Driving report: Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S 500 4MATIC; Exterior: designo diamond white bright, AMG Line; Interior: Exclusive carmine red / black leather; combined fuel consumption (NEDC): 9,7-7,8 l / 100 km, combined CO2 emissions (NEDC): 221-179 g / km * Mercedes-Benz S 500 4MATIC; exterior: designo diamond white bright, AMG line; interior: leather exclusive carmine red / black; Combined fuel consupmtion (NEDC): 9.7-7.8 l / 100 km, combined CO2 emissions (NEDC): 221-179 g / km *

In other times, this new S-Class would have triggered (another) dance about the golden car calf. But the times are no longer like that. Nevertheless, the luxury sedan has become a fantastic car and proof of German engineering. But that is appreciated more elsewhere than in Germany.

When Mercedes brings a new S-Class onto the market, the Swabians have always been certain of the attention of the automotive world. This also applied to the last generation of the luxury class, which was presented in 2013 and now has to give way to a new S-Class. But this time things seem to be going a little differently, at least in this country, the luxury sedan available from 94.540 euros (gross, 16% VAT) for the S 350 Diesel no longer attracts any attention. The car world is changing too much, the car as such is on fire; even in-house you will face a lot of competition from next year with the fully electric EQS. But the new S-Class is definitely an automotive statement that “will set the pace in the automotive industry again”, as the S-Class Product Manager Uwe Ernstberger thinks - and how and ever it is full of new, further developed or at least improved technologies.

Visually simpler than its predecessor

To list them all would go beyond the scope. Let's start with the design, which allows informative conclusions to be drawn about the marketing of the vehicle. Because a look at the mighty radiator grille shows that the European taste alone was no longer decisive. Rather, greetings from Asia and especially China, where people like to show (financial) success optically. In the end, it is only logical that Mercedes takes this up, since a third of the 500.000 units of the last generation have already been sold to China. The fact that a total of 90 percent of these S-Classes had the optional long wheelbase underlines this.

On the other hand: apart from the prestige satisfying front, the S-Class is visually rather restrained. Compared to the previous model, the surfaces are more modulated and therefore more muscular, but have fewer body seams. Together with the rather brave rear with its now two-part lights, the result is a downright elegant, but at least long-lasting appearance. This S-Class will - maybe like an old Jaguar XJ today - still look good in 10 or 20 years.

Plug-in version is still to come

The drive is initially conventional. Gasoline and diesel with six cylinders each are available. The eight-cylinder will follow in a few weeks, which is likely to be particularly popular in the USA as the second most important market. And next year, Mercedes will be launching a plug-in version that is supposed to have a 100-kilometer purely electric range and can therefore even be more than a green fig leaf in everyday life.

We get into the S 500 with all-wheel drive, which is equipped with lots of additional equipment, and encounter an interior that has never before been seen in this mix of fine materials, great seats, modern infotainment and meticulous workmanship. A feat, some might think now, after all, the S-Class is currently the latest model in its segment, which in Germany usually only includes the Audi A8, the BMW 7 Series and the Lexus LS, which are sold in tiny cans may.

Safe through technology

The huge display in the middle, which controls infotainment, vehicle settings, navigation and much more, is particularly eye-catching. You don't have to gossip around on the brilliant display that often, because the second generation of the MBUX system also reliably implements most of the commands after the prompt "Hey Mercedes". The friendly lady not only explains all vehicle functions, you can also ask her general questions (when did the “Congress of Vienna” begin?) And hope for a correct answer.

The new S-Class makes the greatest impression while driving. You float like God in Swabia to get to the point. The interior is so quiet, even at 180 km / h, that you can talk in a whisper. This is certainly due to the fact that Mercedes processes some of the body-in-white profiles with so-called acoustic foam for the first time before assembly, which improves the soundproofing over the long term. A bit more can only be heard from the six-cylinder petrol engine, which mobilizes 320 kW / 435 PS, if you press the accelerator pedal firmly. The standard air suspension is great anyway, but it can be expanded with the so-called E-Active Body Control, a partially load-bearing hydropneumatic system that actively supports and dampens the vehicle body. Those who order this also have the so-called pre-safe impulse, another of the innumerable innovations in the luxury sedan: if the side sensors detect a potential side crash early on, the vehicle is raised by up to 8 centimeters to maximize the energy of the other party involved in the accident steered onto the hard door sill structure and the actual door structure is relieved.

Of course, luxury should not be missing

It is also astonishing how nimble and agile the S-Class, which measures 5,18 meters or even 5,29 meters in the long version, drives in city traffic or in serpentines. Not least thanks to the rear-axle steering, which, depending on the situation, turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels or in the opposite direction. In the first case this ensures more stability at higher speeds, in the second case it makes the turning circle up to 2 meters smaller.

Unfortunately, many of the technical innovations and fine equipment have to be paid extra so that the S-Class remains what it always was: a vehicle for board members and managing directors, a great touring and chauffeur limousine for people who can afford great trips and chauffeurs can. On the other hand, we can only hope that sooner or later we will find some of the delicacies from the new luxury class in vehicles that are affordable for ordinary people. After all, in 70 years of Mercedes luxury automobiles this has often been the case.


Four-door, five-seat sedan of the luxury class; Length: 5,18 meters (long wheelbase: 5,29 meters), width: 1,95 meters (with exterior mirrors: 2,11 meters), height: 1,50 meters, wheelbase: 3,11 (3,22 meters) , Boot space: 550 liters

S 500 4Matic, 3,0-liter turbo gasoline engine, 320 kW / 435 PS, maximum torque: 520 Nm at 1.800 - 5.500 rpm, 9-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, 0-100 km / h: 4,9 s , Vmax: 250 km / h, standard consumption (WLTP): 8,0 - 9,5 liters / 100 kilometers, CO2 emissions: 181 - 216 g / km, emissions standard: Euro 6d, price: from 116.232 euros

S 350 d, 3,0-liter turbodiesel, 210 kW / 286 hp, maximum torque: 600 Nm at 1.200 - 3.200 rpm, 9-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive, 0-100 km / h: 6,4 s , Vmax: 250 km / h, standard consumption (WLTP): 6,4 - 7,7 liters / 100 kilometers, CO2 emissions: 168 - 201 g / km, emissions standard: Euro 6d, price: from 94.548 euros
Figures for sedan with short wheelbase

In brief

Why very quiet, very luxurious, high level of security, perfect workmanship
Why not very expensive and also a bit "old school" compared to the EQS
What else for clean men the EQS, for bargain hunters an "old" S-Class, for anti-Mercedes drivers then again the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series or the Lexus LS
What's next? the plug-in hybrid for a slightly better conscience, the eight-cylinder for the managing director with an even more generous contract

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