Photos Courtesy of Mercedes-BenzWith a product portfolio as extensive as it boasts, Mercedes-Benz is constantly rolling out new models — everything from coupes and convertibles to crossovers and sport-utility vehicles. That said, one of its longest-serving model lines has been its flagship luxury sedan: the S-Class. The current model has been on the market since 2005, giving it an unusually long life cycle for a mainstream automobile. Now, after building much anticipation, Mercedes-Benz has finally introduced the new model that promises to take its place back from the likes of the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.
It's no coincidence that Mercedes chose the same facility which Airbus uses to deliver its A380 jumbo jets in Hamburg, Germany. Like the A380, the new S-Class represents the very cutting edge in technology and boasts the finest in first-class accommodations. While previous versions of the S-Class were designed around the short-wheelbase model and stretched for larger versions, this time Mercedes focused on the long-wheelbase model. That's given the new flagship Benz an accommodating cabin that buyers can specify in one of five different rear-seat configurations. The First Class version features reclining rear seats with deployable footrests and a versatile center console, but every model benefits from the finest leather, wood trim, and such features as seven-color customizable ambient lighting (with 300 embedded LEDs) and individual access to the state-of-the-art onboard infotainment system from each seat. There's also an optional massaging feature that can even replicate hot-stone therapy for the most pampering automotive experience on the road.
Naturally, Mercedes has also imbued the new S-Class with the very latest in driver-assistance technologies, including a new Magic Body Control system that uses stereo cameras to scan the road surface and adjust the suspension accordingly. Other features in the Intelligent Drive suite include Active Parking Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Night View Assist Plus, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Brake Assist Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist and Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian recognition. All this is packaged into a more streamlined shape that cuts smoothly through the air with a drag coefficient of just 0.24. That makes it as aerodynamically efficient as dedicated hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, improving the car's performance, fuel economy and noise levels for an optimal ride.
While several engine options (including diesel and hybrid powertrains) are being offered overseas, Mercedes-Benz USA is launching it initially in S550 spec only, encompassing a 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine channeling 455 horsepower to either the rear wheels or all four through the company's 4Matic all-wheel drive system. Other versions are expected to follow, including more powerful V12 and AMG models. The two-door CL-Class is also set to be re-integrated into the S-Class in both coupe and convertible body-styles, and with the demise of the Maybach brand, Mercedes is expected to offer even larger and more luxurious versions of the S-Class in the near future. So while the Silver Star marque has designed the new S-Class to be “the best automobile in the world,” this promises to be just the beginning.