Driven - - Cov­ered -

that bring it on­line with con­tem­po­rary Mercedes cars.

On the May­bach, de­tails in­clude a May­bach badge in the re­designed grille and a May­bach-spe­cific front bumper with chrome-out­lined lower air in­takes.

Be­sides this ad­di­tional de­tail, the Mercedes-May­bach’s most no­table ex­te­rior fea­tures re­main its elon­gated green­house and rear doors. Both are the re­sult of the May­bach’s stretched wheel­base, which is 200 mm longer than its– now ex­tended to long-wheel­base only – S-Class cousins.

REAR OF THE YEAR…

Nowhere more so than in the rear does one ex­pect, and find, the ben­e­fit of the car’s longer di­men­sion, than in the rear. Legroom at the back, as legroom in­creases from 861 mm in the Mercedes-Benz, to just less than 1,020 mm in the May­bach. The ex­tended rear com­part­ment in­cludes four-way power-ad­justable out­board seats with heat­ing and cool­ing func­tions, power-op­er­ated leg rests, and a built-in mas­sage fea­ture.

A re­frig­er­ated box in the rear is op­tional, as are hand­crafted sil­ver cham­pagne flutes, while en­ter­tain­ment screens (in the front seat­backs) are stan­dard and of­fer rear pas­sen­gers their own set of in­fo­tain­ment con­trols as well as in­di­vid­ual sets of wire­less head­phones.

…AND UP­GRADED IN FRONT

Although the May­bach’s back seat has been even fur­ther re­fined, the com­fort of its 12-way power-ad­justable front seats is by no means lack­ing. With heat­ing, cool­ing, and mas­sage func­tions, the May­bach is built as much for the ben­e­fit of its driver, as its pas­sen­gers.

As with other S-Class mod­els, the May­bach has re­ceived sig­nif­i­cant tech and style up­grades for the 2018 model year. Some changes are more un­der­stated than others – such as plac­ing the May­bach’s pair of 12.3” screens be­hind a sin­gle pane of glass. As be­fore, the screen di­rectly in front of the driver of­fers stan­dard ve­hi­cle in­stru­men­ta­tion in­for­ma­tion and op­tions such as the feed from the front-mounted in­frared night-vi­sion cam­era. The cen­tre-mounted dis­play pro­vides all in­fo­tain­ment func­tions and is op­er­ated by the pas­sen­ger us­ing the fa­mil­iar ro­tary dial, while the driver now ac­cesses func­tions us­ing touch-sen­si­tive pads lo­cated on the re­shaped three­spoke steer­ing wheel. The left pad works the in­fo­tain­ment screen, while the pad on the right man­ages the in­stru­ment clus­ter. The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem also ac­cepts voice com­mands.

MADE FOR CRUIS­ING, BUT…

Mercedes has ditched the pre­vi­ous cruise-con­trol stalk mounted on the steer­ing col­umn by mov­ing all cruise con­trol func­tions to the steer­ing wheel. Changes to the work­ings of the sys­tem also re­veal a whole­sale over­haul of the sys­tem– in­clud­ing bet­ter use of nav­i­ga­tion data that al­lows the Mercedes-May­bach to ad­just its speed au­to­mat­i­cally in prepa­ra­tion for up­com­ing turns.

Com­bined with mul­ti­ple stan­dard driver as­sis­tance sys­tems, the May­bach takes a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards au­ton­o­mous driv­ing, el­e­vat­ing – at least in the­ory – Mercedes-Benz In­tel­li­gent Drive to the next level.

Yes, the range of sys­tems is com­pre­hen­sive and in­cludes Ac­tive Brak­ing As­sist, Cross­wind As­sist, At­ten­tion As­sist, Traf­fic Sign As­sist and also the oc­cu­pant pro­tec­tion sys­tem Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Sound (pre­pares hu­man hear­ing for the an­tic­i­pated ac­ci­dent noise when there is a risk of a col­li­sion). How­ever, ne­go­ti­at­ing some fair to mild road con­di­tions at the car’s South African launch event in KwaZulu-Na­tal, we found the semi-au­ton­o­mous func­tions to come up a lit­tle short un­der harsher con­di­tions. The May­bach tended to slow

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