Why the new S-Class may just be the best car in
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class continues to set benchmark
for luxury, writes rubin khoo
The perception is that the beauty of the S-Class is best appreciated when one is comfortably seated at the back, chauffeured from door to door. However, on a recent trip to Switzerland, it was discovered that despite its lavish exterior, the S-Class is pretty adept around the windy, narrow lanes that are typical of picturesque Europe. I came to the realisation of this last year when I was given the opportunity, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, to be chauffeured around in the S-Class for a weekend. To be honest, that felt a little bit “over” for someone like me who is pretty spontaneous over my activities.
I thus decided to take the car, sans the driver. That was the first thing that struck me when I got behind the wheel. That despite the luxurious size of the car, it was surprisingly easy to handle. This was reinforced when I got the chance to try the facelifted S-Class.
It is easy to understand why the S-Class, the flagship model of Mercedes-Benz, has the distinction of becoming the world’s foremost luxury saloon, having sold more than 300,000 units since 2013.
With the latest facelifted version, the S-Class is poised to remain in pole position. Driving in Europe always poses a bit of a concern for novice drivers who have to navigate their way through unknown territory while constantly having to remember to stay on the right.
But those worries proved to be quite unfounded, particularly since “intelligent driving” has been a key focus for MERCEDESBENZ in recent years. The latest edition of the S-Class features a range of driving assistance and safety systems that include Active Braking Assist, Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, Traffic Sign Assist and also t he Occupant Protection System.
With these additional features, it means that one could focus on basking in the luxury of the S-Class. The Active Distance Control Distronic and Active Steering Assist ensure that the driver keeps a safe distance and steer. Speed is also automatically adjusted ahead of bends or junctions, complemented by improved Active Lane Changing Assist and additional functions of the Active Emergency Stop Assist. This proved to be particularly useful as there were some moments the car veered into the other lane.
The new S-Class raises Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level.
We are approaching the
goal of automated driving more purposefully and faster than many people suspect. From the autumn, the new S-Class will be able to support its
driver considerably better than all systems which
have been available to date
The new S-Class also comes equipped with an enhanced camera and radar that allows for a better view of surrounding traffic. It also makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. With the Distronic Active Proximity Assist, the driver can adjust the vehicle speed easily, regardless of the situation, based on the route.
Adding to t he convenience is the “Assistance Graphics” menu of the instrument panel that shows the driver at a single glance, the assistance functions that have been selected as well as situations the systems are responding to. The icons are pretty distinctive so as to make it clear to the driver.
“The new S-Class raises Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level,” says Dr Michael Hafner, Head of Automated Driving and Active Safety at Mercedes-Benz. “We a re approaching the goal of automated driving more purposefully and faster than many people suspect. From the autumn, the new S-Class will be able to support its driver considerably better than all systems which have been available to date.”
The S-Class has always been a leader in technological innovation. It is the first car that is able to detect road bumps in advance. The Road Surface Scan, using the stereo camera, is able to undulate while t he Magic Body Control will adjust the suspension in advance to accommodate the situation.
The latest model exudes luxury but combines the idea of status with technological innovation. A new radiator grille gives t he S-Class a sleeker look but combines it with multibeam LED headlamps. The S-Class was actually the world’s first series production car to use only LEDs as light sources. There are over 500 LEDs responsible for casting light on the road, the vehicle, the interior and the boot.
Mercedes-Benz offers a new optional feature that supposedly helps take comfort level up by several notches. Known as the Energizing Control, this wellness function makes use of available systems such as climate control, ambience lighting, massage seats and a fragrance dispenser to create the right mood.
It’s not just for the driver; the experience – which has six programmes, including Freshness, Joy and Comfort – can be enjoyed in all seats. So you can get to that major business meeting feeling much more revitalised.
More evidence of Mercedes-Benz’s attention to detail can be seen in the new high-resolution displays and touch-sensitive controls of the steering wheel. Like previous models, the two 12.3-inch screens blend into a widescreen cockpit that is in the direct field of vision of the driver. But with the makeover, controls on the wheel now respond to swiping motions (like with a smartphone), so you can easily operate the infotainment system without taking your hands off the wheel.
“The development of the new S-Class was extremely extensive,” Ola Källenius, who is responsible for group research and MERCEDESBENZ car development on the board of Daimler AG, was quoted as saying. During its 2013 debut, the offerings included the diesel-powered S 350d, S 400 Hybrid and a V6-powered S 400. Having undergone a facelift for 2017, the car now presents six different body variants — including the entry-level S 320 L and the more robust S 450 L, which I put to the test.
“With a whole series of new features and functions, the S-Class remains the technological pioneer,” Källenius says.