New S-Class costs €4,000 less and slashes road tax
MERCEDES has broken the €100,000 barrier with its new S-Class – it has got the price down to €98,255. That's around €4,000 below the price of the old model.
If you factor in all the new technology – and frankly we'd need a supplement on its own to list it – then the price represents quite a dramatic drop.
And a model on its way here will have road tax of just €200. Did we ever think we'd see that for a flagship Merc?
But first on the market here is the S350 BlueTEC diesel (€98,255 ex-works).
On their way are a S300 BlueTEC HYBRID – €200 road tax (62mpg) – an S400 hybrid (45mpg); S500 and S500 V6 petrol plug-in hybrid (next September). The latter is claimed to be the first S-Class that can manage 100km on under four litres of fuel (70+mpg). That makes it the first big, luxury car to hit 75 grams of C02 and a road tax of €170.
As we revealed on Monday, the orders are piling up for this. It is plush inside and there's lots more luxury.
It was exceptionally smooth and quiet – as you would expect – on my drive yesterday.
The car has six 'eyes' and six 'ears' – cameras and sensors. It is called 'sensor fusion' and has the ability to negotiate roundabouts, pedestrians, right-of-way.
No wonder some of the equipment – optional and standard – is exceptional. For example, you can set it to drive on its own in heavy traffic. Or you can choose to have your favourite scent wafted within the cabin when you take the wheel (unless of course you let it do the driving).
Two screens are central to it. One gives you extensive information about the car and what's going on around it. The other looks after comfort and infotainment.
Luxury touches mean you get pearl-effect switches, lots of wood in the dash and central console and a generous use of wood on the dashboard and centre console.
There's serious surround sound, what they describe as 'aircraft-like' navigation/Google Maps displays, voice-controlled phone/audio. You can also opt to have text messages and emails read aloud – just like Ford has in its SYNC system.
Because a proportion of those who buy this will be chauffeur-driven, there are standard and long-wheelbase versions. Understandable then that you can choose rear seats with backrest angle adjustment, air cushions, massage as well as heated/cooled seats.
There is business-class centre console, automatic climate control, heated armrests and two folding tables.
And just to make sure your rear-seat drive isn't shaken or stirred they have Magic Body Control. No, it is not a new self-denial moralist cult. It is a system that reads the road ahead and adjusts the suspension to deal with the bumps and crevices – before they can upset the equilibrium of your G&T.
Distronic Plus with Stop & Go Pilot is another advance towards self-driving cars. It means your Merc follows the car in front and will brake, accelerate and steering automatically in slow-moving conditions. Well, not that slow – at speeds of up to 60kmh. It cuts the risk of a rear-end collision and cuts fuel use.
For all that there isn't a bulb to be found in the entire car. Instead it has LED lighting, inside and out.
There's a big spread of standard and optional equipment from air suspension and adaptive damping to cameras that alert you to potential danger, an 'aerial view' to make parking easy; active lane keeping, night view thermal imaging that 'sees' pedestrians and animals on the road – and so on.
* Meanwhile there will be a new Mercedes GLA in March and C-Class in June. Busy times.