Mercedes today unveiled the latest version of their flagship luxury sedan, the S-Class. This is a big one for Mercedes. Get it wrong and BMW and Audi will more than happily mop up any disaffected buyers. Get it right and they’ll retain their crown as the finest purveyor of German luxury automobiles. For Mercedes-Benz’s designers and engineers it’s a delicate balancing act to ensure the new S-Class is filled with enough high-tech gadgetry and cutting edge technology to get potential buyers oohing and ahhing. But that it’s not too radical of an overhaul that the rich old men who normally buy these things get put off by revolutionary styling or overly complicated infotainment systems.
From the outside it looks like MB’s designers have earned their pay. The 2014 S-Class is hansome, well proportioned, and should please both newcomers to the brand as well as loyal customers. To my eye it’s a far better looking than its predecessor, which from some angles looked a little clunky. The styling of the 2014 S-Class is also far more in-keeping with that of the new CLA, and Mercedes-Benz’s new design language as a whole.
When the car goes on sale it will be offered in several versions – depending on the territory it’s sold in. The US lineup includes the S550 and the S550 4Matic. While European buyers initial choice includes the S350 BlueTec, the S500, the S400 Hybrid and the S300 BlueTec Hybrid.
||S 550 / S550 4MATIC||S 400 HYBRID||S 500||S 350 BlueTEC||S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID|
|Number of cylinders/arrangement||8/V||6/V||8/V||6/V||4/in-line|
|Rated output (hp at rpm)||449 at 5250||306 at 6500||455 at 5250||258 at 3600||204 at 4200|
|Rated output of electric motor (hp / kW)||–||26 / 20||–||–||26 / 20|
|Rated torque (Nm at rpm)||700 at 1800 – 3500||370 at 3500-5250||700 at 1800-3500||620 at 1600-2400||500 at 1600-1800|
|Rated torque of electric motor (Nm)||–||250||–||–||250|
|Combined fuel consumption from (mpg)||–||44.8||32.7||51.3/50.41||64.2|
|Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)||–||147||199||146/1481||115|
|Acceleration 0-62 mph (s)||4.9||6.8||4.8||6.8||7.6|
|Top speed (mph)||155||155||155||155||148|
“The new S-Class achieves consumption and emissions figures that only a few years ago seemed Utopian, even for executive cars,” says Prof. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “And this is just the start of our ‘Green Leadership’ initiative: soon to be followed by the S 500 Plug-In HYBRID – the first S-Class with a fuel consumption lower than four litres per 100 kilometres.”
This being the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it couldn’t really go out in public if it didn’t incorporate a number of features never before seen on a production car. First up is its Road Surface Scan technology, which uses a stereo camera to detect unevenness or bumps in the road directly ahead of the car, the suspension system then instantaneously adapts itself to smooth out any jolts. Secondly, the 2014 S-Class lays claim to the fact it’s the first production car in the world not to have a single light bulb. All the lighting, both inside and out, is performed by LEDs. And thirdly, the car is fitted with an air conditioning system equipped with something called the “active perfuming system”. This system allows the driver to fill the cabin with lightly fragranced air at the touch of a button. Great for when the old man in the back lets one rip.
The interior of the 2014 Mercedes S-Class is, naturally, luxurious. There’s a kind of simple, almost retro feel to the cabin which is highlighted by the uncluttered dashboard, a small forest’s worth of wood inlay, and an analogue clock set in between the classic chrome bezzeled air vents. Two large digital displays inset into the dash act individually as the instrument panel and the infotainment display – however their almost seamless integration within the dash gives the appearance of one single extra-wide display. 300 hidden LEDs provide discreet and ambient lighting inside the cabin.
With the S-Class being a car where the owner is often to be found in the rear seat, and a chauffeur up front doing the driving, it’s hardly surprising the rear two seats are as well equipped and comfortable as the front two. In fact they are even more accommodating if the car is fitted with the Special Order Program’s Business center console package which includes additional storage compartments, a folding table and two-position reclining rear seats. Overall it’s an interior which is hardly groundbreaking in its styling, however it looks like a very, very comfortable place to find yourself.