Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Windscreen becomes part of ‘augmented reality display’
  • Voice control is taken to a new level
  • Peerless quality and interior trims

How is the quality and layout?

As you’d expect for a car in this class, the emphasis here is on quality, room and comfort – all of which the new S-Class has in abundance. That was the case before, but where this one really ups its game is in terms of the tech available to the driver and passengers.

One of the most impressive aspects of the S-Class is the effectiveness and accessibility of the technology.

The latest iteration of the MBUX infotainment system is one of the best in terms of voice recognition and scope. For most people there’s a novelty to be found in asking for blinds to close or seats to be cooled that could just as quickly be accomplished with a switch, but there is one feature that we can’t wait to see on more cars – augmented reality navigation.

The S-Class uses a wide expanse of the driver’s view for projected information. Junctions and roundabouts are almost video-game like in guidance, with a hovering blue arrow indicating lanes and exits in good time, and animating to make sure you don’t miss your turn.

It is, frankly, what guidance has always needed. If any car shows what the future can offer in practical terms, this is it.

Infotainment and tech

The S-Class’s interior debuts a brand-new way of displaying information. The central infotainment screen is flush with the centre console and flexes upwards on the dashboard, keeping the rest of the front fascia clean.

The uncluttered interior design approach complements the augmented reality head-up display and 3D instruments. Like lesser Mercedes models, there are a variety of themes available, though on the S-Class the range is much wider and more detailed. It is almost certain that in the future, themes and additional instruments will become a downloadable upgrade for systems like this, but for now you can enjoy ‘Exclusive’ classic designs as well as the obvious red for sporty, blue for eco and so forth.

The ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant can be also used like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, streaming music and responding to general knowledge questions or shopping queries with answers via the internet. Also like smart speakers, you can link up your car to your home network and activate smart devices in your home from the car, such as garage door or gate openers or lighting.

Comfort

  • Front and rear seat comfort are highly impressive
  • Noise levels are extremely low
  • Ride quality is pillow-like in its softness

Here the Mercedes-Benz S-Class excels. There are acres of room in the rear, especially in long-wheelbase form, where you can enjoy (in some models) a reclining seat, as well as take in what’s on the screen in front of you. But it’s not all about the rear-seat occupants…

In its most fully-equipped form, the driver’s seat has 19 different motors to power 10 different massage programmes, adjust and ventilate the chair, operate the lumbar support and move the monitor on the back side of the head restraint into position. Surface heating can be extended from the seat to the centre armrest, door panel, steering wheel and slumber pillow.

On the move it’s equally impressive – the ride is soft without losing body control when in the bends. The suspension soaks up expansion joints and potholes like a huge pillow, while the Airmatic system gives the car a true magic carpet feel.

Add to this the well suppressed wind and road noise, the quiet drivetrain at low-to-medium revs (the S 500 has a refined, distant growl when pressed) as well as the world-class seats, and it’s clear why S-Class truly encapsulates splendid isolation on wheels.