Mercedes S-Class – a high-tech luxury cruiser
The Mercedes S-Class is a transcontinental express that can park itself when the journey’s over. Alice Feilden reports
Rolls-Royce and Bentley are generally considered the best mass-produced cars you can buy if you’re looking for luxury and refinement. But “my money’s on the Merc”, says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. Mercedes’s flagship S-Class saloon remains “the best car in the world”, now in its seventh incarnation. The classic design is “simply gorgeous” – it “doesn’t shout, but massages your eyes” – and the ride is “sublime”. It drives smoothly and is happy cruising round the major capitals “like a big shark”, but equally capable being driven “like a hot hatchback” should the mood take you. It is nothing less than a work of art with “a fit and finish to make other luxury cars look a bit shoddy”.
“Plenty of delights await inside,” says What Car magazine. The interior is supremely comfortable, with massage options in the seats for driver and passengers. There is real wood, high-quality metal detailing, bespoke switch gear and swathes of double-stitched leather throughout, giving a “sense of sheer indulgence”, and a panoramic infotainment dashboard display keeps the car feeling “modern”. There is some clever technology too, including an “astonishingly effective” Magic Body Control system that “reads bumps in the road” and adjusts the suspension accordingly, and driver-assistance technology that uses sat-nav data to slow the car down and steer smoothly through bends. The car can even locate a parking space and park itself.
With a “discreet” engine and operating style, the S-class trades “outright pace for the ability to move away from a standstill with beautiful smoothness and to change gears imperceptibly even at wide throttle openings”, says Autocar. Everything the car does is engineered to happen “quietly and with the minimum of intrusiveness”. Even at higher speeds, the S-Class “spears along with a wonderfully nonchalant manner that will make it hard to beat as a trans-continental express”.
The attention to detail verges on the “crazy”, says Top Gear, with “the sort of restrained elegance in the flesh that you know its creators will have poured over forensically”. No stone remains unturned in Mercedes’s search for perfection. In all, high technology and “sumptuous luxury” merge in the S-Class to “deliver a car that lights the way forward”.
Price: from £78,705. Engine: 2,999cc, six-cylinder with 48-volt hybrid system. Top speed: 155 mph (electronically limited). 0-62mph: 4.9 seconds. Power: 429bhp at 6,100rpm.