The Mercedes-Benz S-class is a car that typifies the large luxury sedan segment and it’s frequently been listed as the world’s best-selling car in its class.
Cars in this class don’t get a full model change that often and there’s no reason why they should. They usually pack in every technological advancement their manufacturer can muster and it is usually less costly vehicles in the lineup that make the move to catch up. Cars like the S-class are flagships and as such, they incorporate all the best features that can possibly be offered right from their launch. Smaller and less expensive stablemates eventually benefit from innovations trickling down from the top-of-the line product, but it sometimes takes a few model years.
For 2018, the car gets even better because Mercedes-Benz has added a very long list of upgrades as part of what the industry calls a ‘mid-cycle update.’ Changes so far revealed include interior features, exterior sheet metal enhancements and more sophisticated semi-autonomous drive functions. The latter advancement includes cruise control technology that modifies the car’s speed to account for such aspects of driving as curves, intersections, speed limit changes and road toll booths. This function uses the GPS system to get information about the terrain that’s being traversed. This allows the driver to use cruise control on minor roads and not just on freeways.
One of the most significant 2018 additions to interior opulence, which was already exceptional even in this class of car, are a set of six ‘energizing comfort control settings,’ as Mercedes calls them. You can choose Freshness, Warmth, Vitality, Joy, Comfort and Training and selecting one or the other, you get a different combination of ambient lighting colours, climate control, fragrance (really!), massage and audio programming. The car has an almost bewildering list of overall benefits, but surely this feature will one-up anything previously offered in a luxury car interior. Choose one setting and it functions for around ten minutes and hopefully, you’ll feel much better afterwards.
For serious drivers though, the dynamic qualities of the car will be more important than mere ambiance. Regardless of powertrain, these cars are a delight to drive and handle exceptionally well for large sedans. Drive one at 250 km/h on a German Autobahn (as I have) and you’ll feel as though you were just ambling along. Opt for a birturbo engine and you’ll surprise many a sports supercar. Comfort is outstanding and although the suspension handles tight corners without any drama at all, it provides a ride of exceptional comfort and smoothness.
The new S-Class was launched a while back at the Beijing auto show and full details of exactly which versions Canada will get have are not yet clear. Mercedes-Benz Richmond at the Auto Mall should have full details by the time this feature appears. As with most Mercedes-Benz cars, AMG variants will be available for those seeking the last word in performance and you can also add all-wheel drive to the options sheet for most models. For the ultimate S-class, the Stuttgart carmaker offers the Mercedes-Maybach S 600 with extra-long wheelbase, V-12 biturbo engine and an interior of great opulence and style.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door sedan
ENGINE: Wide engine range up to biturbo V-12.
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic on top versions
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 4.6-seconds (biturbo V-8)
FUEL ECONOMY: TBA