If you’ve got half a million to blow on a car that you don’t want to drive yourself, look no further than the brand new Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Don’t get us wrong, it’s going to be a dream to drive — only you’ll want to be at the back seat of this humongous beast, taking in every bit of comfort, luxury, and technology that it’s been bestowed with for 2018.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is undoubtedly the benchmark big luxury saloon. After all, it was formerly known as Sonderklasse (German for “special class”) and then subsequently abbreviated as “S-Klasse”. It’s the one which other car brands such as Jaguar, Lexus, BMW, and Audi are constantly measured against, and one which they try to outdo all the time.
So special is the S-Class to Mercedes-Benz, that it’s often the badge that debuts many of the German firm’s latest innovations, such as safety systems, interior features and drivetrain technologies. With 2018’s facelift arrives many new things, amongst them an all-new engine and a series of tech updates with a focus on passenger wellness and autonomous driving.
The new engine outfitted in the top-of-the-range S 560L is a V8 biturbo petrol engine that produces a grand total of 469hp and 700Nm of torque madness, all while consuming almost 10 percent less fuel than its predecessor. The turbochargers positioned at the V of the cylinder banks is another special feature of the engine, enabling the turbocharger to spool quicker and cool more efficiently too.
The Daimler corporation also gives the mid-cycle update a significantly enhanced semi-autonomous driving upgrade with the Intelligent Drive. The cruise control now adjusts its speed for intersections, curves and changes in speed limit, with knowledge of the terrain based on GPS data. The upside is that you now can cruise along on smaller secondary roads instead of only on expressways. In the default Comfort mode, the cruise control slows considerably to take on curves before accelerating back to the designated speed. In contrast, it keeps speed loss minimum in Sport or Sport+ mode, instead carrying the momentum through the corners by itself.
But we all know how sketchy autonomous driving can be sometimes. To give drivers more confidence in the system, the instrument panel shows the “assistance graphics” menu to highlight the assistive functions selected and to what situations the systems are responding to.
Inside, the level of refinement is as you’d expect from an S-Class — engine noise in the cabin is non-existent, and front and rear space is just as abundant. Two high-resolution 12.3-inch displays take centrestage in the cockpit, and they’re your brains behind how your car feels to you.
You can choose between three different display styles that configure information relevant to your drive. What sets the steering wheel control apart here is that it’s touch-sensitive, responding to swiping motions to control the entire infotainment system — just like the screen of a smartphone. This could go both ways; it’d either be revolutionarily useful, or extremely annoying when you accidentally fiddle with something.
If the cushy leather-clad interiors weren’t luxe enough for you, Mercedes-Benz’s Energising Comfort Control will put together a specific wellness set-up to cater to your mood and need. This means the climate control system (including fragrancing), seats, lighting and musical atmospheres are tweaked automatically. Fancy a revitalising massage on the way to work? Just hit up one of the six programmes in the system.
If you want something a little more out there (read: aggressive), the Mercedes-AMG S63 4Matic+ will give you 4.0-litres of AMG V8 Biturbo goodness. Though this replaces the previous 5.5-litre version, the new engine still produces a hefty 612hp, more grumble, and a lot more thrill. You’ll want to be in the driver’s seat for this one.
You can always count on Mercedes-Benz to create a saloon you want to drive and be driven in at the same time. Its brand new S-Class is testament that it’s still got its magic.