• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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New S-Class flaunts high-tech DNA

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For more than 50 years the S-Class has also epitomised big, German luxury and it’s no different today. Mercedes reckons the new S-Class is the best car in the world. That is debatable but the car is certainly not short of truly amazing features. When Mercedes comes out with a new S-Class it’s kind of a big deal.

Bristling with magical gizmotronics and seemingly impossible features, it’s a showoff car not only for the well-heeled owners who drive them, but for Benz itself which uses this flagship model as a showcase for its entire fresh tech.

True, most people not privileged will never sit in an S-Class let alone experience its night-vision displays, massaging seats, and a Magic Ride Control system. In the V8 models, it uses cameras to scan the road and pre-adjust dampers for dips and bumps before the wheels get to them.

But remember this is a sort of technology launchpad, and much of this stuff will probably trickle down to the more everyday cars most people can afford. Airbags, ABS brakes and stability control started life in luxury cars like the S-Class and it is hard to find a car today without those items.

The S-Class can be offered in the S400 Hybrid, powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine developing 620Nm.

On test here is a relatively low-spec S400 Hybrid in the shorter of two wheelbase options, and it’s still a hulking piece of kit that wafts like an apparition in a breeze and often requires multiple takes at parking places.

There’s a supreme level of comfort happening here, and besides its hovering Airmatic suspension this car will go out of its way in terms of occupant hospitality. An air-freshening function that releases atomised breaths of perfume through the vents in not one, but three levels of intensity can be found if you stroll far enough into the labyrinth of settings menus.

Offering new amazing features like never before, the massaging seats that heats up and cools down the temperature are nothing new of course, but now Mercedes is taking things further. The new S-Class also gets heated armrests, and each seat gets 54 separate electric actuators and 14 pneumatic massaging cells that allow you to pinpoint that crick in your back and attack it with accuracy.

Cabin is ultra luxurious but, in reality, this is not strictly a driver-focused car. In total, there are 100 electric motors inside the cabin to make things work and move; seven ambient mood light settings; 24 speakers; six radars; 12 ultrasonic sensors; five video cameras; 500 LED lights and zero traditional bulbs.

Normal light bulbs for other brands are too inefficient, too dim, too unreliable and too common for Mercedes – a perfect example of technology that will inevitably find its way into your less-expensive car one day.

In fact the car was designed and built in a way that Mercedes says this S-Class is equipped with everything necessary to take you from A to B autonomously, but was forced to “switch off” the feature until the powers that be allow it. Seems to me that much of the car’s functionality, even from the driver’s seat, was intended more for passengering than for driving.

Power comes from a 3.5-litre V6 and an electric motor inside the gearbox with combined power of 245kW and 620Nm, while the transition between the two is near seamless. Believe it, the surface of the new S-Class’ capabilities and features is not yet scratched. And if you want a car that’s at the forefront of automotive technology, there is no place else to look but here.

By:  Mike Ochonma