The ‘S’ in the S-class could stand for a lot of things. The car is superlative in every which way but the ‘S’ certainly doesn’t stand for subtle. Being the flag-bearer of the Merc range the S not only has to be the best car on the Merc fleet, it has to be the best in segment, and that it certainly is. Most of the changes have been reserved for under the hood. The S-class now gets a brand-new, tech laden diesel engine, which is already emission compliant for the next Bharat stage VI norms.
The updated version here comes with a host of small changes which ensure that the legacy of the best car in the world continues.
The one thing that immediately stands out on the face of the car is the three-strip cluster for the LED-lamps. The earlier car had only one. This is in line with Mercedes’ new design philosophy. The C-class gets one LED strip, the E-class gets two while the S-class gets three to make them all stand out. There are slight changes to the grille as well and the bumper has been modified to give it a sporty look. Some buyers will also notice a shield in the middle of the grille, which is essentially protection for the safety tech this car has on board. Buyers will also appreciate the back end of the car, which gets two chrome tipped exhausts.
Step inside the S-class and you will immediately be welcomed into the lap of luxury. The cabin feels hugely opulent and there is loads of premium leather and wood inside. In fact the ambience is second only to the first-class seats inside most airplanes. Two screens do duty for all the infotainment. The gauges are all digital too with plenty of information on them. However anyone buying the S-class will do so for the back seat and the car simply overwhelms you with its experience. The seat at the back can be configured in the way of a lounge chair and comfort is brilliant. You get a couple of screens at the back for entertainment as well. Legroom, shoulder-room and headroom aren’t a worry in the least. The car comes loaded with tech as well. Along with the usual jamboree of airbags and active safety tech you also get autonomous driving level one. The car will automatically brake for you when you use the cruise control function. But you have to keep your hands on the wheel, since it still won’t do the steering for you.
Engine, performance and gearbox
Most drivers will have to pinch themselves to believe they are driving a diesel car. The 350d is actually a 3-litre diesel engine with six-cylinders in straight formation. The carmaker has decided to junk the V-formation layout to help improve the refinement and reduce friction. The engine makes 286bhp of power and gets a 9-speed automatic gearbox. Power delivery is phenomenal to say the least and can outclass plenty of similar sized petrol cars. The engine is the last word in refinement and overall cabin isolation is very good as well. What you will also enjoy is the effortless gearbox, which simply shifts seamlessly. There isn’t any hint of lag and even when using the manual mode, performance is brilliant.
Ride and handling
While Mercedes hasn’t offered the magic carpet ride in India just yet, the ride comfort is nothing short of brilliant. The car seems to be moving on a carpet of air with absolutely nothing troubling the ride. The sharpest of sharp crevices on the road or a badly made rumble strip simply can’t flutter the ride on this car. Being the S-class means that the car excels in comfort and an opulent ride is guaranteed.
The S-class though handles adroitly too. It isn’t as sharp as a sports car but for a car that errs on the side of comfort, the S-class is pretty good for handling. The steering is sharp and the chassis feels agile enough. Sure, there is decent body roll when pushing it into corners but even then there is good grip from the tyres and the brakes are strong too.
Priced at Rs 1.33 crore(ex-showroom), the S-class isn’t exactly affordable. That said, you get more than what you pay for. It great for comfort, great for luxury and simply the best luxury car in the world. If you are lucky enough to afford it go ahead and buy it.