- Indulgent levels of luxury
- Crammed with technology
- More efficient than outgoing model
- Extremely expensive
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always represented the ultimate in technology. It’s the car that the German manufacturer’s engineers and technology experts really go to town on, pushing the envelope of what’s possible in production cars today.
That’s a theme that continues with the all-new iteration of Mercedes’ luxury flagship, available in the UK from October 2013.
Fitted with future tech
Futuristic technology employed in the new Mercedes S-Class includes the option of Magic Body Control suspension that constantly adjusts itself for the most comfortable ride possible by taking data from cameras scanning the road ahead, mapping out patches of rough tarmac and adjusting the dampers accordingly.
Almost 500 LEDs in total make up the headlights, tail-lights and interior lighting systems, making the 2013 S-Class the first ever production car not to feature a single conventional light bulb.
What’s more, it even possesses the ability to more or less drive itself. That last point isn’t an exaggeration; the previous-generation S-Class featured radar-guided cruise control which could follow a set distance from the car in front and brake to a complete halt if necessary.
The new car takes that system to the next step. Taking information from six radars and six cameras, the S-Class will be able to change lanes and even overtake other vehicles autonomously in stop-start traffic conditions. The system does require the driver to keep hold of the steering wheel, however, reducing the chance of getting a little too relaxed and nodding off.
Designed as a limo from the outset
Unlike previous models which started with a standard wheelbase and grew to a stretched model down their development cycle, the long-wheelbase S-Class of 2013 came first. With plenty of room for rear passengers and a reclining seat that folds the furthest in the sector it’s the most comfortable luxury limo available.
The model will eventually sit on four different wheelbases, including an extra long model and coupe version.
As standard the car comes with a conventional three-person bench seat, or there's the option of two individual chairs crammed full of electric motors for a huge range of adjustability.
Choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines
Three hybrid versions are available: the S 400 (combines a V6 petrol engine with an electric motor); the S 300 (a four-cylinder diesel engine and electric motor) and the S 500 Plug-in (combines a V6 petrol engine with electric motor and a much larger battery pack that can be pre-charged for greater electric-only running time).
The plug-in is capable of more than 100mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions rated at just 65g/km. This means that as well as being cheap to tax for private and fleet drivers, it'll also be Congestion Charge exempt in London thanks to the 100% discount for low-CO2 cars.
There are also two conventionally-powered variants: the S 350 BlueTEC V6 diesel (likely to account for around 90% of UK sales) with a claimed 51mpg and 146g/km of CO2 and the S 500 V8 petrol.
Further technological highlights include tail-lights which dim automatically according to ambient light in order to save energy, seatbelts with inflatable sections to reduce the risk of injury and even a replenishable perfuming system for the air-conditioning.
All this comes at a price of course, and you’ll need somewhere in the region of £62,500 just to get on the bottom rung of the S-Class ladder.
At launch the firm had already taken 20,000 pre-orders worldwide, suggesting it’ll be just as much of a hit as Mercedes hopes. Read our full Mercedes-Benz S-Class review to find out just why it’s already proving so popular.