuously operating Adaptive Damping System PLUS and an enhanced version of the AIRMATIC full air suspension system that make it seem like the occupant was the focus of building this car. Its ride quality is exemplary — it is softer than soft.
When you turn the heat on, the SClass, even with all its mass and soft suspension, keeps up. Sure, body roll is perceivable around tighter corners at speed, but it still is a fun ride.
FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
When you are expected to mortgage your dwelling for a car of this class, you expect special treatment — a promise of conveniences that you didn’t know existed and technology that makes you feel dumb — and both may be true with the S400.
The head- up display, although nothing spectacular, together with the attention alert system, helps you keep your focus on the road and palms on the steering wheel. When activated, the nicely integrated thermal imaging technology, called Night Vision, pushes away the digitally rendered analog gauges on the left screen, making driving in less- lit streets free of danger… for the most part.
There are a few safety features worth mentioning — like the beltbag, an inflat- able seat belt strap that reduces the risk of injury to a rear passenger’s ribcage. Features to assist you with your driving duties include the blind spot, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and the 360 degree view camera.
Open the glove box and you will find an active perfuming system as part of the AIR- BALANCE package that neutralises odours in the cabin and has a scent that diffuses quickly. They have many fragrances to suit your mood, even a sporty one. Hope it doesn’t reek of sweat!
The THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control keeps the cabin temperatures well within the comfort zone and, for those requiring warmth, there is the electric heating in the rear armrests and steering wheel.
Taking things up a notch is a new Speech Dialog System that allows complete addresses to be spoken at a stretch. But it doesn’t always get it right — Google maps still works best, we say! Additionally, you can voice control the telephone and audio systems and have your text messages or emails read out.
Just when we were feeling the tiniest bit knackered, we found a few buttons to engage the six massage programmes, some of which combine seat heating as well as mimicking some of the hot stone hospitality you get in the Far East.
Choices of audio include the Burmester ® Surround Sound and the very high- end 3D Surround Sound system, that has been noted to produce all channels of sound brilliantly. If you want loud, try 24 specially designed speakers and 1540 Watts. You also get plenty of USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity to hear your new- found musical favourites.
Do note that the boot is large, even for a couple of suitcases, but with the cool box — which fits two or three bottles — some space is compromised.
The master craft of car- making has been perfected with every generation of the Mercedes- Benz S- Class. The new generation 2016 model is a befitting legacy to their 100- year history, granting style, grace and overwhelming technology without forsaking the basic needs of commuting i. e comfort and speed. Here’s to what is possibly the best car in the world!