New Mercedes S-Class steps toward our driving future
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For those seeking their own personal auto-automobile, the new Mercedes-Benz S-class takes a further step in that driverless direction.
Improved lane maintenance and lane changing systems, more aware radars and sensors, and a more sophisticated cruise control all prune away at normal driving chores.
Meanwhile, something ‘Californian’ has happened to the cabin. It’s gone all new-age and touchy-feely thanks to a world’s-first ‘wellness while driving’ system called 'Energise.'
This offers six settings – Freshness, Vitality, Warmth, Joy, Comfort, and Training – and coordinates the climate control with ambient lighting and ambient music from the hard drive of the audio system, It also selects the appropriate seat massage. The Gwyneths of the world are going to love it.
The rest of us may appreciate the engineering substance of the new S. The car comes with every brand in the Daimler catalogue, giving the choice of buying a Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, or Mercedes-Maybach.
Choose according to your level of disposable income, the two Benz-badged S 350d and S 560 models offering the best affordability at $176,900 and $219,900 respectively. The new 3.0 inline six-cylinder diesel of the S 350d develops 210kW and 600Nm of driving force, and sips fuel at a rate of 5.4 litres/100km. It growls like a Rottweiler, and grunts like a squad of marines.
The 345kW/700Nm 4.0 twin-turbo petrol V8 of the S 560 is as charismatic, and is now the most economical engine of its type thanks to a fuel use lab test result of 8.4litres per 100km.
Both Benzes come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and $324,900 Mercedes-AMG is also a nine-speed car, but this time the gearbox is a dual-clutch affair chosen for its better transfer of the engine’s 450kW and 900Nm. Fuel use is rated at 9.0litres per 100km.
King of the S-class hill is the $359,900 Merc-Maybach S 650, also receiving a new petrol V12 that develops 450kW and 1000Nm. A hugely impressive vehicle, and not just because of the 12.7litres/100km fuel use figures.