Mercedes-Benz S Class Driven


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In my earlier review of the BMW X5, I had asked a question. Are you the Boss? Well about the car that I am reviewing right now, the only question that comes to my mind is- Are you, the Bosses Boss.

Coz, if you are bosses boss, then the only thing that matters to you, amongst many is Luxury. A Luxury which is First Class, A Luxury which screams opulence, A Luxury which speaks extravagance, and A Luxury which means, The S Class.

You see, The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, formerly known as the Sonderklasse (German for "special class", abbreviated as "S-Klasse"), is a series of full-size luxury sedans and limousines produced by the German automaker Mercedes-Benz. The S-Class designation for top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz models was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116, and has remained in use ever since.

The S-Class has debuted many of the company's latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pretensioners). The S-Class has been ranked as the world's best-selling luxury sedan.

Ever since its introduction in 1972, the S Class has become a benchmark of sorts for other luxury car makers, it’s a bar against which every other luxury car maker gets measured.

And does this 2018 updated Mercedes Benz S Class stand true to that claim, we are here to find out.

Let’s then straight get to the design language of the car shall we?

Design Language - Exteriors

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz S Class got mildly face-lifted, to keep up with the updates that its direct rival the 7 got. However, one word to describe how the new S looks and rather how the S Class has always looked, generations after generations would be- Elegant.

The front houses the imposing vertically slatted Mercedes-Benz traditional grill, with the logo shining brightly over the long bonnet. The three slat DRL’s upfront, help you recognise the car from far-off as the S Class. And now the updated S Class gets what the Mercedes-Benz calls multi-beam LED headlights. Interestingly, the only other car right now in the Mercedes-Benz stable to get the Multi-Beam LED headlights is the C300D.There are 84 individually controllable LED’s with a total of four control units to calculate the ideal light pattern 100 times per second using the information from a camera behind the windscreen. As complex as this technology seems, it operates that much seamlessly and the light throw is absolutely precise.

Coming back to the design language, additionally the S Class gets revised front and rear bumpers. Moving to the sides is when you appreciate the length of the car, probably 2 Maruti 800’s or 3 Tata Nano’s can fit the length of this S Class. That obviously translates into carnivorous space inside the for the bosses boss at the rear.

The car rides on 18 inch alloy wheels, with Airmatic Suspensions which just glides through, practically everything, more about it in the ride and handling section.The five spoke design on the alloys, in my opinion, feels a bit out of place. Don’t get me wrong here, while the design looks fabs on their own, but on a luxury saloon, well, it fails to make an impression. I would have preferred a multi-spoke or a 10 spoke subtle designed alloys to go with the silhouette of the car. The side has elegant dash of chrome on the window frame and on the door sill.

Moving to the rear of the car, the rear is flanked with chic looking all LED tail lampswith star dust pattern and chrome diffuser at the rear with what looks like twin exhaust pipes.However, they are fake. The pipe is right below the car.

If we are done with admiring the car, should we head to step inside the car?

Design Language- Interiors

Generally, people would start the review of the interiors of the S Class from the rear seat, but who said you can’t drive a 1.33 crores ex-showroom car? Hence lets start with the front to begin with.

Well the S Class, has always been the pre-cursor for the world to follow in terms of what it offers, whether in terms of luxury, comfort, technology or safety. Now why am I saying this? Let’s open the door and step inside the car to figure it out.

While Audi must have got the slew of touch enabled screens in the luxury cars, but no one makes those screens look as elegant as Mercedes-Benz.In the front there are 2 new ultra crisp and sharp driver displays and a new 3 spoke multi function steering wheel, which is becoming a common norm with all the Mercedes Benz cars. The dual screen setup is configurable with 3 Pre-Set Themes, and features customisable displays. The steering wheel comes with capacity touch pads which are sleek and intuitive to use and pick up your inputs pretty quick. The driver and the co-driver seats are electronically configurable, however, what I terribly missed at this price point was the option of thigh extenders. Probably, the likes of BMW has spoilt me a lot. Put that aside and the seat comfort and cushioning is pretty comfortable. Even after driving the car for almost 300 kms, I arrived at the destination, pretty fresh. The central console houses wireless charger for your modern phones, however misses out on wireless Apple CarPlay, that in my opinion is a bummer. Overall the dashboard design is clean with minimal buttons all around.

Now, Mercedes-Benz offers, E in LWB in India, lot of you may ask, if that is available for almost 82 lacs as a OTR in most of the cities, I am talking about the E350D here, why would you want to spend twice the money to get the S, when E pretty much does the job.

Well, here’s not one, but 5 reasons, why you should choose the S, if yo have the money, but to help me tell you that, I need to move my focus to the rear.

The first reason clearly is the badge. You see the S Class always stood for “Arrived in Life” Status, and this S Class, carries that legacy forward. Second, while the E has tremendous leg room, but S with its legroom, offers much more. For starters, you get the Airmatic Suspensions all around, which practically ensures the car, glides over everything you throw at it. The ride quality is phenomenal to say the least. Then’s there massaging option, fragrancing and cooling options. Mercedes-Benz calls it the Energising Comfort Control. Activate the air fragrance control, recline the seat back, stretch the legs with leg extender behind and let the chauffeur drive you home. What adds to the comfort is the seats that S Class offers, the bolstering, the seat cushioning and the thigh supporters, are simply, how Mercedes-Benz likes to call it- the Best or Nothing. Thirdly, to add up to all the comfort, should you wish to enjoy some movies while your way home, there are 10.2 inch displays on the front seat backrest with headsets which allow you to consume your content without really bothering your co-passengers. Fourthly the four zone Thermotronic automatic climate control, ensures that each and every individual in the car is comfortable and the S also gets air vents on the B-Pillars as well as the rear footwell. And fifth and lastly, the 13 speaker high-performance 9-channel 590 Watts, Burmeister surround sound system, well if you are of the kind who loves his/her instrumentals, there is nothing better than this system. Period. I am not going to point out or talk about the list of features in this S, as the list of features here is as long as the car itself.

The S Class, may not be a five seater, and you don’t want it to be also, but carrying 4 adults in utmost comfort wherever you go, well that it does with aplomb.

In Car Entertainment

Mercedes-Benz S Class comes with the 13 speaker high-performance 9-channel 590 Watts, Burmeister surround sound system, well if you are of the kind who loves his/her instrumentals, there is nothing better than this system. Yes the system is weak when it comes to bass heavy audio, but this category of customer may want to listen more of traditional non bass or classical music or only instrumentals to relax while heading back home. If that is you, the 13 speakers ensure that every note is picked up and played to you the way it should be in the first place. The only other system which comes this close is undoubtedly Bowers & Wilkins which is offered by Volvo through out its range. But barring that, the Burmeister speakers do their job of what they are meant to do. Let you relax in comfort while you listen to your audio at fairly audible levels.

Performance- Engine & Gearbox

The entry level Mercedes-Benz S Class is offered with 2 engine options, those being S350D and S450, while the 450 being the petrol. Both are 3.0 litre engines with 6 cylinders and that’s where their difference begin apart being petrol and diesel variants. While the petrol is in V6 configuration and churns healthy 367 HP/500 NM of torque, the diesel motor is straight 6 and now produces 286 HP/600 NM of torque. Both the power trains are BS6 compliant. And both come mated to 9 speed gearbox which Mercedes-Benz calls, the 9 G-Tronic

What we had for the review was the diesel variant, pumping out 286 horses. Fire the engine and first thing that you notice is how silent the engine has become and there is practically no ounce of noise, vibration or harshness inside the cabin. Well, no wonder you pay a crore for the car. The 9 G-Tronic gearbox shifts gears pretty seamlessly taking the advantage of the radar based guidance to pre-select the gear basis the upcoming road conditions.There is no sudden surge of torque, however the torque delivery is linear and the progress is linear too. Getting to triple digit speeds quickly, is fairly easily, what’s difficult is realising how briskly you are going as the car has capability of masking speeds. That particularly comes from top-notch refinement levels.

Performance- Ride, Handling & Drivability

Before speaking about the ride, handling or drivability, it is imperative that I speak about the technology that this S Class packs in. The S in India now comes with level II of autonomous driving, it’s the first from the house of Mercedes-Benz. What it does is with its pair of radars, modern cameras and data from gps, now the S can scan the 1/4th a km ahead, for road signs, or traffic. What this allows now the S Class to have is adaptive cruise control which brakes or accelerates automatically basis the vehicles in the front. There is also a blind spot assist to ensure that the driver at all times is made alert of vehicular movements around him.

The airmatic suspensions all around ensure that the car glides around pretty anything you throw at it. At city speeds or highway speeds the car has certain poise and grace the way it moves. The steering feels wow in hands too, you know at all times that you are behind a special car. A point to note here would be, while the car builds speed and momentum pretty fast, this is no corner craver. Mercedes-Benz S Class never was a drivers’ car, that still is the 7 Series, but having said that it does not disappoint behind the wheels either. It’s not lifeless like say an Audi A8, nor petite like a 7, but comfortably sits between them. So on the days when you chauffeur ditches you, you can merrily be behind the wheel of this S and she won’t disappoint.

Speaking about drivability, though the car is five and a half meter long, but once it gets moving, it doesn’t let you feel its length.Manoeuvrabilityof the car is pretty decent and I did not feel the pinch of driving a lengthy car in Mumbai city traffic, especially even though there’s metro work going on everywhere.

Overall I would say, the Mercedes-Benz S Class, does the job of carrying the bosses boss in utmost comfort and luxury, wherever he/she goes.

The Verdict

Mercedes-Benz builds the S Class with one simple objective. Build a car which becomes a benchmark for the entire auto industry to follow, whether for its safety features, or comfort features or luxury quotient or technology. This is not true from today, this has been true from generations, ever since the S nomenclature came to use in 1970s.

This S then delivers on that front, it is the most advanced Mercedes-Benz ever in the country, it is the most safest Mercedes-Benz ever in the country, it is the most comfortable Mercedes-Benz in the country and it definitely is the most luxurious Mercedes-Benz ever, save for the Maybach.

This then, is a perfect car for you, if you are the bosses boss, who cares for his safety, who wants to stretch and relax after a long day at work, who wants the car to convert into a personal spa with stone massage, multi colour mood lights and recliner functions, and who absolutely loves when his chauffeur switches on his favourite instrumentals as he drives him home.

For that boss in you, the S Class is the perfect car, to let the world know- You Have Arrived, or wait is there another car for that? Did we mention Maybach somewhere?

Stay Tuned!!!

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About Author
Nilesh Sawant
Nilesh Sawant

With an experience of over 3 lac kms of driving across the continents and with extensive experience of driving on the tracks, and passion for technical things around anything on wheels, reviews written by Nilesh are crisp and to the point.  

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