2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Road Test Review
Mercedes Benz has been making some of the finest cars for a long time. Their flagship model remains the S-Class. This car has been the pinnacle of Luxury, Refinement, Technology and Craftsmanship.
The Mercedes S-Class has been regarded as the Best Car globally, and here in India it is seen as the car model that is fit for someone who lives life king size. Speaking of kings, Mercedes Benz invited us to experience some high royalty at the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, the abode of the Nizams. It was here that we were to experience the 2018 Mercedes S-Class that was recently launched in India. Read on as we get our dose of being a Nawab in mthe Palace on Wheels – 2018 Mercedes S-Class.
Food For Thought
The Mercedes S-Class was called Sonderklasse, German for “special class”, abbreviated as “S-Klasse”. The car was built by Daimler Benz from 1972 to 1999, then by Daimler Chrysler from 1999 to 2000, and thereafter by Daimler AG till date. The current S-Class is the W222 that began its lifecycle in 2014. The W222 S-Class design is based on the F700 Concept car from Mercedes. The W222 S-Class holds the distinction of being the 1st automotive car to get LED lights inside out.
The 2018 Mercedes S-Class is heavily revised as compared to the older model. The basic silhouette remains the same elegant one. The cars mammoth dimensions are what hit your eye instantly. The car stands at nearly 17 ft of length and 6ft of width. The front of the car now gets a redesigned Mercedes grill which is larger in size with bolder chrome bands around it and gets three horizontal slats to ornament it. The center of the grill houses the radars, camera and sensors that are neatly hidden by glossy flaps that cover them. The flap that covers the camera opens electronically when needed.
The Multibeam headlights now get a bolder design with three eyebrow design LED DRL. These highly intelligent headlights get their glow from 84 individually controllable LEDs that calculate the ideal light pattern needed 100 times per second, using information that is sent by the windscreen camera. The front also gets the new design rounded bumper with redesigned air dams that run horizontal across the breadth of the car, garnished with sleek looking chrome lines. The huge trademark bonnet is flanked by the chrome Mercedes Benz three pointed star emblem. The side styling remains elegant and classy ornamented by the 5-twin spoke star alloys that make their appearance on the 2018 S-Class mounted on 245/50 R18 Continental ContiSport Contact tyres.
Like the front, the rear too gets an overhaul with new Stardust glow LED tail lights coming in. The rear bumper gets an all new, clean design on it and comes mounted with sleek looking dual exhausts on the corners. The roof gets a dual panoramic sunroof.
No need to even step inside the S-Class to feel its richness, just open the door and you can see it. Step inside and the ultra comfortable front seats made with genuine leather that are electrically fully adjustable to extend the comfort zone instantly welcome you. The dash comes with wood inserts, genuine leather, metal and loads of precision in putting it together. 70% of the dual tone dash is taken by the ultra wide crisp color screen, infact these are two screens mated cleverly to each other and appear like a single extra wide display screen.
These displays are highly customizable, using the latest Mercedes MBUX system that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB, Radio etc, you also get the latest generation Mercedes Command Online GPS navigation on it. The driver instrument screen is crystal sharp and reads out all the needed settings and info, and also changes its looks when the drive modes are changed. You also get a 64 color ambient lighting for the cabin. You get wireless charging also on the system. The sound system is taken care of by Burmester driven 13 high-performance speakers, along with a 9-channel DSP amplifer with a total output power of 590 Watts pumping out some crystal clear sound decibels.
The S-Class also gets an all new 3-spoke design multifunction steering wheel that comes with loads of metal inserts and nappa leather wrapping. The steering also gets touch control buttons. The car also gets automatic air-freshener intensity of which can be controlled via the control menu. The freshener bottle is neatly hidden inside the glove box.
The S-Class is all about rear seat comfort, as this is where the owner of this car will mostly spend his time. The rear seating is strictly for two. The left rear seat is the one to pick from, this is the seat that reclined to the max and when this happens the front seat electrically folds ahead enhancing the leg room for the Boss seated behind, and yes the Boss seat also gets the massage function to make him forget his tiredness. Both the rear seats backrest can be inclined by 43.5 degrees, just to get super cozy and comfortable when needed. You also get a rear seat infotainment package that consists of two 10.2 inch color screens mounted behind the front seats, wireless remote to command the screens and wireless headphones to complete the entertainment package. You also get a Blu-Ray player and external connectivity for the rear seat entertainment package. Also the cup holders at the rear can heat or cool your drink at the press of a button. Oh and you also get the sun curtains that are electrically operated for the sides and the rear windshield.
Everything inside the S-Class cabin is meticulously crafted and feels premium to touch and use. Comfort level is extremely high here and you begin to feel like a real king with the superior quality experience inside this car in no time.
Engine – Drive – Suspension
The 2018 S-Class comes in petrol (S450) and Diesel (S350d). We will speak of the S350d as that’s the model we drove. The 2018 Mercedes S 350d has become the first made-in-India BS-VI vehicle. The car can also run on BS-IV fuel. At the heart of the 2018 S-Class S350d is a new in-line, six-cylinder OM656 2925cc diesel engine that churns out 286PS and 600Nm of peak torque. The motor makes around 28PS more when compared to the 3.0-litre V6 that it replaces. The 7-speed automatic transmission does its duty on this one.
On the go, the S-Class may seem to be a big car, but it is surprisingly easy to drive mainly due to the steering that is nice and light that makes maneuvering it a breeze. Visibility from the driver’s seat is very good. You get blind spot warning on the wing mirrors that work as a charm, aiding the driver. The Mercedes emblem on the bonnet also helps the driver aim on the road during tricky situations. The car comes with Air Body Control which is the intelligent air suspension that is highly customizable and adaptive. The car’s height can also be raised by 15cms at a press of a button when more ground clearance is needed.
The ride quality is extremely high class and it is totally impossible to say if the engine driving the car is diesel. The smoothness is unseen like and the cabin is super quiet, enhancing the comfort levels. You get 4 drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Manual to drive in along with customizable settings for each modes.
As you build up speeds, the air suspension gets into action and gives you the feeling that the car is floating. The feeling is like you are flying just above the surface with a glorious feel inside the cabin. The overall drive feel is very relaxing. High speed driving is amazingly confidence boosting. This is a very strong performing engine. Power buildup is extremely fast and effortless. 0 to 100kmph comes in just around 6 seconds and the top speed is limited to 250kmph. We did some amazing high speeds on the outer ring roads of Hyderabad, and the overall drive feel was very confidence-building and secure.
The 2018 S-Class also becomes the first car that gets the semi-autonomous technology in India. This is the Level 2 semi-autonomous system. The car comes loaded with the DISTRONIC safety feature that assists maintaining distance between the vehicle in front up to a speeds of 210kmph using advanced technology via the radars, sensors and cameras that are mounted on this one.
You also get Brake Assist in which the car can apply the brakes automatically during emergency, guided by the radars. The S-Class also gets Active steering Assist that helps the driver keep the car in the center of the lane at all times. Active Blind Spot Assist is a big boon to drivers and this feature warns the driver of vehicles of the blind spot during a lane change and can help to avoid a collision. The 2018 S-Class also comes with Active Parking Assist that can park the car fully automatically in tight spots, this feature can also get the car out of parking places.
The S-Class has been the benchmark in its class. This updated version takes the lineage ahead. The car boasts of loads of first in segment gadgetry and unseen wizardry, mated with unmatched ride quality and unparalleled rear seat comfort. You get the highly refined and advanced all new diesel engine with class leading efficiency and compliance. And yes, there is the Mercedes brand value that adds a lot of weight to your status. The 2018 Mercedes S-Class is understated, undisputed grandeur on wheels.
The 2018 Mercedes S-Class is priced at Rs. 1.33 crore and competes against the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and the Lexus LS 500h.
Photography – Dr Anand Narvekar