It can get quite difficult to find a place to begin when you are talking about the all new S-Class. That’s because, this full sized luxury is packed with bristling technology of which many are world firsts. Air-balance, Intelligent Drive, LED headlights and then some and that’s barely scratching the surface. The 2014 S-Class brings us one step closer to automated driving. The flagship S-Class limousine can see potholes and bumps in the road and adapt suspension to brace itself ahead of the impending impact in a bid to reduce the potential damage and discomfort. Mercedes-Benz says it is the first car in the world to have suspension 'with eyes' as part of its revolutionary system called 'road surface scan' using a stereo camera.
It knows when cars are approaching too quickly in adjacent lanes and can warn the driver. It knows when a rear-end collision is imminent and can hit the brakes and activate hazard lights to mitigate injury. It can steer out of danger if the driver is too drowsy to stay in the lane. Much of the technology is standard, and although it seems out of reach for the masses now, it will trickle down to every vehicle, eventually. The firm boasts it is the 'most advanced S-Class ever created', with the driver even able to choose any perfume he or she wishes circulating around the cabin via an atomiser in the air conditioning system. And it is also the first car in the world to dispense completely with light-bulbs – replacing all lights with LED systems.
And then you have the interiors, which simply take your breath away. The perfectly coordinated use of materials and colours produces an exclusive interior seemingly cast from a single mould. There is generous use of wood trim, especially in the dashboard and centre console. Two high-resolution TFT colour displays in 8:3 format with a 12.3 inch screen form the new information centre in the S-Class. Voice entry using Linguatronic via the Speech Dialog System allows voice commands in one go.
The Air-Balance is the other technology that has been spoken about a lot. As a world first, the new S-Class Saloon has an active perfuming system as part of the Air-Balance package. Active means that the perfuming system is switched on and off manually, with manual adjustment of the intensity. The interior smell is not changed permanently, nor are the perfume molecules deposited on fabric surfaces or clothing. The fragrance is discreet and mild, and dissipates rapidly.
There will be a range of power petrol and diesel as well as hybrid powerplants available which will not only be more powerful than the outgoing engines but more frugal as well. With almost no weight gain, Mercedes has been able to focus well on driving dynamics as well.
The new S-Class design however has been drawing mixed reviews with some loving the restrained looks while others bemoaning the ornate LED headlights and front grille that is twice as large as before.
Whatever camp people choose as far as looks go, there is no arguing that the 2014 Mercedes S-Class is innovative. And that is what the S-Class always has been. Still the best car in the world then? You bet!
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