2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class review | first drive | carsguide.com.au | Catalog-cars

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class review | first drive | carsguide.com.au

8 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class review | first drive | carsguide.com.au
Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class review | first drive

Mercedes-Benz has brought new levels of comfort and ability to the automobile with the new S-Class. Photo Gallery

Joshua Dowling road test and reviews the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class at its Australian launch.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Clas 4.5

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long prided itself on being the world#39;s most advanced car. Across seven generations over 62 years Germany#39;s flagship sedan was the first Mercedes to have a crumple zone (1959), anti-lock brakes (1978), an airbag (1981), and stability control (1995), safety equipment now standard on every car from a $12,990 Suzuki Alto.

But with safety advancements reaching their peak, Mercedes-Benz has turned its attention to new levels of driver comfort including, to our amazement and curiosity, a hot stone massage for the two front seats .

With a starting RRP of $215,000 for the 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 S350 Bluetec, Mercedes has held the price of the previous model despite adding $7500 worth of extra equipment. The S500, powered by the super-smooth twin turbo 4.7-litre V8, has had a $10,000 price reduction, to $285,000, also despite receiving extra equipment.

The #39;bahn-storming S63 AMG (with a twin turbo 5.5-litre V8) arrives in January ahead of the S400 (the replacement for the S350 and powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine) due mid-year.

It#39;s not a car, it#39;s a day spa on wheels. The new S-Class#39;s increased its skills at avoiding a crash thanks to six radar beams, eight cameras and 12 parking sensors — and the ability to smooth out potholes before you hit them — has been overshadowed by a hot stone massage function for the two front seats.

Seat massagers are not new but the mega-Mercedes takes it to new levels, with a hot stone function that heats sections of the seat at up to 55 degrees Celsius. The 14 air chambers in each of the two front seats can be programmed to give up to six different types of massage, one of which is called workout.

In addition to the heated and cooled seats, there are now heated arm rests available, to go with the Business Class reclining rear seats that come with seatbelt airbags (not a world first, a Ford in the US pipped Mercedes at the post).

They complement the heated and cooled cup holders. And an air-conditioning filter and ioniser that claims to help asthma sufferers by improving air quality inside the cabin by 15 per cent.

There are also four different types of fragrances built into the air-conditioning — which the company claims won#39;t leave a scent on your clothes or overpower the new-car smell — although Mercedes-Benz resisted the urge to join Lexus with a built-in moisturiser.

Auto electricians may be in for a shock trying to get their head around the S-Class#39;s 734 wiring harnesses, 2400 wires and 5km of cables — driven by 144 computer-control units. It is the first car in the world without a conventional light bulb; instead it has 500 LEDs. The telephone, navigation, audio and TV telematics system is run by 30 million lines of code — and there is an optional 24-speaker, 1540-watt sound system.

Before you scoff at such automotive excess, it#39;s worth noting that luxury cars eventually drive new technology into affordable vehicles.

Despite its almost two-tonne weight and 5-metre-plus length, the big Benz slips through the air with an aerodynamic rating of 0.24Cd, which makes it more slippery than a Toyota Prius .

The interior looks wider and larger thanks in part to horizontal themes and an unusual two-spoke steering wheel. Or as Mercedes-Benz puts it: Horizontal elements and lines create a setting characterised by visual breadth and calm solidity. High quality and elegance harmonise with clarity and functionality.

The highlight: two massive 32cm diameter digital display screens mounted on a floating backlit panel.

A world first, two cameras in the windscreen scan the road ahead looking for potholes — then prepare the suspension in milliseconds to soften the bump. Nine airbags are standard but you can option two seatbelt airbags if you buy the reclining Business Class rear seats.

As before, the new S-Class can slam the brakes automatically from 7km/h to 200km/h (for German autobahns) if it detects you#39;re about to hit the car in front.

New for this model: Mercedes has fitted a radar beam to the back of the car to detect if it is about to rear-ended. If an impact is imminent, it tightens the seatbelts and adjusts the headrests in milliseconds.

The headrests, incidentally, are filled with goose down. And as you might expect, the new S-Class can park itself at the press of a button — just like Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus or Holden Commodore can.

The night-vision system is carried over from before, but there was (wisely) a less than 10 per cent take-up rate on this well-meaning but ineffective technology. Apart from inducing motion sickness, your eyes should be on the road, not a picture of the road.

This time around, though, the LED headlights will target and flash objects and pedestrians to alert the driver there is an obstacle on the road ahead.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

As you might expect, the Mercedes-Benz rides as if it had magic carpet underneath its tyres. But after driving four models over the exact same roads back-to-back we discovered the tyres make more than the usual difference to how the S-Class feels.

Sorry to be a bore but given that the S-Class is all about driving comfort and confidence — the rest of the vehicle is all-but flawless — it all boiled down to this.

The good news first: the optional Pirelli 20-inch tyre package is superb. Rarely is the bigger tyre with the smallest sidewall the most comfortable. But, miraculously, that is the case with the 20-inch Pirellis on the new S-Class — despite the fact they have runflat tyre technology which, in the past, has made them as stiff as an old boot.

The standard 18-inch Pirelli tyres and 20-inch Goodyears also felt okay, but the 19-inch Bridgestones were much less impressive. Unfortunately, when you order the car it is a lottery which tyres the S-Class comes with. But if I were spending north of $215,000 I would be finicky enough to demand the Pirelli or Goodyear options.

As for the rest? The diesel S350 is relatively quiet and powerful. In isolation it#39;s an entirely competent package. But if you really want to treat yourself, the V8 S500 is truly something special.

It has a seamless surge of power from low revs that makes the car feel lighter and more nimble than it really is.

That Mercedes has managed to make a two-tonne machine feel as agile as a sports sedan and as comfortable as a limousine is testament to its claim of being the world#39;s best car.

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class may not have reinvented the wheel this time around, as advancements in safety plateau and the best tricks are released on other models as soon as they#39;re needed . But the mega-Mercedes has brought new levels of comfort and ability to the automobile that will set a new benchmark for everyone else.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class – see other verdicts

Price . from $215,000

Engines . 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel (190kW/620Nm), 4.7-litre V8 twin turbo petrol (335kW/700Nm)

Transmission . Seven-speed automatic

Economy . 6.0L/100km (diesel), 9.2L/100km (petrol)

Safety . Nine airbags (two rear seatbelt airbags optional), radar crash avoidance, lane-keeping, blind zone alert, self parking, up to eight cameras, 12 parking sensors

Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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