AA Driven Car of the Year luxury car winner: Mercedes S-Class, a tech icon
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If you delved into the data, dug through the years, you'd most likely wind up concluding that the most influencial car on the planet is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. And, in part, that's why it's this year's AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year luxury segment award winner.
So many of the technologies that we enjoy in today's cars were pioneered by the three-pointed star. And, naturally, a raft of those features — including things like radar cruise control — made their mainstream debut in Mercedes' big luxury cruiser.
And, the S-Class' reputation for being a technology marvel continues today. "The idea behind the S-Class is actually very simple; it is designed to be the best car in the world. The S-Class is our soul. It is the market benchmark.” Bold words from Achim-Dietrich Badstubner, stated at the global launch of the current S-Class and reflected in the level of tech and comfort on display.
Across its bevy of screens and buttons, S-Class drivers are able to interact with one of the best semi-autonomous drive systems in any vehicle. It allows for lande changes, on top of the requisite ability to stay in the centre of a lane and modulate throttle input.
On a lighter note (pun incoming), the S-Class' interior mood lighting has 64 different colour options. Each headlight features up to 84 LEDs, with the ability to shift away from oncoming traffic at night in order to not dazzle the eyes of other motorists. And, all of these elements are wrapped in some of the nicest leathers, metals, and woods of any car on sale.
"Marketers and analysts will argue that, whether a company is updating the biggest or smallest car in its range, all the details still have to be right. That's true of course; no one wants a dud, regardless of the sticker price. But there is something about each successive update of flagship S-Class — the traditional technological test bed not only for Mercedes, but inadvertently so many of its rivals — that raises the stakes. And then some,” said AA Driven Car of the Year judge Cameron Officer during the international launch.
“More than 4 million S-Classes have been sold since it debuted in 1972. And the model has legs; it was the biggest-selling luxury sedan globally last year, proving more popular than its rivals even during a run-out year.”
Mercedes-AMG recently showed off the S65 'Final Edition' — a highly limited swansong model that bids farewell to the marque's V12 engine by squeezing output up to 463kW of power and 1000Nm of torque.
You'd hardly call the S-Class old (it'll turn 2-years-old in 2020), but rest assured that Mercedes-Benz are already well into development for the next one, with yet more incredible and potentially life-changing technology packed inside its four doors. We can't wait to see what's around the corner.